Roglic dominates mountain stage, regains Vuelta overall lead

LAGOS DE COVADONGA, Spain (AP) — Two-time defending champion Primoz Roglic regained the overall lead in the Spanish Vuelta on Wednesday with a dominant performance during the mountainous 17th stage.

The 31-year-old Slovenian pulled away from Egan Bernal with 7.5 kilometers (4.6 miles) to go and finished alone up the iconic climb into Lagos de Covadonga for his third stage win, pumping his left fist as he crossed the line.

“I just tried to ride up the climb as fast as possible,” Roglic said. “At that point, Egan didn’t follow anymore so I just went in alone.”

With four stages remaining, Roglic leads the Movistar team pair of Enric Mas by 2 minutes, 22 seconds and Miguel Angel Lopez by more than 3 minutes.

“It’s never big enough, but yeah it’s nice, we deserve it,” Roglic said of his lead. “We’ll see if it will be enough then after tomorrow.”

Roglic’s Jumbo-Visma teammate, Sepp Kuss of the United States, finished the stage in second place just ahead of Lopez in a pack that was 1:35 behind the winner.

Norwegian rider Odd Christian Eiking had kept the leader’s red jersey for a week but had a difficult day that included a crash. He dropped nearly 8 minutes off the lead.

Roglic had joined Bernal when the Colombian rider attacked with 61 kilometers (40 miles) to go, and the pair opened a gap over other contenders before Roglic dropped Bernal.

“I didn’t think, I just went with him,” Roglic said. “It was still a hard climb at the end.”

The 185-kilometer (115-mile) stage saw riders complete two loops around a circuit that included an unprecedented climb at Collada Llomena before the difficult Lagos de Covadonga summit.

On Tuesday, Eiking had warned that the Lagos de Covadonga stage would be “very decisive” — and it was.

Riders face another mountain stage on Thursday with a 162.6-kilometer (101 miles) course from Salas to Altu d’El Gamoniteiru.

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