PAU, France (VN) — Primoz Roglic stamped his authority on this Vuelta a España on Tuesday, winning the individual time trial and taking a commanding lead in the overall.
Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) stopped the clock at 47:06 for the hilly 36.2-kilometer time trial, finishing 25 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Patty Bevin (CCC), and more than three minutes ahead of overnight leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar).
The lumpy course began in Juraçon, and included two hills, with the final 10 kilometers a flat and twisting route back into Pau, which is a regular host city for the Tour de France.
“I just tried to go all the time as fast as possible and yeah, it was enough at the end,” Roglic said at the finish. “I won today and we have to go day by day.”
The time trial reshuffled the GC picture, as many predicted it would. Roglic now holds a 1:52 lead in the overall to second-place Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), with Miguel Ángel López (Astana) in third.
The big loser on the day was Quintana, who finished in 27th place, more than three minutes in arrears. The dismal ride bumped Quintana from firsts into fourth place overall, 3:05 behind Roglic. He also sits more than a minute behind his teammate, Valverde, who could slot into Movistar’s leadership role.
The results of this Vuelta’s final time trial sets the stage for a battle in the mountainous terrain in weeks two and three. Five mountainous stages remain in this year’s Vuelta, including Friday’s summit finish to Los Machucos on stage 13, and Sunday’s brutal climbing stagge that finishes up the Santuario Del Acebo climb.
Roglic will try to hold on in the mountains as his rivals—namely Lopez and Quintana—will try to grab time.
Valverde, who now sits in second, said he and Quintana will try to unseat Roglic in the Vuelta’s second half.
“We still have a lot of racing ahead of us. To say I am leader, well, one minute more, one minute less, but we are all growing tired on the team about this question of who is leader and who isn’t,” Valverde said. “The two of us are going to do the best we can for Movistar, and that’s it. We are still in the fight. There is a lot racing ahead of us.”