Primoz Roglic enters the final day of rest in the Vuelta a España with a reassuring lead in the general classification. The Slovenian is counting on him to maintain his good form as far as Madrid.
The leader of Jumbo-Visma did not shrink in the sixteenth stage to Alto de La Cubilla either. In fact, he increased the margin on his closest attacker Alejandro Valverde to 2.48 minutes.
He thoughtfully jumped along with Colombian Miguel Ángel López and his countryman Tadej Pogacar, when the two were looking for the attack. Something that Valverde did not succeed. "The López attack was very strong, but when I saw that Valverde was in trouble, I jumped in," Roglic said.
The three of them reached the finish line at 5.58 minutes from stage winner Jakob Fuglsang, but with 21 seconds ahead of Valverde.
The stoic Slovenian was therefore satisfied with his performance. "I enjoy doing so well. I now focus on the day of rest so that I can optimally prepare for the remainder of the Vuelta."
Primoz Roglic thoughtfully responded to an attack by Miguel Ángel López and Tadej Pogacar. (Photo: Getty Images)
"I'm looking forward to the third week"
In the last five stages, Roglic expects to hold on, making him the first ever Slovenian to win one of the three major cycling races. Then he has to pass the eighteenth and twentieth stages, two tough mountain rides.
He is not afraid of a relapse in the coming days. "No, I certainly do not have one", he answered a question about that. "I showed in the Tour de France last year that I was fine in the third week. I am especially looking forward to showing that here too."
It is not only Roglic who is in top form, but also his team that makes a strong impression. With Robert Gesink, Sepp Kuss, George Bennett and Neilson Powless, the classification leader has four strong helpers around him.
The comparison with Team Sky - nowadays Team INEOS - which is often dominant in the Tour - is therefore quickly made. "Hopefully we win as often as they do," Roglic responded.
The Vuelta continues on Wednesday with the seventeenth stage, which runs over 219 kilometers from Aranda de Duero to Guadalajara. The course is relatively flat for Spanish standards.
See also: View the classifications of the Vuelta with Kelderman in eighth place