Roglic Set For Second Successive Vuelta, Gaudu Wins Penultimate Stage

Stage 17 Roglic 2020 Vuelta a España

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Slovenia's Primoz Roglic is set to win  the Vuelta a Espana for the second year in succession, and bury his Tour de  France heartbreak, after finishing the final competitive stage on top of the  overall standings on Saturday.

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   Roglic came under intense pressure from Ineos leader Richard Carapaz on the final climb with the Ecuadorian set for the runner-up position, 24sec adrift  after the 17th stage won by Frenchman David Gaudu.

   "I wasn't always in control," a broadly smiling Roglic admitted after a  stage with hills galore, cobbles, narrow village lanes and misty clouds on the summits.

   "I had just enough left," he said. "I'm super happy, and it's a really nice  way to finish the season."    Jumbo-Visma all-rounder Roglic took the Vuelta overall lead on stage one  and was in a struggle with Carapaz for the leader's red jersey all the way  with the Ecuadorian taking the lead for five stages.

   Roglic still needs to complete Sunday's 139km parade to Madrid where the  2020 edition will almost certainly end in a mass sprint.

   The victory comes after Roglic's late meltdown at the Tour de France, where  he lost the lead on the penultimate day with his compatriot Tadej Pogacar  winning the race.

   In the closing kilometres of Saturday's stage, there was a feeling that  Roglic was in danger of suffering a similar fate.    With three kilometres to go, Carapaz attacked, peeling away from Roglic and  Carthy and wheeling away up the steep slopes of the final climb that ended at  1965m altitude on a cold misty mountaintop finish.

   British rider Hugh Carthy of the American team Education First is in third  position 47 seconds off the leading pace.   One of the early pace setters, Dan Martin of Ireland, came fourth, the best  result his team Israel Cycling Academy have yet scored as they await the  arrival of Chris Froome in January.

   The stage itself was won by French rider Gaudu of Groupama-FDJ, the  24-year-old's second stage win of this Vuelta, and he celebrated by throwing  back his head and letting out a victory cry with his arms spread wide.

   The Vuelta has been cut to 18 stages in 2020 and delayed from its usual  August slot, but of the three Grand Tours seems the least hit by Covid-19 in a  bizarre season that has seen some unexpected results.

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Stage 18 2020 Vuelta a Espana

Slovenia's Primoz Roglic won the Vuelta aEspana for the second time in as many years on Sunday to make up for his crushing disappointment at the Tour de France.

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