Higuita solos to Vuelta stage 18 victory as Roglic remains in the driving seat

Primoz Roglic took a step closer to winning the Vuelta with a strong second-place finish on the 18th stage on Thursday, increasing his overall lead entering the final stretch of the three-week race.

Sergio Higuita won the 177.5-kilometer stage after breaking away and fending off a late charge by Roglic and Alejandro Valverde. It was the first Grand Tour stage win for the 22-year-old rider from team EF Education First.

“In the end I had more heart than legs. I was really suffering,” Higuita said. “The Colombian fans lining the road gave me an extra kick. I’m so happy to win this stage to pay back everyone that believed in me.”

Roglic increased his lead to 2 minutes, 50 seconds going into the final two competitive stages before the finale in Madrid on Sunday.

Valverde moved back to second overall after this third-place finish on Thursday.

Roglic and Valverde crossed the line 1:01 ahead of Quintana and Pogacar, reshuffling the battle for the overall. Quintana fell to third place overall and Pogacar fell to fifth.

Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R La Mondiale) starred in the day’s break, cresting two summits in pole position to extend his lead in the polka dot jersey king of the mountains competition.

Vuelta a Espana 2019 – stage 18 results (Colmenar Viejo – Becerril de la Sierra):

1 Sergio Higuita (EF Education First)


2 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma)


3 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)


4 Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe)


5 Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana)


6 Carl Fredrik Hagen (Lotto Soudal)


7 Louis Meintjes (Dimension Data)


8 Nairo Quintana (Movistar)


9 Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates)


10 Oscar Rodriguez (Euskadi-Murias)


11 Hermann Pernsteiner (Bahrain-Merida)


12 Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma)


13 Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R La Mondiale)


14 Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team Ineos)


15 Marc Soler (Movistar)


16 Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb)


17 James Knox (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)


18 Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-Scott)


19 Kilian Frankiny (Groupama-FDJ)


20 Ruben Guerreiro (Katusha-Alpecin)



Vuelta a Espana 2019 – general classification after stage 18:

1 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma)


2 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)


3 Nairo Quintana (Movistar)


4 Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana)


5 Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates)


6 Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe)


7 Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb)


8 Carl Fredrik Hagen (Lotto Soudal)


9 James Knox (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)


10 Marc Soler (Movistar)


11 Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-Scott)


12 Jakob Fuglsang (Astana)


13 Dylan Teuns (Bahrian-Merida)


14 Sergio Higuita (EF Education First)


15 Hermann Pernsteiner (Bahrain-Merida)


16 Ion Izagirre (Astana)


17 Ruben Guerreiro (Katusha-Alpecin)


18 Nicolas Edet (Cofidis)


19 Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott)


20 Kilian Frankiny (Groupama-FDJ)



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