Primoz Roglic rode a commanding individual time trial at the Vuelta a Espana this afternoon to take big chunks of time out of his rivals for the overall title and ride into the race lead.
The Jumbo-Visma rider lies 1 minute 52 seconds ahead of Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde on GC following today’s Stage 10 test against the clock, with Miguel Angel Lopez of Astana a further 19 seconds back in third place overall.
Nairo Quintana of Movistar, who took the race leader’s red jersey in Andorra on Sunday, drops to fourth on GC, 3 minutes down on Roglic, with today marking the first time in Grand Tour history that the overall lead has changed hands six stages in a row.
Today’s 36.2 kilometre stage took place on the French side of the Pyrenees, starting in Jurancon and finishing in Pau – the city that just a month and a half ago hosted the start and finish of the Stage 13 individual time trial at the Tour de France.
The surprise winner that day was race leader Julian Alaphilippe of Deceuninck-Quick Step, but there was to be no such shock result this afternoon as strong pre-stage favourite Roglic ate up the course.
His closest challengers on the road – if not for the overall – today were CCC’s Patrick Bevin, 25 seconds behind and, another 2 seconds down, the Deceuninck-Quick Step rider Remi Cavagna.
Valverde ceded 1 minute 36 seconds to the Slovenian today while Lopez lost a full 2 minutes, and although Quintana had been widely expected to cede the lead to Roglic, he would have hoped to have limited his losses to less than the 3 minutes 6 seconds he eventually shipped.
Stage winner and race leader Primoz Roglic
I tried to go as fast as possible. It was enough for the win today. For me it was important to stay focused and pedal as hard as possible. That is all I had in my control today. We are still at the start of the Vuelta and we will see in Madrid whether this lead is enough to win the race. We have had some rough days already, but there are also difficult stages to come. Now it is important to stay healthy and then we will look at it day by day. I will have to handle the race together with the team, but we have a strong team.
This victory is not unexpected, but it feels really good," sports director Grischa Niermann said. “We knew that Primoz was the big favourite and he has achieved it. We didn't expect to take all the time on his opponents, but we hoped. The Vuelta is not finished yet, but it’s looking good at the moment.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.