Primoz Roglic‘s bid to win his first Grand Tour remained firmly on track after the Vuelta a Espana‘s first summit finish, as the Slovenian star comfortably limited his losses on the climb to new race leader Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana).
After Astana and EF Education First upped the pace on the higher slopes of the Javalambre on stage 5, Roglic was able to respond to Alejandro Valverde’s searing attack with five kilometres to go.
Roglic could not follow Lopez’s acceleration that quickly followed but he only lost 12 seconds to the Colombian climber on the stage and he worked well with Valverde to limit the gaps.
His consistent performance in the mountains, ably supported by teammate Sepp Kuss and the rest of Jumbo-Visma, has allowed the Slovenian to gain four spots overall, ousting Nairo Quintana (Movistar) from second on GC.
Just 14 seconds behind Lopez in the overall standings, Roglic seemed satisfied with his performance, talking briefly to reporters after the finish after he put on warm weather gear and was given a whistle for the 11-kilometre ride back down the mountain to the Jumbo-Visma team bus.
“It wasn’t too hard, and I’m happy to get through,” Roglic said. “It’s a good beginning, so we’ll see.
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