VALDEPENAS DE JAEN, Spain : Defending champion Primoz Roglic claimed victory on stage 11 of the Vuelta a Espana on Wednesday.
The Jumbo-Visma rider, who surrendered the leader’s red jersey on Tuesday after crashing, produced an emphatic attack on the final steep ramps of the 133.6-km stage from Antequera to Valdepenas de Jaen.
Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarche–Wanty–Gobert Materiaux), who finished 11 seconds behind Roglic, remains in red, 58 seconds ahead of Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) and one minute 56 seconds up on the Slovenian stage winner.
“It was a hard stage, short but super hot again,” Roglic said.
“I was suffering a lot but luckily I had enough to win at the end.
“It’s always nice to win, you never know when’ll be your last victory. It was a nice finish with steep uphill, which normally I can do well, so it was a nice challenge and the team did an amazing job, pushing really hard throughout the day.”
Roglic and Enric Mas of Movistar caught EF Education–Nippo’s Magnus Cort Nielsen – who had been in the break for most of the day and held a 16-second lead going into the final kilometre – with 200 metres of the race to go as the slopes touched 24per cent in the closing stages.
Mas had appeared to be the stronger of the two, launching a number of attacks in the final kilometre until passing Cort Nielsen, but with 50 metres remaining Roglic surged ahead to claim a statement victory.
The Dane eventually weaved across the line, 49 seconds down on the stage winner after being caught by the chasing group.
Thursday’s Stage 12 sees the race go from Jaen to Cordoba, with a downhill finish meaning it could be primed for a breakaway victory.
(Reporting by Joseph Walker; editing by Clare Fallon)