SAN BENEDETTO DEL TRONTO, Italy (AP)Primož Roglič made a winning return to cycling as he triumphed at the week-long Tirreno-Adriatico race on Sunday for a fourth Slovenian victory in five editions of “The Race of the Two Seas.”
It was Roglič’s first race of the season after the Jumbo-Visma rider underwent shoulder surgery last year.
“It’s just nice to come back to racing this way. I really enjoyed the whole week,” Roglič said. “My teammates were super strong.
“One week ago I was just expecting to suffer. It’s even better to win when it’s unexpected. It feels good ahead of the Giro d’Italia too.”
After winning the previous three stages to build up a significant advantage, Roglič protected his lead and finished safely in the peloton on Sunday’s seventh leg to end the week-long race 18 seconds ahead of João Almeida of Portugal and 23 seconds ahead of British cyclist Tao Geoghegan Hart.
Roglič won the Tirreno in 2019. Fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogačar won the two previous editions but the two-time defending champion was competing at the Paris-Nice race which he won Sunday.
Belgian cyclist Jasper Philipsen won a bunch sprint to take Sunday’s stage. The Alpecin-Deceuninck rider edged out Dylan Groenewegen and Alberto Dainese.
It was Philipsen’s second sprint victory at this year’s Tirreno, setting him up as one of the favorites for next weekend’s Milan-San Remo race.
“I was dying in the end, my legs felt really painful, but I’m happy that I could keep it to the finish,” Philipsen said.
“The sprint stage is always different from a classic like San Remo but of course we have some confidence. We have a strong team I think. So now it’s good to take some time off, recover a little bit and try to be on top level on Saturday.”
There was an early breakaway in the 154-kilometer (96-mile) route that started and finished in San Benedetto del Tronto but the eight riders were caught with just over 3 kilometers (2 miles) remaining.
More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports