Madrid (Spian), September 2: Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) showed why his is the favorite to win this year's Vuelta a Espana (Tour of Spain) cycle race with a monumental ride that not only gave him his third stage win of the race, but also saw him return to the overall leader's red jersey on a day of brutal climbing in the 17th stage of the race.
The Slovenian was the only rider who followed Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) when the Colombian attacked 60 kilometers from the finish of the 185-kilometer stage to the Lagos de Covadonga which included two first category climbs, before of the special category climb to the finish.
Bernal rode off the front of the group of favorites 4.5 kilometers from the top of the second big climb of the day and he and Roglic opened a lead of 41 seconds on the group ahead of a hair-raising descent.
The danger of a descent in pouring rain and wet roads was highlighted by overnight leader, Odd Eiking (Intermarche-Wanty) sliding out on a corner and losing time while Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana) forced out after injuring his collarbone.
Roglic began to work with Bernal on the descent and the pair led their pursuers by a minute and a half by the time they began the final climb of the day, with the question of how much the effort of riding in a pair, rather than as a group had taken out of them ahead of one of the toughest climbs of the race.
With eight kilometers left in the climb, Roglic began to slowly pull away from Bernal, taking 45 seconds out of the Colombian in the toughest ramps of the climb.
Bernal would be overtaken by the chasing group in the closing kilometers, as Roglic finished the stage a minute and 35 seconds ahead of his team-mate Sepp Kuss, with Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar) third and Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) fourth.
Roglic leads Enric Mas and Miguel Angel Lopez by 2.22 and 3.11 respectively in the overall classification going into Thursday's stage 18. This promises to be another brutal say with a second category, two first category climbs for the riders to climb, before finishing on the special category Alto de Gamoniteiru, which takes in almost 1,500 meters of ascent in around 15 kilometers.
Source : Xinhua