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CYCLING

An astonishing leap by Primoz Roglic

Primoz Roglic, Alejandro Valverde and Tadej Pogacar.
Primoz Roglic, Alejandro Valverde and Tadej Pogacar. / AFP
  • A champion ski jumper until he was 22, the Slovenian has won the Vuelta before his 30th birthday, ahead of Valverde and Pogacar

At the age of 22, Primoz Roglic, from Slovenia, was still a ski jumper. He was junior world team champion in 2007 and in his last season he stood on the podium several times in European events, but never as number one. He felt he had gone as far as he could and decided to try cycling instead. Now, just seven years on, he has won Spain's cycling tour, the Vuelta a España, beating 39-year-old champion Alejandro Valverde and fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogacar, who is just 20 years old.

Roglic was born in a mining village in the former Yugoslavia, and was already skiing at the age of eight. He reached elite level, suffered a terrifying fall in one of his jumps, but carried on. Being good wasn't enough. "I wanted to be the best skier in the world, but I couldn't. Then I dreamed of being the best cyclist," he said last year on the Tour, when he finished fourth.

This year, he has achieved that and on Saturday, when the race passed through the Sierra de Gredos, it was the most-watched programme on TV at the time in Spain, attracting 2,146,000 viewers.