From the first week, some might even say the first stage time trial, Primož Roglič’s third consecutive Vuelta a España win was never much in doubt.
Even after sliding out once, he didn’t lose any time. And he looked relaxed the entire race, allowing the jersey to fall to Odd Christian Eiking for an extended period mid-race, while patiently biding his time to take it back. In the end, the time gaps between Roglič and his closest rivals on the podium, Enric Mas and Jack Haig, reflected a stellar performance where he was in control right through the final time trial.
On the final episode of the Aérogramme podcast with La Course en Tête from the 2021 Vuelta a España, there is a lot of action to recap from the final grand tour of the year—which some pros were calling the most difficult grand tour of their career owing in large part to the unrelenting heat throughout the race. Plus, there are plenty of questions raised about the future of cycling.
Beyond the GC race, the 2021 Vuelta had other memorable stories, including Fabio Jakobsen winning three stages and the green jersey after his horrific life-threatening crash last year. Or the long run of Eiking in the red jersey and the ascent of his Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert team. And several other riders like Jack Haig, who finished third overall, showed what they can do on a big stage.
And there’s a big question looming over the final weekend: what happened to cause Miguel Ángel López to abandon on the penultimate stage after losing contact with the main group? Has anything like this ever happened before?
We also discuss whether the race outcome would have been the same if Roglič’s compatriot and young phenom Tadej Pogačar were at the race. Four of the last six last grand tours have been won by one of the two Slovenians. How long will this domination last?
It’s also no secret that the Ineos Grenadiers have been less dominant as of late. The team’s DS Olly Cookson provides insight into their tactics on stages 17 and 20. He describes a team that is approaching racing much differently than the Sky and Ineos incarnations of the past, taking more risks along the way.
And the crew at La Course en Tête provide their final assessments of the Vuelta: was it a good grand tour?
Listen to the latest episode of Aérogramme for the full conversation!
Aérogramme is presented by the Belgian Waffle Ride.