Enric Mas feels he has 'an opportunity to do great things' as he hits form of his life at Vuelta a España

The Spanish Movistar leader has reached the podium at this race before in 2018

Enric Mas battling with Primož Roglič on stage 11 of the Vuelta a España
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Enric Mas came into the 2021 Vuelta a España officially as co-leader of Movistar, but suddenly now finds himself the most convincing challenger standing against Primož Roglič. 

All three Movistar leaders - Mas, Miguel Ángel López, and Alejandro Valverde - started the race brilliantly, holding the spots directly behind the race favourite, Roglič (Jumbo-Visma). But while Valverde crashed out, Mas started to flourish with López performing well too.

But it is now clear that Mas is the main rival of Roglič as the race heads into the final two weeks of the Grand Tour.

>>> Primož Roglič relieved to put Vuelta a España crash behind him with stage victory

Speaking after stage 11, where he came second behind Roglič, Mas said: "The best shape of my career? I think so - Roglič, along with Pogačar and not many other riders, is the reference. To be able to compete with him in the Vuelta means a lot to me. 

"The team continues to do well. I keep saying it's a big loss not to have Alejandro [Valverde] and Johan [Jacobs] with us anymore, but this great team has - and I have this feeling every day - an opportunity to do great things in this race."

There are plenty of huge mountain days to come in this monstrously hard Vuelta, with lots of these days stacked into the first part of the final week. But Roglič is clearly in his pomp at the Vuelta yet again and it would take a mistake or a very bad day from him to lose red to Mas.

The red jersey currently sits on the shoulders of Norwegian rider Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) with Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) in second, while Roglič is effectively the leader in waiting in third place. 

Mas was asked about his collision with Roglič on the final climb of stage 11 but he said it was simply a racing incident: "He didn't see me coming and I couldn't brake there because otherwise he would have caught me a few meters. It was either a collision or braking. When I saw him after the finish, he apologised. Our relationship is good."

The 12th day of the Vuelta looks perfect for a breakaway, but, the way this race is going, the battle from Jaén to Córdoba over the very hilly 175km route could see some battles out of the GC group too. 

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.