Primož Roglič (LottoNL-Jumbo) won the key stage four time trial in the 2018 Tour of the Basque Country in Spain on Thursday.
The victory meant that the Slovenian takes the lead in the general classification from Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors), who had occupied the yellow jersey after winning the two opening stages. Roglič started the day in second place, eight seconds behind Alaphilippe overall.
Living up to pre-stage expectations, Roglič put in a strong performance on the pan-flat, out-and-back time trial course that totalled 19.4 kilometres starting and finishing in Lodosa. Roglič also won the race’s time trial stage last year.
New Zealander Patrick Bevin (BMC Racing) placed second on the stage after setting an early fast time that only Roglič could better.
Former time trial world champion Vasil Kiryienka (Team Sky) placed third behind Roglič and Bevin at 11 seconds. Kiryienka was the first of four Sky riders in the stage’s top 10, with Jonathan Castroviejo, Michal Kwiatkowski and David de la Cruz finishing in fourth, fifth and seventh.
Despite losing the race lead, Alaphilippe put in a solid show against the clock, placing eighth on the stage, but 42 seconds adrift of Roglič’s time.
Mikel Landa (Movistar) was one of the riders who really lost out against Alaphilippe and Roglič, placing 30th on the stage to drop from fourth to seventh overall.
Conversely, Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) finished the stage just one second and one place behind Alaphilippe to elevate himself to third place overall.
Roglič leads Alaphilippe by 34 seconds, with Mollema in third at one minute and 33 seconds.
The 2018 Tour of the Basque Country’s penultimate stage on Friday, a 164.7-kilometre hilly route from Vitoria to Eibar.
The race concludes on Saturday with a relatively short 122.2km stage from Eibar to Arrate that will take the fight for the general classification to the line with a testing climb to the finish.
Tour of the Basque Country, stage four: Lodosa to Lodosa, 19.4km ITT
1. Primož Roglič (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo, in 22-26
2. Patrick Bevin (NZl) BMC Racing, at 9 secs
3. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky, at 11 secs
4. Jonathan Castroviejo (Esp) Team Sky, at 14 secs
5. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky, at 20 secs
6. Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb, at 36 secs
7. David de la Cruz (Esp) Team Sky, at 37 secs
8. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors, at 42 secs
9. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo, at 43 secs
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing, at 43 secs
General classification after stage four
1. Primož Roglič (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo, in 13-41-26
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors, at 34 secs
3. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo, at 1-33
4. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 1-36
5. Gorka Izagirre (Esp) Bahrain-Merida, at 1-42
6. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 1-48
7. Mikel Landa (Esp) Movistar, at 1-51
8. Pello Bilbao (Esp) Astana, at 1-57
9. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, at 2-08
10. Ion Izagirre (Esp) Bahrain-Merida, at 2-11