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Roglič started the challenging climbing stage with a slender lead, but could not follow an attacking group late in the race, and dropped to eighth overall at 1:05 back of new leader Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl).
It was a rare moment to see the three-time Vuelta a España champion struggle in the mountains when he couldn’t stay with the best in a key moment.
“The toughest stage tomorrow. Jonas has shown that he can compete uphill,” said sport director Mark Reef. “Primož is still among the first 10 of the general classification, but he has already fallen behind. Yet nothing is lost. We’ll go for it tomorrow.”
Up the road, Vingegaard was in good position with the GC rivals, but was caught up in a bizarre incident involving Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) within sight of the finish line.
— GCN Racing (@GcnRacing) April 8, 2022
The pair was driving toward the line, and Vingegaard and Vlasov got tangled up along the fences. Vlasov fell to the ground, and Vingegaard was forced to step out of the pedals.
“In the finale, I was right up there with the other GC favorites, but then I crashed a few meters ahead of the finish line,” Vlasov said. “It’s hard to explain exactly what happened, it all was so fast. But these things happen in cycling, and we have to accept it and move on.”
Because the finish was so steep, neither was able to click back into the pedals. As a result, both ran to the line and lost valuable seconds in the tightly wound fight for the podium.
“Jonas got in front because he reacted alertly to an attack. The gap increased quickly and Jonas was ready to launch his final sprint,” Reef said. “He felt he was on the way to a good result until the incident with Vlasov. A real shame because otherwise he would have been better placed in the GC.”
The real times stood at the line, and both Vlasov and Vingegaard both lost a little more than 10 seconds to Evenepoel.
Vingegaard moved up to sixth at 29 seconds back, while Vlasov fell from fourth to fifth, at 22 seconds back.
The final podium will be decided in Saturday’s uphill finale at Arrate in the 135.7km sixth stage.
Update on Milan Vader: Here is a note from Jumbo-Visma: Following the reports about Milan Vader after his crash in today’s stage of Itzulia Basque Country, we would like to inform you that his situation is stable. Milan is receiving very good medical care in the university medical hospital in Bilbao. An update will be shared tomorrow.