After a dominant performance on the mountainous stage 17 to take back the red jersey and put even more time into his GC rivals, Primož Roglič's third Vuelta a España red jersey is looking increasingly assured, so much so that even his rivals are giving up hope.
“To be honest, I don't look at Primož Roglič anymore,” Bahrain-Victorious' Jack Haig told Ciclo 21 after stage 17.
Haig is 3-46 behind Roglič in fourth, second-place Enric Mas (Movistar) 2-22 in arrears.
The one big final mountain test on stage 18 seems to be the final chance to upset the current hierarchy, especially as this year's Spanish Grand Tour ends with a time trial, a discipline that Roglič favours, especially compared to the likes of Mas and his team-mate Miguel Ángel López, who currently sits in third overall.
“Roglič already seemed unbeatable and he showed that again today. In addition, he is lucky that the Vuelta ends with a time trial and in that he is much better than his rivals in the general classification," Haig explained, before adding that a podium finish for himself and the team would be a great result.
“This is one of the best performances we have achieved as a team. We managed to get Bernal back. Luckily I didn't lose any time in the standings. So I no longer pay attention to Roglič, but especially the other favorites to keep my position. The podium is still not out of reach.”
As for Enric Mas, all he could do after stage 17 was congratulate Roglič on a superior performance, and appears to be ready to accept second and third overall in his team's home Grand Tour.
“Roglič has proven to be very strong. We can only congratulate him, as it should be," Mas said after the finish.
“We don't have to be very excited about the result today, but we can be happy. We are still [up there] in the standings and we finished today with the other favourites. We are second and third in the general classification and have survived a tough and important day."
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