Vuelta a Espana 2021 : Stage 17 – Bernal and Roglic put on a show, Roglic takes red

Stage 17 was the first of a pair of HC summit finishes in this final week of Vuelta 2021 and it absolutely was *not* a day the break was going to take the stage. Except that, as usual, the Vuelta turned the tables on us. Because someone from a break *did* win the stage and even went into the red jersey. Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) attacked out of the GC group on the ascent of the penultimate climb, with only Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) for company about 60km from the finish, and rode off in seek of glory. But no matter how much it rained (and it poured), how much Bernal tested Roglic on the long, treacherous descent (and he did and it was), or how much he must have been willing himself to stay in front of the Slovenian powerhouse, when the elastic snapped about 8km from the summit of the Covadonga, it was Bernal on the wrong end.

Dynamic duo

The racing was fast and furious from the get-go, until a large group went off the front. But that was doomed, even though Michael Storer (DSM) was able to crest the first of two times up the Collada Llomena from that group and Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious) put in a little bit of a dig. But then Jumbo-Visma went on the front of the GC group and rode like they meant it. By the second ascension of Collada Llomena, the break was assimilated and it looked like Jumbo would control it until the last climb.

But ah, Ineos Grenadiers had a different plan. They got on the front and then …

The only rider who followed him – from the sounds of it, by instinct – was Roglic.

By this time it was pouring with rain. Roglic followed Bernal over the top of the mountain and down the treacherous descent, not making any crazy moves.

Bernal and Roglic worked together to keep their advantage as they rode the valley floor. Once on Covadonga, they were still together until Roglic just put that bit more power down and Bernal lost the wheel.

Roglic then rode the rest of the 8km on his own and roared with fierce joy as he crossed the line. Bernal got caught by the chasing group of Miguel Angel Lopez, Enric Mas (both Movistar), Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) and Ineos teammate Adam Yates. Kuss took second on the stage, followed by Lopez and Yates.

Here are the highlights …


For some reason, I can’t find a video of Bernal’s post-stage interview, which was really rather beautiful. Keep an eye out for it in your timeline. Hopefully you’ll get to see it.

A funny, honest, pure Primoz interview. “I just tried to ride up the climb as fast as possible. At that point, Egan didn’t follow anymore so I went on alone.”

Primoz Roglic is now 2.22 ahead of Enric Mas, who sits in second place. Of course, we still have another HC stage tomorrow with a monster wall at the end and anything could happen. But Roglic has given himself a buffer.

All hail Bernal

The stage might belong to Roglic, but the day belonged to Bernal. He did what we’ve all been desperate for a GC rider to do – he took the race by the scruff of the neck and tried to bend it to his will. That he didn’t succeed in the end doesn’t matter. He made the race exciting and unexpected. Thank you, Egan.

The only rider who could possibly have won the combativity prize today.

Egan Bernal is in 6th position, moving up one, and 4.29 off the top spot, which is actually only a few seconds more than this morning. But being over 4min down from Eiking is one thing, being 4min down from Roglic is quite another.

Proud of the fight for red

I really love it when a rider who never expected it finds themselves in the leader’s jersey. And the way they grow in confidence with each day – this has happened with Odd Christian Eiking. Today wasn’t kind to him – he got shelled out the back, yo-yo’ed back on, then had a nasty crash on the descent, ending the day in 11th place, 7.59 off the top spot. But he wore the red with honour – and it will be an experience he’ll carry with him in every race from now on.

Oh Guillaume

It wasn’t Guillaume Martin‘s day either. Euan’s dream of a Cofidis rider on the final podium won’t be coming true this Vuelta. But it was a hell of an effort today, considering his crash the other day.

Translation: That Guillaume Martin finishes less than 5 minutes from Roglic, after the news he had given on his state of health, it’s still a hell of a performance. Well supported by Rémy Rochas, revelation of this race on the French side.

The Last Word

All the results

Stage results 

1 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 4:34:45

2 Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) +1:35

3 Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar) same time

4 Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) s/t

5 Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) s/t

GC Top 10 

1 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 68:42:56

2 Enric Mas (Movistar Team) +2:22

3 Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar Team) +3:11

4 Jack Haig (Bahrain-Victorious) +3:46

5 Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) +4:16

6 Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) +4:29

7 Adam Yates (INEOS Grenadiers) +4:45

8 Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) +5:04

9 Felix Grossschartner (BORA-hansgrohe) +6:54

10 Gino Mader (Bahrain Victorious) +6:58

All the jerseys

Leader’s jersey : Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma)

Points jersey : Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick Step)

King of the Mountains: Romain Bardet (Team DSM)

Best young rider : Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers)

Team : Bahrain Victorious

For full race results, go to CyclingNews

Official Vuelta website is here 

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