Remco Evenepoel’s vice grip at the Vuelta a España was loosened in Saturday’s explosive final into the 14th stage.
The GC gap changed significantly in the four kilometer space of the La Pandera summit finish, with Ebenepoel losing time to nearly all of his top competitors.
Primosh Roglic unleashed a thunderous acceleration on the top of a steep rock, took the red jersey-clad Ebenepoel onto the ropes and watched him lose his wheel in the first glimmer of weakness in the 14-day race. rice field.
“It certainly wasn’t the best day. I didn’t have the best legs and I couldn’t accelerate when Roglic went,” Ebenepoel said after the game.
The Belgian recovered to close the gap to the rampaging Roglić to under a minute after the first kilometer crisis.
Evenepoel still holds a 1:49 advantage over chasing GC packs after a tough Pandera summit. But Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s ace’s first signs of fatigue may give hope to those behind him ahead of Sunday’s alpine showdown in the Sierra Nevada.
Behind stage winner Richard Carapaz (Ineos-Grenadiers), Roglic was the big winner of the day.
His 3rd place finish gave him 48 seconds on the GC, his first big move against a younger rival. Jumbo His Visma has his seven stages ready to take Ebenepoel from the red if the Slovenian star and historic wants to win his fourth consecutive Vuelta title.
Enric Mas started the day in 3rd place overall and got behind the wheel of Roglić as the three-time Vuelta champion attacked.
Mass later struggled at the top of the stony Pandera, finishing 28 seconds back in Roglich. This was just 20 seconds ahead of Ebenepoel, who just bit off the three-minute gap to the red jersey.
Top 3 Vuelta after Stage 14:
- Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): Race Leader
- Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma): +1:49
- Enric Mass (Movistar): +2:43
Evenpol capped the damage and inadvertently let UAE Emirates co-leader Juan Ayuso close to the line on pace.
Ayuso did not achieve a GC gain as Mas, Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Casaxstan), João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) and Carlos Rodríguez (Ineos Grenadias) were seconds back as the race approached. was the only rider Madrid.
Evenpoel is firmly in control of this Vuelta a Espana heading into Sunday’s second huge showdown. But suddenly Roglic might see an opportunity to pry his little finger out of Remco’s red grip.
“I’m still 1:49′ ahead on the GC, so there’s no need to panic. I’ll try to recover as much as possible and survive tomorrow,” he hoped.