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The Spanish leader at Movistar said even Thursday’s crash late in stage 12 didn’t rattle Evenepoel or loosen his grip on the red leader’s jersey.
“We know he’s tough and he hasn’t shown any weakness,” Mas said at the line Thursday. “The climb wasn’t that complicated. We have to get used to these kind of drubbings in these finals. That’s the way he races and he’s looking good.”
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Mas and Primož Roglič couldn’t shake Evenepoel in the first-category summit finale despite the Belgian going down in a high-speed spill on a descent with about 45km to go.
Mas rolled through with Evenepoel to remain in third place at 3:03 back on a stage that didn’t see any major shakeups in the GC.
“I asked [Evenepoel] how he felt after the crash, and said he’s OK,” Mas said. “He said it was a slick corner, and nothing else. We have to keep taking it day by day, like I’ve been saying since the start of the race. The key is to keep enjoying the race.”
Primož Roglič: ‘I had good feelings’
Jumbo-Visma set a high pace on the middle part of the climb, but couldn’t rattle Evenepoel.
Primož Roglič finished safely in the slipstream of Evenepoel to defend his second place overall at 2:41 back.
“It was quite a long climb, it was fine. I was there,” Roglič said. “We will see. I have good feelings. Hopefully I can improve a bit. We are a bit behind, so we need to catch up.”
Roglič is also hoping to find his legs as the Vuelta unfolds. The three-time Vuelta champion matched Evenepoel in the late accelerations.
“It’s a long way. It was a good day,” Roglič said. “Last year I had a start like this. It was like this today. It was slippery on the road today. You cannot be really fast on the corners.”