Roglic overcomes crash to keep Spanish Vuelta lead


TOLEDO, Spain — Primoz Roglic needed to change bikes after a crash but recovered to finish safely in the peloton on Friday, keeping his lead entering the final competitive stage of the Spanish Vuelta.

The day was marked by an attack from team Movistar after Roglic’s crash, a move that drew criticism from other riders.

Remi Cavagna made a strong solo charge to win the 19th stage in Toledo, a mostly flat ride of 165.2 kilometers (102.6 miles). The French rider from team Deceuninck-Quick Step broke away with about 25 kilometers to go and finished five seconds ahead of the pack for his first Grand Tour stage victory.

“I suffered a lot at the end of the race,” the 24-year-old Cavagna said. “The last 25 kilometers were terrible. It was pretty much headwind. I wanted to go faster but I couldn’t. I was afraid they would come back and in the end it worked out.”

Roglic was caught in the crash following a fast turn with about 65 kilometers to go and had to push hard to make his way back to the peloton.

“I was a little unlucky with the crash but I’m still here,” said Roglic, a former ski jumper from Slovenia. “I don’t really know what happened. I didn’t see it. I just tried to come back to the front, full gas. We went as fast as possible to get a new bike and return to the bunch. It could be better, but it could also be a lot worse. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. We’re one day closer.”

Several of Roglic’s Jumbo-Visma teammates also were involved in the crash, with Tony Martin having to retire. Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez of Astana Pro Team was also involved and continued with minor injuries.

It took about 15 kilometers before Roglic and Lopez could rejoin the main group.

Alejandro Valverde and his Movistar teammates were criticized after launching an attack following the incident but eventually reduced the pace on orders from race officials, allowing the rest of the riders involved in the crash to rejoin.

“It is a lack of respect for the red jersey,” Lopez said. “Some 20 riders or more fell. They are always the ones who take advantage in these moments. It’s not the first time it has happened. We have seen it before.”

Movistar criticized race officials for telling the team to slow down.

“This happened to us before and nobody said anything,” team director Jose Luis Arrieta told Spanish media. “(The officials) are deciding who wins the races.”

Roglic will take a lead of nearly three minutes over Valverde into Saturday’s decisive 20th stage, a 190.4-kilometer (118.3-mile) ride with five mountain passes, including a Category 1 climb in Puerto de Pena Negra. Nairo Quintana, Valverde’s teammate, was more than three minutes behind Roglic in third place, followed by Lopez.

The three-week race ends Sunday in Madrid.

Primoz Roglic triumphs at Tirreno-Adriatico for winning return from injury

Getty Images

SAN BENEDETTO DEL TRONTO, Italy — Primož Roglič made a winning return to cycling as he triumphed at the week-long Tirreno-Adriatico for a fourth Slovenian victory in five editions at “The Race of the Two Seas.”

It was Roglič’s first race of the season after the Jumbo-Visma rider underwent shoulder surgery last year.

“It’s just nice to come back to racing this way. I really enjoyed the whole week,” Roglič said. “My teammates were super strong.

“One week ago I was just expecting to suffer. It’s even better to win when it’s unexpected. It feels good ahead of the Giro d’Italia too.”

After winning the previous three stages to build up a significant advantage, Roglič protected his lead and finished safely in the peloton during Stage 7 to end the week-long race 18 seconds ahead of João Almeida of Portugal and 23 seconds ahead of British cyclist Tao Geoghegan Hart.

Roglič won the Tirreno in 2019. Fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogačar won the two previous editions but the two-time defending champion was competing at the Paris-Nice race which he won.

Belgian cyclist Jasper Philipsen won a bunch sprint to take the stage win. The Alpecin-Deceuninck rider edged out Dylan Groenewegen and Alberto Dainese.

It was Philipsen’s second sprint victory at this year’s Tirreno, setting him up as one of the favorites for next weekend’s Milan-San Remo race.

“I was dying in the end, my legs felt really painful, but I’m happy that I could keep it to the finish,” Philipsen said.

“The sprint stage is always different from a classic like San Remo but of course we have some confidence. We have a strong team I think. So now it’s good to take some time off, recover a little bit and try to be on top level.”

There was an early breakaway in the 154-kilometer (96-mile) route that started and finished in San Benedetto del Tronto but the eight riders were caught with just over 3 kilometers (2 miles) remaining.

Pogacar tops Gaudu, Vingegaard to win Paris-Nice


NICE, France — An impressive Tadej Pogacar clinched the final stage with a solo escape to win the week-long Paris-Nice.

David Gaudu finished second overall, 53 seconds behind Pogacar, while Jonas Vingegaard was third at 1 minute, 39 seconds back.

Pogacar attacked during the climb of Col d’Eze with 18 kilometers (11.2 miles) to go, finishing the eighth stage 33 seconds ahead of a small group made up of Vingegaard, Gaudu, Simon Yates and Matteo Jorgenson.

The Slovenian rider completed the 118-kilometer trek around Nice in 2 hours, 51 minutes, 2 seconds, crossing the finish line with both arms raised before taking a bow in front of the crowd and clapping his hands.

Pogacar now has a slight mental edge over Vingegaard, also outclassing him last October to win the Tour of Lombardy.

The duel between Pogacar and Vingegaard has become one of the biggest rivalries in cycling. Vingegaard finished second behind Pogacar in the 2021 Tour de France. But the Danish rider managed to beat Pogacar in the 2022 Tour de France for his first major title.

Vingegaard still has time to hit peak form. The Tour de France starts July 1.

Pogacar is the current leader in the UCI men’s road racing world rankings.

Pogacar and Vingegaard both started the season well. Last month in Spain, Pogacar won the Tour of Andalucia while Vingegaard won the O Gran Camino. Pogacar took the yellow jersey by winning the fourth stage. He dumped Vingegaard in the climb of La Loge des Gardes. Only Gaudu could stay on Pogacar’s wheel.

The two-time Tour de France winner extended his overall lead by taking Stage 7, beating Gaudu and Vingegaard in a small sprint atop Col de la Couillole.

French rider Gaudu finished fourth overall in the 2022 Tour de France but failed to finish in the past two editions of Paris-Nice.

The next race on the UCI World Tour is the Milan-San Remo classic on March 18.