Primož Roglič is the Vuelta a España 2019 champion, taking a first Grand Tour victory for both himself and Slovenia.
The Jumbo-Visma rider beat world champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) by 2-16, with Roglič’s 20-year-old compatriot Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) in third, 22 seconds behind Valverde.
Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) won the final stage 21, edging out Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) in the sprint finish in Madrid.
John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) launched early before Max Richeze (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) brought Jakobsen to the fore, the Dutchman then unleashing his sprint.
Bennett found himself in traffic before finding a gap but Irishman gained quickly, coming up to Jakobsen. The Dutchman had enough to hold Bennett off, however, claiming victory in what has been yet another successful Grand Tour for Deceuninck – Quick-Step.
Szymon Sajnok (CCC) finished third with Jon Aberasturi (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) rounding out the top five.
Roglič also claimed the points classification, while Pogačar took the young rider’s jersey ahead of Astana’s Miguel Ángel López. Geoffrey Bouchard (Ag2r La Mondiale) eventually trumped Ángel Madrazo (Burgos-BH) to take the king of the mountains classification.
How it happened
The processional stage 21 was a 106.6km route from Fuenlabrada into the Spanish capital city of Madrid, expected to culminate in a sprint finish.
After all the action over the past 20 days of racing across Spain, you’d have been forgiven for expecting unexpected fireworks before the winner’s podium on stage 21, but it was a rather quiet affair on the final day of the 2019 Vuelta.
Aside from the celebratory photos for Primož Roglič and his Jumbo-Visma team that have shepherded him to his first Grand Tour victory, the other big winner in the early kilometres of stage 21 was Burgos-BH’s Jésus Ezquerra.
The Spanish rider proposed to his girlfriend, who he’d arranged to be in his team car, riding up mid-race with tv cameras assembled to see him take a ring out of his jersey and pop the question. Thankfully, his girlfriend said yes, meaning his final 60km of racing would sail by rather than being steeped in mental torment and personal loss.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step pulled in the peloton as multiple attacks came in before Gonzalo Serrano (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA) won the intermediate sprint ahead of Manuele Boaro (Astana) and Owain Doull (Ineos) with 45km to go.
A few kilometres later, Diego Rubio (Burgos-BH) and Daniel Martinez (EF Education First) went on the attack, the pair pulling away from the bunch and up the road.
Bora-Hansgrohe came to the front of the peloton to take on the chase, while Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) took it easy at the back.
With 16km to go, a touch of wheels saw Owain Doull’s (Ineos) handlebars become stuck under Óscar Cabedo’s (Burgos-BH) frame, the pair briefly stopping to unpick themselves after a bizzare coming together before chasing back up to the peloton.
Rubio and Martinez were caught with just under 7km to go, as Deceuninck – Quick-Step looked to set things up for Fabio Jakobsen.
Tim Declerq once again pulled on the front for the Belgian squad, as the rest of the sprinter’s teams came to the fore with 4km remaining, with the rainbow bands of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) also nestling within the first few riders.
Rémi Cavanga drove the peloton for Deceuninck – Quick-Step into the final 2km, gritting his teeth after a fine Grand Tour from the young rider, as Bora-Hansgrohe also positioned a rider near the front to try and set things up for Sam Bennett.
Into the final kilometre, Deceuninck – Quick-Step continued to control proceedings, with Zdeněk Štybar hitting the front, with Max Richeze tucked behind, ready to lead out Jakobsen.
Trek-Segafredo then barged their way through before John Degenkolb launched his sprint early. Richeze easily passed him, then unleashing Jakobsen. Bennett had found himself boxed in, but managed to free himself as he set off in pursuit of the young Dutchman, but the Irishman couldn’t bring him back in time before the finish line, bitterly taking second place.
Vuelta a España 2019, stage 21: Fuenlabrada to Madrid (106.6km)
1. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, in 2-48-20
2. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Szymon Sajnok (Pol) CCC
4. Jon Aberasturi (Esp) Caja Rural – Seguros RGA
5. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data
6. Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
7. Tosh Van der Sande (Bel) Lotto-Soudal
8. Clément Venturini (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale
9. Marc Sarreau (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
10. Dion Smith (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott, all at same time
Final general classification
1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, in 83-07-31
2. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, at 2-16
3. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, at 2-38
4. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, at 3-29
5. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana, at 4-31
6. Rafał Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 7-16
7. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb, at 9-47
8. Carl Frederik Hagen (Nor) Lotto-Soudal, at 12-54
9. Marc Soler (Esp) Movistar, at 22-10
10. Mikel Nieve (Esp) Mitchelton-Scott, at 22-17
Final points classification
1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma – 155 pts
2. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates – 136 pts
3. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe – 134 pts
Final king of the mountains classification
1. Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale – 76 pts
2. Ángel Madrazo (Esp) Burgos-BH- 44 pts
3. Segio Samitier (Esp) Euskadi Basque Country – Murias – 42 pts
Final youth classification
1. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, in 83-10-09
2. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana, at 1-53
3. James Knox (GBr) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, at 20-14
Final teams classification
1. Movistar (Esp), in 248-26-24
2. Astana (Kaz), in 51-38
3. Jumbo-Visma, at 2-04-33