'Losing the jersey is actually good for us': Primož Roglič content to cede Vuelta a España lead on stage three
Breakaway victor Rein Taaramäe moved into the overall lead as defending champion slips to third
Primož Roglič says losing the Vuelta a España lead on the first summit finish of the 2021 edition is good for his Jumbo-Visma team.
The defending champion, who led the race after winning Saturday's opening time trial, was content to allow the red jersey to go to stage winner Rein Taaramäe (Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux).
Taaramäe claimed victory from the day's breakaway, finishing 1-48 ahead of the GC group which contained Roglič safely ensconced. The defending champion looked comfortable as attacks were blunted by a strong headwind on the climb to Picón Blanco, much to the frustration of some of his rivals that are already trailing behind.
Roglič now sits third overall, just 30 seconds behind the race leader, but is comfortable allowing the jersey to sit with another team safe in the knowledge the onus to lead the peloton will no longer be on his squad with 18 stages still to come.
“It went well on the road and I'm satisfied,” Roglič said at the finish. “There was a lot of wind on the climb, which even made it a bit cold. Especially after the heat of the last few days, that took some getting used to.
"The fact that we have now lost the jersey is actually good for us. It was a steep and tough climb, but the result doesn't say much yet. There are still many tough stages to come.”
One blow for the Jumbo-Visma team will be the loss of Sepp Kuss from the upper reaches of the general classification. The American, who would have been an even more valuable ally to Roglič if he's maintained his overall position, slipped to 2-40 down on the final climb, having started the day just 15 seconds behind Roglič in the GC. Nonetheless, the team's sports director Grischa Niermann says the day was ultimately a satisfying one for the team as they relinquish the responsibility of carrying the red jersey.
"Primož had a good day, Sepp a much less so," Niermann said.
“We are where we want to be in the standings. It was a great day for us. If we wanted to defend the jersey, we certainly would have.
"Primož agreed that we would hand over the jersey. It may sound a bit strange, but we are still satisfied even though we have lost the leader's jersey."
Thank you for reading 10 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Follow on Twitter: @richwindy
Richard is digital editor of Cycling Weekly. Joining the team in 2013, Richard became editor of the website in 2014 and coordinates site content and strategy, leading the news team in coverage of the world's biggest races and working with the tech editor to deliver comprehensive buying guides, reviews, and the latest product news.
An occasional racer, Richard spends most of his time preparing for long-distance touring rides these days, or getting out to the Surrey Hills on the weekend on his Specialized Tarmac SL6 (with an obligatory pub stop of course).
The Ultimate Gear Test: this bike and gear survived an epic edition of the Unbound XL
The Unbound XL is a true test of fitness, self-sufficiency, tenacity and equipment. Here’s how this rider's bike and gear fared after 352 miles of gravel, mud, rain and thunderstorms.
By Anne-Marije Rook • Published
Specialized releases pro-race winning Roval Rapide Cockpit
Integrated rated Roval bar and stem has already seen multiple wins on bikes of Demi Vollering and Fabio Jakobsen this season
By Joe Baker • Published
'Possibly La Vuelta' - what's next for Geraint Thomas?
Another Tour de France bid looks unlikely for the Ineos Grenadiers leader, despite impressive Giro d'Italia
By Tom Davidson • Published
Tourmalet, Angliru, Covadonga: what we know so far about a 'spectacular' 2023 Vuelta a España route
"It will be a very mountainous and international Vuelta," according to race organisers, with a crucial final week including the fearsome Angliru
By Chris Marshall-Bell • Last updated
Analysing the Vuelta a España's revolutionary podium and what it means for the future
The Vuelta had first teenager on a Grand Tour podium since 1904 and the youngest top five this century
By Adam Becket • Last updated
Jake Stewart bounces back from Vuelta disappointment to take aim at Worlds
British fast man is ready and raring to go for Wollongong, despite leaving Vuelta and a truncated Tour of Britain
By Adam Becket • Published
Remco Evenepoel wins maiden grand tour at Vuelta a España
Juan Sebastián Molano takes a surprise final stage win after a messy sprint in Madrid
By Owen Rogers • Published
Richard Carapaz wins the final mountain stage of the 2022 Vuelta a España
Carapaz takes his third stage win of the race as GC leader Evenepoel passes the last mountain test
By Dane Cash • Last updated
Bahrain Victorious 'stands by' Fred Wright after Primož Roglič blames him for Vuelta a España ending crash
Jumbo-Visma star says Wright “rode the handlebars out of my hands”
By Tom Thewlis • Published
Five talking points from stage 19 of the Vuelta a España
Mads Pedersen fastest once again, while Evenepoel is ready for his final test
By Adam Becket • Published