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On Tuesday, Michael Storer sprung to his second stage win at this year’s Vuelta a España, attacking out of a breakaway to win the race’s mountainous 10th stage. But the real action was going on behind Storer, where breakaway riders Odd Christian Eiking of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, and Guillaume Martin of Cofidis leapfrogged Primož Roglič on GC, with Eiking taking over the red jersey.
Roglič put in heroics of his own, attacking out of the group of GC favorites — and then crashing — before crossing the line alongside Enric Mas and Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar). Here’s what the stars said after stage 10 of the 2021 Vuelta a España:
Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma): 37th, at 11:49
In 2020, Primož Roglič spent so much time in a race-leader’s jersey, it was hard to identify him in his Jumbo-Visma team kit.
This season, Roglič has tried to be more strategic as to when he takes and holds onto a race lead, and when he lets it slip from his control.
He’s crashed in nearly every significant race he’s started in 2021, seeming to throw caution — and race leadership — to the wind when both under pressure and also when he’s established himself a winning margin.
On stage 10 of the Vuelta, Roglic had already let the race lead go with the break. He launched a surprise attack on a categorized climb, only to crash a few kilometers later while descending at high-speed, on a closing radius, right-hand bend in the road.
“No risk, no gain,” he said. “It was good, an active, day, and I should be alright. I just slipped.”
“I would have felt better if I hadn’t fallen, but I’m okay. It’s a competition; without taking risks you don’t win. I crashed because I went too fast in the descent. The road was slippery,” said the two-time Vuelta winner.
Mauri Vansevenant (Deceunink-Quick-Step): 2nd, at :22
The “Wolfpack” rider Mauri Vansevenant, in the breakaway with the stage winner, chased after Storer all the way to the finish. His work paid off with a podium position.
Winning the field sprint for second, the Belgian rider worked with the shattered remains of the break on the final climb, and fast descent to bring back Storer.
While Vansevenant came up a little shy of the win, his growing confidence may have helped him in the field sprint.
“Today was really tough. We rode full gas for two hours until a breakaway formed, and once this happened, it was good to be there with Andrea [Bagioli]. We all knew the last climb would be decisive and you could see that’s where the attacks came.
“We trailed the guy in the front by around 50 seconds at the top, and worked together managing to claw back time, but despite our effort, we couldn’t catch him.
“In the sprint, I had confidence and got a solid second, which will give me the motivation to try again, but I won’t hide the fact I am a bit disappointed as I would have loved to win,” said the 22-year-old.
Enric Mas (Movistar Team): 36th, at 11:49
Keeping an eye on the race leader’s jersey caused the majority of the Movistar Team to cede nearly 12 minutes on stage 10. The Spanish squad has both stage wins and an overall podium in its sights, but stage 10 looked to be all about the GC podium.
Enric Mas is 28 seconds back of the overall, while Miguel Ángel López is nearly a minute adrift of Mas. The two are in fourth and fifth overall, and their tactics appear to be dedicated by Jumbo-Visma.
Mas was cognizant of his overall placing, as well as the road conditions in the final 20km.
“It’s surely been an exciting stage for the viewers, yet it was so dangerous for us. We didn’t want to say anything before the start of the stage, but we knew it was a dangerous downhill, where maybe anyone who tried to attack and went a bit too far could crash at some point, because the descent was so, so slippery.
“I was actually riding with too much precaution, to be honest – I was always losing some meters behind the rest because I wanted to be so cautious not to crash. In the end, we got safely through, which was the most important thing for us – we were already happy with that,” said Mas.
Miguel Ángel López (Movistar Team): 33rd, at 11:49
Like his teammate Mas, Miguel Ángel López was trying to make a strategic play, as well as guard his overall race position.
Roglič’s attack could have been devastating for López if it were not for the Slovenian’s crash on the descent, allowing López & Co. to reconnect with the GC favorite.
“I didn’t see the crash from Roglič. It’s true that he had taken a small gap on us at the start of the downhill, and we were still able to see him at some portions of the descent, but it caught us by surprise when we found him ahead, trying to get back on his bike because we didn’t see him crash.
“We were taking precautions over the downhill because we know that it was a slippery one. Our main goal today was getting safely through it and I think we succeeded to avoid setbacks in such a dangerous finish.”
Felix Großschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe): 38th, at 11:49
In the group with Roglic, Felix Großschartner — whose best finish in the 2021 Vuelta was seventh on stage 7 — rode with the GC favorites, letting Jumbo-Visma, Movistar, and Ineos Grenadiers do the majority of the work.
Großschartner was aware of the tricky descent to the finish and chose to let others lead, and was ultimately satisfied with the outcome: finishing with Roglic, Mas, and López.
“It was a strong day for me today and I felt good. I was up there with the best few riders and was able to gain time on some of my other competitors, so overall a pretty good day in the saddle.”