1. GT debutant Tom Pidcock has so far been anonymous in the Vuelta, which offers the prospect of a real race in the final week after hot favourite Primoz Roglic lost ground after a lone fall overshooting a bend.
2. Those who thought from the start that the 2021 Vuelta belonged to Primoz Roglic had their faith confirmed in spectacular style today by the defending champion. Having surrendered the red jersey a few stages earlier after a fall, the man from Slovenia started Stage 17 96 seconds behind the Norwegian leader. On today’s mountain stage he and Egan Bernal, the 2019 TdeF winner, hit the front with more than 60 kilometres to go, and it was Roglic who showed his superiority by coming home more than a minute ahead of the pack, converting the 96 second deficit into a lead of more than 2 minutes. Barring accidents, the Vuelta is over.
Primoz Roglic duly won his third straight Vuelta after taking the final-day time trial. He finished the Tour nearly five minutes ahead of his rivals. Is there anyone to challenge the Slovenian in next year’s Tours? Yes, his much younger compatriot Tadej Pogacar.
Meanwhile, the weeklong Tour of Britain started yesterday with a win for Wout van Aert, continuing where he left off with that scintillating TdeF stage win on the Champs Elysées. Julian Alaphilippe, Michael Woods and Mark Cavendish are among the other stars on show this week.
3. Many familiar names from the Grand Tours, including André Greipel, Richie Porte, Mark Cavendish and Tony Martin, were riding in the 17th Tour of Britain, which started at Penzance in Cornwall and ended in Aberdeen. But it was two other notable riders, Wout Van Aert, one of the heroes of this year’s Tour de France, and the hardworking Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe who made the headlines in the early stages of the Tour. Wout won the first stage, but was ousted on day 2 by the American Robin Carpenter with a gutsy solo turn. On day 3 Team Ineos Grenadiers (formerly Sky) scored a notable and welcome victory in the Team Time Trial, putting Briton Ethan Hayter in the overall lead, with teammate Rohan Dennis second. The fourth stage saw a rousing finish between Van Aert and Alaphilippe which put the former back in the lead, by 2 seconds from Hayter, with Alaphilippe third at 8 seconds. With the overall lead changing daily and only small time gaps, the second half of the Tour promised much…..