The front-runner Primus Roglic reclaimed the Volta leadership with a celebratory performance on the tough stage at Covadonga Lakes. The defending Division 17 champion won the over 186km 4,400m vertical on Wednesday with a minute and a half in front of a group of seven with Egan Bernal, who has kept pace with the Slovenian for so long. With a more than two-minute lead over new runner-up Enrique Mas, Roglic could barely pull off his third overall victory.
Felix Groschartner took a place on the 12th stage and is now 9th. But former leader Odd Christian Ecking slipped to 11th place. The outside player, who has been in the leadership jersey for a week, lost contact with the group of top favorites on the penultimate ascent with about 60 kilometers before the finish. Later, on a long drive on a wet road, the Norwegian was also implicated in the fall of several drivers, who all managed to continue with injuries.
At about the same time as Ecking relapsed up, Bernal attacked first, only Roglic was able to follow the Giro winner. Grossschartner initially held up well on the first larger chase group, but then lost contact with the top duo’s chasers due to a slip in approach to the final climb. Shortly before the last twelve-kilometre mountain classification began, he once again returned to the small field. However, on the way to the finish, Bora’s pro slipped a bit, defending his place among the best nearly three minutes behind Roglic, and leading him off the overall leader now nearly seven minutes.
Roglic and Bernal went into the steep final by a minute and a half, with the seemingly outstanding Slovenian drifting away from the Tour de France champion seven kilometers from the finish. The Olympic Trials champion was still well ahead of the finish line, a few pro drivers in Ineos passed Bernal, and the Colombian is now sixth overall.
The race for second place behind Roglic was decided in minute 1:35 by his jumbo teammate Seb Kos (USA). Third, the Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez was more than three minutes behind the Slovenian in third place overall. Ahead, 2:22 behind him, Spain’s Movistar teammate Mas is Roglic’s first chaser ahead of Thursday’s next mountain stage.
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