Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) won an exhilarating stage 11 of La Vuelta 21 on the mighty slopes of Valdepeñas de Jaen.
This time, the Slovenian star snatched victory away from Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education Nippo), who had narrowly edged him in similar conditions at Cullera last week and was still leading the race inside the last 500m after another breakaway attempt.
Enric Mas challenged Roglic all the way to the line and finished 2nd ahead of his Movistar Team companion Miguel Angel Lopez. Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) held on to La Roja.
The 169-man peloton of La Vuelta 21 start a short hilly stage without Jasper Philipsen – Alpecin-Fenix announced he suffered “mild fever symptoms” – and Alex Aranburu (Astana-Premier Tech) – who crashed on stage 10’s final downhill. The route seems to inspire many riders with a full-on battle from the start.
BikeExchange and Jumbo-Visma control
It takes 28km of attacks and counter-attacks before a group of five attackers get away from the bunch with Edward Planckaert (Alpecin-Fenix), Jonathan Lastra (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education Nippo), Joan Bou (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal). After one hour of racing, they’ve already covered 47km, but the peloton only trail by 1’34’’.
Team BikeExchange and Jumbo-Visma are the most involved in the chase and the gap never gets higher than 2’15’’. The peloton accelerate inside the 25km with many teams jostling for the front position. The gap drops down to 44’’ at the bottom of the cat-2 ascent of Puerto de Locubin.
A thrilling battle to the line
Cort Nielsen drops his companions on the first slopes. He maintains a 22’’ gap over the top (7.8km to go) despite the hard pace set in the bunch, with David De la Cruz (UAE Team Emirates) trying to drop his rivals ahead of the final uphill.
Cort Nielsen holds on to a 19’’ lead as he enters the final kilometre. But Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) sets a brutal pace as the road rises with gradients of 20%. Enric Mas (Movistar Team) accelerates too but nobody can contain Roglic in the very last metres of the stage. – www.lavuelta.es
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE 11
1. Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, in 41-48-57
2. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis, at 58s
3. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, at 1-56
4. Enric Mas (Esp) Movistar, at 2-31
5. Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious, at 3-55