Primoz Roglic makes impressive Vuelta a Espana statement with crushing time-trial win
Slovenian seizes leader's red jersey after powerful performance in Tuesday's Stage 10
Slovenia's Primoz Roglic pulverised his key rivals at the Vuelta a Espana individual time-trial on Tuesday to take a commanding lead with 11 stages remaining.
Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) posted a razor-sharp time of 47min 5sec to seize the leader's red jersey from climb specialist Nairo Quintana (Movistar), who lost more ground than he might have expected.
Quintana has in fact slipped to fourth in the general classification, three minutes adrift of Roglic, while another Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) is 2min 11sec back ij third while world champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) is in second at 1min 52sec behind.
Roglic edged out Patrick Bevin (CCC Team), who came second on the stage, with fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogacar, of UAE Team Emirates, the only general contender to make much of an impression. He remains fifth overall after winning Stage 9 on Sunday.
Bevin came in 25 seconds slower than Roglic, while third-placed Remi Cavagna (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) was a further two seconds back.
"These differences were predictable," Valverde said on Tuesday. "It is clear that Roglic was the big favorite for this stage and he proved it. But the Vuelta still has a long way to go. One more minute, one less, that doesn't mean anything.
"Personally, I felt I was going well, but it was a long TT and a very demanding one, so that's why I was feeling empty in the last part. Losing the time I did is what you could expect."
But Quintana would still have been disappointed with his showing, which leaves the Colombian with a significant gap to close in the event's more mountainous stages that remain. "It's not been a good day," he said. "I've lost more time than I expected. Two minutes would have been OK, but three minutes is more than I anticipated.
"Still, we'll have to fight back as best we can and see if we can attack Roglic in the mountains. It's our only option."
Former ski jumper Roglic, who came third at the Giro in May, banks on doing well in the time-trial and holding on in the hills. "You just try to ride as fast as possible so I'm happy with the performance, for sure," he said.
The crushing victory puts Roglic firmly in charge of the Vuelta, Spain's premier cycling event, whose tenth stage unusually took place entirely in France.
The 36.2-kilometre course between Jurancon and Pau was full of winding country lanes and technically demanding descents that were always likely to challenge those more comfortable on the climbs.
Stage 11 on Thursday will see riders negotiate an 180-kilometre route between Saint-Palais and Urdax.
Published: September 3, 2019 10:30 PM