Primoz Roglic won Tirreno-Adriatico on Sunday after finishing comfortably in the bunch in the final stage won by Jasper Philipsen in a sprint.
Roglic made no mistake as he held on to an 18-second lead over Joao Almeida built by winning the previous three stages to claim victory in his first race of the season.
The overall win for Roglic came a little over six months after a crash at the Vuelta a Espana ended his 2022 campaign.
“It’s just nice to come back to racing this way. I really enjoyed the whole week,” the Slovenian said. “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.”
He won Tirreno-Adriatico for the second time, swopping titles with Tadej Pogacar, who earlier on Sunday won Paris-Nice, a race Roglic won last year. Tao Geoghegan Hart finished third, a further five seconds off the pace.
Philipsen won his second stage of the week, again after being practically led to the line by teammate Mathieu van der Poel, following 154 kilometres of riding into coastal town San Benedetto del Tronto.
Philipsen pipped Dylan Groenewegen and Alberto Dainese to the win with his late burst, a good sign ahead of Milan-San Remo next weekend.
“I’m happy to get first over the line before I was dying at the end. My legs were really painful. I’m happy that I kept it to the finish,” Philipsen told RAI.
“We are confident (for Milan-SanRemo), we have a strong team, now it’s good to take some time off, recover a little bit and try to be more top level on Saturday.”