Primoz Roglic booked his first time trial victory in fourteen months in the Vuelta a España on Tuesday.
The leader of Jumbo-Visma, who also recaptured the leader's jersey, was very satisfied with his performance in the chronorace to the top of the terribly steep Mirador de Ézaro.
"I felt surprisingly strong. I expected that I would suffer more, but it went very well," said 31-year-old Roglic in an initial reaction.
"It's a beautiful day, I hadn't won a time trial in a long time."
The Slovenian's last victory in a race against the clock was on September 3, 2019, the only individual time trial in last year's Vuelta.
Roglic was one and a half minutes faster than his main competitors Tadej Pogacar and Alejandro Valverde in that rolling chrono race of more than 36 kilometers.
Roglic did not have such a big lead on Tuesday, but after 33.7 kilometers - and a finish on a 1.8 kilometers climb at 14.8 percent - he was 25 seconds faster than Hugh Carthy and 49 seconds faster than red jersey wearer Richard. Carapaz.
"Everyone said in advance that I would take time, but it's not that simple," said Roglic, who rode his first time trial since losing the yellow jersey to Pogacar on the penultimate day of the Tour de France a month and a half ago.
"We all know that it's not really fun to ride a time trial, but today I had good legs and had a good stage."
# LaVuelta20 - Stage 13 - Top 10
Avatar Authorlaflammerouge16Moment of places16: 26 - 3 November 2020
One more tough mountain ride in the final week
In the standings, the defending champion now has 39 seconds ahead of Carapaz and 47 counts over the surprising Carthy.
There is one more tough mountain stage on Saturday.
The next three days there will be some climbing, but it will be more steep hills than long and high cols.
"In any case, it is nice that we now have a 39 seconds lead", said Roglic, who is supported in Spain by a strong team.
"We have to keep our focus, but the mane is very good and we are going to fight for the overall victory."
See also: View the rankings of the Vuelta with Poels in 6th place