Primoz Roglic pipped team mate Jonas Vingegaard after climbing the infamous Angliru to win stage 17 of the Vuelta a Espana on Wednesday, as Sepp Kuss hung on grimly to the leader’s red jersey after finishing third.
The Jumbo-Visma team had it all their own way on the final part of the gruelling climb to the finish. With Kuss, the overall leader struggling, it was left to Vingegaard and Roglic to battle for the stage win.
A 124.5 kilometre ride through Asturias finishing at the Angliru, with two category one climbs before reaching the mighty summit, was dominated by Remco Evenepoel, last year’s Vuelta winner, before the Belgian ran out of steam.
Roglic crossed the finish line with Vingegaard on his back wheel, while Kuss, who held a 29-second advantage over Vingegaard heading into the stage, saw his overall lead cut to just eight seconds by his Danish team mate.
The final part of the stage saw the Jumbo-Visma team do battle with Bahrain Victorious. Three riders from each team led the way into the final four kilometres in the mist and fog of the Angliru.
With two kilometres left to climb, the Jumbo-Visma trio, as they have done throughout this Vuelta, made it a race between themselves.
Kuss was first to crack. Vingegaard glanced over his shoulder as Kuss fell behind, but ignored his struggles and soldiered on to the top. The American was then joined by Mikel Landa and tried to limit the gap to the leaders as he battled to keep hold of the red jersey.
As they hit the downhill section to the line, Roglic came in first, his second stage win of this Vuelta, with Vingegaard close behind. Kuss came in ahead of Landa, but 19 seconds down on Vingegaard.
“It’s a position I never expected to be in and that’s the beautiful thing about it,” Kuss said, after just about holding on to the overall lead.
“I came in without any expectations and I was just looking to help the guys – like always – but then I came into this beautiful jersey and all the experiences that come with it.”
Thursday’s stage 18 is another mountain stage, a 179 km ride from Pola de Allande to La Cruz de Linares.
🔥 ¡Otro dominio de @JumboVismaRoad para lograr un triplete y ser más líderes! Revive el ÚLTIMO KM.
— La Vuelta (@lavuelta) September 13, 2023