Primož Roglič said that he raced on feel and a thirst to entertain in attacking to win the Tour of the Basque Country.
Two days after ceding leadership in the race to UAE-Team Emirates’ Brandon McNulty, Roglič of Jumbo-Visma snatched back the yellow jersey on a thrilling final day of racing in which he finished second to winner David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ)
The Slovenian distanced his fierce rival and compatriot Tadej Pogačar and McNulty with 60km to go, and while McNulty eventually cracked and finished almost eight minutes back, Pogačar was also unable to close the gap to Roglič, eventually finishing 35 seconds adrift.
Asked if the plan was to attack, Roglič told a press conference: “It actually just happened. It was just a super hard race and, yeah, when there is some opportunity and if I have the legs, I always want to race so I decided to go.
‘I had a couple of pieces of bad luck in the last stages. But today was just beautiful. Everything went right and I had fun the whole stage today.
“At the end I was really, really enjoying it, the whole performance. Big chapeau to all the guys and everyone involved.”
Second on the podium to Roglič was his teammate Jonas Vingegaard to cap off a highly successful week for the Dutch outfit.
“I just raced it today,” Roglič continued. “With Jonas, I knew he was also super strong and in the second group and if I would blow up then he would have been at the end.
“It was a super nice performance from the whole team. We had fun the whole week and today was a nice day for us.”
Victory for Roglič, his 13th GC triumph, comes just a month after he crashed while leading Paris-Nice, and he was happy to have find that his performance levels remains intact.
He added: “My form is fine. Four weeks ago I didn’t really feel so well because I crashed two times and it wasn’t the best preparation towards this race, but I already I have got a beautiful result.”
For Vingegaard, little-known until a few weeks ago when he won two stages and the overall at the Coppi e Bartali, second-place was above his expectations.
The Dane, 24, said: “My role for today was that we would do a 1-2 with Primož. I came here to help but also if he ended up at any point needing help, it would be me to work.
“But it didn’t come to such a situation and then they said I can go for my own chance and I am really happy about my second place.
“I didn’t expect to be second here even though I won Coppi. It’s probably the hardest race of the year and when we have Primož, who is the best rider in the world at the moment, I actually expected to work for him all the time.”