Primož Roglič smashed the stage 13 time trial at the Vuelta a España 2020, narrowly taking the stage and securing the overall lead once again.
The tough 33km TT suited the all-rounders as the course was almost entirely flat, before a brutal uphill finish in the final 2km.
CCC Team’s Will Barta was looked to be the strongest rider and had almost secured the victory as the general classification contenders took to the road.
But after a tough battle with Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) on the flats, Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) turned on the gas on the final climb and secured the stage by just one second.
Former race leader Richard Carapaz put in a strong performance to finish seventh on the stage, but he lost the lead after finishing 50 seconds down on Roglič.
How it happened
The stage 13 time trial at the Vuelta a España 2020 had the potential to cause some major time splits, owing to the tough course riders had to take on.
Covering a picturesque 33.7km from Muros to Mirador de Ézaro on Spain’s north-western coast, the stage was split into two clear sectors – the flats and the final climb.
The opening 31km of the stage looked to be completely flat on paper, but in reality the course was more undulating, but it was still a rapid start to the TT with long straight roads and sweeping corners.
Then inside the final 2km, the course turned upward for a savage 1.8km-long final climb, with an average gradient of 14.8 per cent and maximum ramps of 29 per cent, prompting plenty of riders to opt for a bike change at the foot of the climb.
Britain’s Harry Tanfield (Ag2r La Mondiale) was among the strongest of the early riders, with a time of 48-62, but it was Alex Edmondson (Mitchelton-Scott) who sat in the hotseat early in the day with his 48-24 rider.
French TT champion Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) was the next fastest rider to set a strong benchmark, almost a minute faster than Edmondson, but even Cavagna’s time would fall soon enough.
While Nelson Oliveira (Movistar) briefly took the lead, it was a shock ride from US rider Will Barta (CCC Team) that put him into the hot seat with a 46-40, with only the GC contenders left to knock him off the top of the leaderboard.
Hugh Carthy, third place overall before the stage, put in a hugely impressive start to his TT by setting the third fastest time at the 12km timing check, with Roglič two seconds behind slower while race leader Carapaz was another four seconds back.
At the second time check, 24km into the course, Carthy and Roglič were separated by just one second, with the Slovenian slightly faster, while Carapaz was falling out of the race lead, 29 seconds behind Roglic.
Onto the foot of the final climb and Roglič, Carthy and Carapaz all had almost flawless bike changes, setting up a full gas uphill sprint for the line between the front three.
But Roglič found another gear in the closing kilometre of the stage, pulling out the gap to his GC rivals and suddenly putting himself in with a chance at the stage victory, after being a fair way behind Barta at the time checks.
At the finish, Roglič had managed to gain a solitary second to Barta to secure the stage, while also putting time into his podium competition.
Roglič finished with a time of 46-39, while Carthy crossed the line fourth on the stage and lost 25 seconds to Roglič.
Richard Carapaz finished 49 seconds slower than Roglič.
In the GC, Roglič now leads with a 39 second advantage over Carapaz, while Carthy still sits third overall, 47 seconds off the race lead.
Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) lost more time, but still sits fourth overall, now 1-42 down.
Vuelta a Espana 2020, stage 13: Muros to Mirador de Ézaro (33.7km)
1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, in 46-39
2. Will Barta (USA) CCC Team, at 1s
3. Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar, at 10s
4. Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Pro Cycling, at 25s
5. Bruno Armirail (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 41s
6. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, at 46s
7. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers, at 49s
8. Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, at 58s
9. David de la Cruz (Esp) UAE Team Emirates, at 58s
10. Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Sunweb, at 1-07
General classification after stage 13
1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, in 49-16-16
2. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers, at 39s
3. Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Pro Cycling, at 47s
4. Dan Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation, at 1-42
5. Enric Mas (Esp) Movistar, at 3-23
6. Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain-McLaren, at 6-15
7. Felix Großschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 7-14
8. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, at 8-39
9. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana, at 8-48
10. David de la Cruz (Esp) UAE Team Emirates, at 9-23