Primoz Roglic, a world junior champion ski jumper, is in line to become the first Slovenian to win a cycling Grand Tour.
Roglic, 29, leads the Vuelta a Espana by 2 minutes, 33 seconds over Spanish veteran Alejandro Valverde going into Sunday’s final stage, usually a ceremonial ride into Madrid where there are no attacks on the red jersey.
Another Slovenian, 20-year-old Tadej Pogacar, won the last mountain stage Saturday to move past Colombian Nairo Quintana and into third place. Pogacar would be the youngest man to make a Grand Tour podium since 1974.
Roglic earned a world junior team title in ski jumping in 2007 — and suffered this scary crash — before switching to cycling.
He ascended quickly. Roglic won a stage in his Tour de France debut in 2017, then took silver in the time trial at that year’s world championships. The last two years, he finished fourth at the Tour de France and third at the Giro d’Italia.
He rides for Dutch Team Jumbo-Visma, which also includes this year’s Tour de France third-place finisher Steven Kruijswijk and will include, starting in 2020, 2018 Tour de France runner-up Tom Dumoulin.
Kruijswijk abandoned the Vuelta with a knee injury in the fourth stage. Dumoulin did not start the Vuelta. Nor did recent Tour de France winners Egan Bernal, Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome.
The road cycling season continues with the world championships in Yorkshire, Great Britain, later this month.
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