Primoz Roglic is happy with the eighteenth stage in the Vuelta e España that went well for him, but the leader of Jumbo-Visma does not want to anticipate his first victory in a big lap.
Roglic took time on a competitor in Nairo Quintana on Thursday in the tough stage and now has a lead of 2 minutes and 50 seconds in the standings on the new number two Alejandro Valverde.
"But look at what happened yesterday. We need to stay focused, even though we have learned our lesson," said 29-year-old Slovenian, who again made a strong impression, after finishing in Becerril de la Sierra.
He was referring to the very surprisingly successful stage of Wednesday, in which he lost more than five minutes to a number of competitors. A large leading group was formed early on during the relatively flat stage and those riders were no longer taken back.
"Wednesday my teammates were able to assist me from the first kilometer. Today I was alone when Miguel Ángel attacked López, even though Neilson Powless sank back."
Primoz Roglic during the initial phase of the eighteenth Vuelta stage. (Photo: Getty Images)
'Be another step closer'
Roglic remains cautious about his chances. "I am one step closer. Today was a tough day for me and my team," he said about the stage in which four cols of the first category had to be conquered.
"In the end I have to rely on myself, but I still have good legs and we have to ensure that we continue our good work in the coming days."
There are three days to go in the Tour of Spain. Just like Wednesday, a relatively flat stage follows Friday, followed by another mountain stage on Saturday. The Vuelta ends in Madrid on Sunday.
Roglic is fast on his way to his first overall victory in a big lap. Earlier this season, he was already on stage in the Giro d'Italia, where he finished third.
See also: View the rankings of the Vuelta with Kelderman in seventh place