The Vuelta’s sole individual time trial brought a battle of the ages. A battle between three Spanish cycling heroes – although two of the three are Colombian – who soar high in the mountains and a Slovenian time trial overlord who seeks to reign supreme in Spain’s singular grand tour.
At the end of this 36.2 kilometer course that ended in Pau, it was the Slovenian Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) who scorched the competition – Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana), Movistar duo Nairo Quintana, and Alejandro Valverde – to win the stage as well as catapult into the overall lead with a healthy margin.
It was a short stage (less than 100km); it was a tough stage (5 categorised climbs … no flat ground from start to finish); it was stormy day (torrential rain, hail, thunder and lightening greeted the riders as they came into the final 10km); yet it was a fairytale ending for the Slovenian rider, Tadej Pogacar, who took his first ever grand tour stage in his first ever grand tour. And as has been the norm for this Giro, the red jersey changed shoulders again, this time from Miguel Angel Lopez to Nairo Quintana in a tussle to the top of Cortals d’Encamp.
After a full-on, salty-startin’, race-shakin’ Stage One team time trial, the second stage of Vuelta 2019 kept it siesta-inducing until a VERY spicy finale. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) won the stage by 5 seconds and Nicolas Roche of Sunweb rode into red as the GC received the kind of shake up normally reserved for a monster mountain stage.