There are a number of cliché phrases that can describe the performance of Tadej Pogačar on stage 20 of the Vuelta a España but the sheer voracity with which the young Slovene gobbled up the final 30km of the last mountain stage make them all seem apt.
The UAE Team Emirates rider shot out of the red jersey group with 37km to go on the last category 1 climb of the Vuelta, the Puerto de Peña Negra - playing off a pair of attacks by white jersey rival Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana).
What looked to be a dig to regain the best young rider title turned into a full on assault on the podium, with Alejandro Valverde forced to take up the reins when Pogačar first overtook Nairo Quintana and then closed in on the world champion's second place behind leader Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma).
With Quintana and Lopez struggling, Valverde had to go on the defensive, giving Roglic an armchair ride into the final overall victory with only the processional sprint stage in Madrid remaining.
Thank you for signing up to Cycling News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.