Slovenia is known as a force in ski jumping and alpine skiing, more recently in basketball and volleyball, but it seems that it will throw all cups from the mentioned sports from the highest peak of Triglav, because its cyclists write the most modern history of sports in the "country"
By successfully defending the title at the Race through Spain, Primož Roglič proved that in addition to an excellent sports strategy, endurance, a quality two-wheeler, a strong team, he also has a fifth element, often crucial - steel nerves.
The unfortunate defeat by compatriot Tadej Pogačar in the finish of the recently concluded Tour d’France obviously did not leave serious consequences for the 31-year-old from Trbovlje, since after 18 stages of one of the Grand Tour races, the famous Vuelta a España, he reached another big trophy.
In order to succeed, the "miner" had to blow up the railway in order to prevent Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz, known by the nickname "Locomotive", to grab another title in one of the three most important stage races in a row after the triumph at Giro last year.
When the stopwatch was stopped after the last section, the numbers said theirs: "Dragon" fried Carapaz ending the competition with a total time of 72 hours, 46 minutes, 12 seconds. That is, 24 seconds better time than the runner-up, while the British Hugh Carty, the trump card of EF Pro cycling, stepped on the lowest step of the winner's podium, with a lag of 75 seconds in relation to the first place.
During the entire edition of the 75th Race through Spain, a duel was fought, practically until the penultimate stage, if we do not count the final one, which is of a revival character, the hopes of the Jumbo Wism team and its rival from South America, which defends the colors of INEOS.
The holder of the red T-shirt, which is intended for the winner of the competition in Spain, certainly started the race, his name was at the top of the general classification from the introductory to the fifth stage, and the time lag of the second-placed Karapaz grew (from five to 13 seconds).
In the sixth act of a big show on the wheels of a machine, a 27-year-old from El Carmel "spoke Spanish", so he was rewarded with taking the lead, while Roglič gave up and the Ecuadorian cyclist gained a half-minute advantage.
However, when the Slovenian approached 13 seconds in the eighth stage, Locomotive started to slow down, although not for long. Although by winning the 10th round, the vice-champion of this year's Tour de France leveled the "overall result", Karapaz seems to have received oxygen from the Amazon, and that brings him a leading position in the overall standings.
Everything looked like a seesaw, but with the triumph in the 13th stage, the representative of the former Yugoslav republic demonstrated strong nerves, for the fifth time he recorded a stage victory in the Race through Spain on his account and the Ecuadorian was 39 seconds behind him at that moment.
Despite the fact that by the end of the race there was enough space for a new turnaround, the only thing that Karapaz managed to reduce the gap to 24 seconds, Roglic defended himself and the resulting carousel was turned off.