Vuelta a Espana 2021 : Stage 11 – A stage Roglification; Odd keeps red

It was a short, sharp, hotter-than-hot stage 11 of the 2021 Vuelta a Espana with pretty much all of the action happening in the last 2km. EF’s Magnus Cort valiantly tried to take his second stage as the last of the breakaway had a handful of seconds on the rampaging favourites under the flamme rouge. But the sizzling Roglic/Mas rivalry had so much fire it nearly melted the tarmac. And while Rog might be known as the gentleman of the peloton, on the road he is ruthless – blasting past a spent Cort then getting the best of Mas, crossing the line 3 seconds (and 10 bonus seconds) ahead of his Movistar rival. Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobart) lost some time on Rog but has red for another day.

Roglic the Dreamcrusher

The shortest stage of this year’s Vuelta was not the easiest – these race organisers don’t believe in such nonsense. The 133km stage profile was described as hilly, whereas I would call it a bit snaggle-toothed, finishing with an action-packed Cat 2 climb, a fast and dusty descent (yikes!) and then a WALL on the way to the finish line.

Magnus Cort was part of the original five-man break and in an attempt to repeat his Stage 6 victory, Cort broke away on the penultimate climb of Puerto de Locubín and descending alone, he found himself with 25sec in hand as the wall loomed. But the 30-rider GC chasing group – including Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert for the red jersey and Movistar for a prime-condition Movistarlet Enric Mas and his sidekick Superman Lopez – had decided that pink would not be the colour of the day.

With Jumbo-Visma’s Sepp Kuss leading him up the gruellingly steep climb, Primoz Roglic showed that yesterday’s crash wasn’t going to stop him from attacking again. When that man puts the pedal to the metal, you just have to sit back and watch … unless you’re his rival, then you try to follow.

Mas was able to follow him quite confidently, even passing him, yet strangely took the opportunity at about the 400m mark to have a little chat with Rog. Speculation has it as ‘you nearly put me into the barriers back there’ (luckily Rog hadn’t), ‘I’m not dragging you up this climb, you need to work with me’ (which Rog didn’t) or ‘so have you had a holiday this year?

Yet up ahead by a few feet, Cort was trying to win the bloody stage! Having lost interest in the Mas conversation, Rog turned on the afterburners, swept past Cort, who almost immediately lost the will to go on and was last seen zig-zagging up the remaining 300m, on the tail of the red jersey group. Once Rog gets away on one of those sharp, crazy climbs, it’s hard to get him back. Mas faded, no one else could get close to him and Roglic won his second stage this Vuelta, three seconds ahead of Mas plus the 10sec bonus.

Critical Mas

With Egan Bernal and Adam Yates nearly 5min down and Richard Carapaz half an hour down (!), it doesn’t look like Ineos are going to challenge Roglic. But thank God for Enric Mas, eh? Not that I don’t want Roglic to win – I do, because I love him – but more than that, I want a RACE. A knock-down, drag-out, no-stopping-for-chats fight to the VERY finish. And it certainly looks like Mas is the one to take that fight to Roglic.

Mas’s teammate Miguel Angel Lopez is a minute behind him so hopefully there won’t be any Movistar batshit crazy tactics that neuter the attacks – as entertaining those tactics can be. But they aren’t nearly as entertaining as a proper GC rivalry. So today’s stage has given me high hopes that the mountain stages to come will go back and forth between the two, the stakes and tension getting higher and higher. Oh yeah. Now *that’s* a grand tour rivalry!

Odd keeps red for another day!

Lest we forget about the leader of the race, Odd will be back in red for tomorrow’s stage, which is another hilly stage. Hilly! Typical Vuelta decides a cat 2 is a hill …

The final word

All the results

Stage results 

1 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 3:11:00

2 Enric Mas (Movistar) +0:03

3 Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar) +0:05

4 Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) +0:07

5 Adam Yates (INEOS Grenadiers) same time

GC Top 10 


1 Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) 41:48:57

2 Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) +0:58

3 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +1:56

4 Enric Mas (Movistar Team) +2:31

5 Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar Team) +3:28

6 Jack Haig (Bahrain-Victorious) +3:55

7 Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) +4:46

8 Adam Yates (INEOS Grenadiers) +4:57

9 Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) +5:03

10 Felis Grosschartner (BORA-hansgrohe) +5:38

All the jerseys

Leader’s jersey : Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux)

Points jersey : Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick Step)

King of the Mountains: Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Victorious)

Best young rider : Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers)

Best team : INEOS Grenadiers

For full race results, go to CyclingNews

Official Vuelta website is here 

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