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Vuelta a Espana

Vuelta a España: Primož Roglič ‘didn’t have the legs’ to follow

The three-time Vuelta winner couldn't match Evenepoel, Mas or Ayuso on the late attacks on Pico Jano.

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Three-time defending champion Primož Roglič said he “didn’t have the legs” to follow the searing attacks on Pico Jano at the Vuelta a España on Thursday.

Roglič finished fifth in the Vuelta’s first major summit finale, but ceded time to new leader Remco Evenepoel, Enric Mas, and Juan Ayuso, with Jay Vine winning the stage.

“I didn’t have really the legs for the win, so I just fought all the way to the finish,” Roglič said. “It was on me at the end, but on the other hand, all the others want to win the race or fight for it.”

The Jumbo-Visma star gave away the red leader’s jersey Thursday in order to save the team’s legs going into the Vuelta’s big weekend of climbing stages in northern Spain.

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Evenepoel and Mas attacked midway up the climb and dropped Roglič and many of the other GC favorites. Ayuso later jumped clear, but Roglič trailed in with most of the top contenders on his wheel.

Roglič, settled into fourth at 1:01 behind Evenepoel, said the Vuelta is far from decided.

“It is still a long way. Today we lost a bit, but hopefully, we will gain a bit later on,” Roglič said. “They go stronger. I didn’t really need that proof. It was quite untypical weather for the Vuelta. Everything [is] fine and we go on to the next stages.”