Kooij ninth on first stage ZLM Tour
Surprisingly, the first bunch sprint of the ZLM Tour did not take place. Olav Ko...
Primoz Roglic has won the Volta a Catalunya. The Jumbo-Visma rider held off several attacks by Remco Evenepoel on the final stage to Barcelona to finish six seconds ahead of the Belgian in the general classification. By winning the Catalan stage race, Roglic added a missing prize to his list of honours.
Roglic defended a 10-second lead over Evenepoel in the final stage. Evenepoel attacked for the first time during the second climb of Montjuic, which had to be climbed six times. Only Roglic and Marc Soler were able to follow.
After another attack from the world champion, the trio soon had a minute's advantage over the field, and only Roglic remained. The two fought hard, but at the top of the final climb, Roglic knew he had won the stage race. Evenepoel beat Roglic in the sprint for the stage win.
"I am thrilled", Roglic said. "The Volta a Catalunya was missing from my list of honours. To have won it means a lot to me. I feel honoured and happy."
Roglic feels that his teammates have been of great value over the past few days. "The team helped me a lot. My teammates protected me all day and kept me in a good position. Luckily I also had the legs to keep up with Remco. I knew he would try again today."
"I made some excellent steps again"
Roglic can reflect on a successful preparation for the Giro d'Italia, which starts in six weeks. After topping the podium at Tirreno-Adriatico earlier this month, he also won the second stage race of the season in Catalonia. "We had a great week together. I made some excellent steps again, and I hope to keep it up in the weeks to come."
Roglic's performance impressed sports director Merijn Zeeman. "This is unbelievable. He was off the bike for a long time after his shoulder injury. He promptly won two WorldTour races after his return. We didn’t anticipate that."
However, Zeeman is aware that there is still work to be done. "What is good today is not good tomorrow. We have to improve every day to be in top form for the start of the Giro."
The overall victory in his second race of the year meant Roglic’s seventh victory of the season.