The Slovenian saw the Tour de France yellow jersey slip away in dramatic fashion late in the race earlier this summer and it was a case of déjà vu when he was dropped on the final climb of Saturday’s 178.2km stage by second-placed Richard Carapaz, but the 31-year-old clung on.
Going into Sunday’s 18th and final flat stage to Madrid, Roglic, who had a 45-second advantage before the start in Sequeros, leads Ecuador’s Carapaz by 24 seconds and Briton Hugh Carthy by 47 seconds.
Gaudu, who claimed his second stage win, broke into the top 10 in the general classification.
Roglic seemed in total control when Carthy was the first to attack with about four km to go but a brutal acceleration by Carapaz three km from the line left the Jumbo Visma rider stuck to the tar.
As the light faded on the Alto de la Covatilla so did Roglic’s hopes with his virtual overall lead being cut to 18 seconds.
But Caparaz plateaued and Roglic dug deeper in the last km to edge closer to putting his Tour de France heartbreak behind him.
Almost three minutes before that the 24-year-old Gaudu had crossed the line for a solo win that gave him eighth place in the general classification on his first grand tour as a team leader with Groupama-FDJ.
Additional reporting by Reuters.
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