Primoz Roglic acknowledges that he got away well in the Vuelta a España. The classification leader was not happy when a large group escaped, but managed to keep the red thanks to the hard work of his team Jumbo-Visma.
A sizeable group, including Nairo Quintana and Wilco Kelderman, managed to get a lead of more than six minutes together despite Jumbo-Visma's work. Other teams then helped, but in the end Quintana and Kelderman caught Roglic over five minutes later. The ride was a prey for the Belgian Philippe Gilbert.
The Slovenian saw it all happen, but could not compete. "I was not where I should have been", the red jersey carrier acknowledged. "I made a mistake by not being in front. The team saved me today."
Robert Gesink, Tony Martin and Lennard Hofstede, among others, drove full heads to keep the difference from getting too big. "They have done everything right from the start, but after a while they just couldn't go on anymore. Then it was up to the other teams to help," said Roglic.
The stage victory was for the Belgian Philippe Gilbert. (Photo: Getty Images)
"Battle lost but not the war"
Due to his time savings, Quintana is now the new number two in the rankings, 2.24 minutes from Roglic. "But we are still in good shape," said the leader of Jumbo-Visma. "It was tough today. We have lost a battle, but not the war."
Although he had to fight hard for it, Roglic said he never worried about the fact that he could lose the sweater. "I never thought I would lose the Vuelta here. Everyone wanted to reach the finish as quickly as possible."
Roglic has to go through four more rides, including two tough mountain stages, without tearing. "It remains an unpredictable course and I expect that I will have to fight hard in the coming days."
A mountain stage from Colmenar Viejo to Becerill de la Sierra is scheduled for Thursday. Along the way there are four first category climbs. The stage ends at the top of a hill.
See also: View the classifications of the Vuelta with Kelderman in sixth place