Roglic wins Vuelta Stage 11 as Eiking holds on to overall lead


VALDEPENAS DE JAEN, Spain — Primoz Roglic prevailed on the steep final climb to earn his second stage victory in this year’s Spanish Vuelta, cutting into the overall lead of Odd Christian Eiking.

Roglic went past Enric Mas in the final meters of the 133.6-kilometer (83-mile) 11th stage in southern Spain. The two-time defending champion also won the first Vuelta stage.

“It was a hard stage, short but super hot again. I was also suffering a lot, but luckily I had enough for the win in the end,” Roglic said. “Enric Mas is also very strong, luckily I had a little more. It’s always nice to win, you never know when the last one will be.”

It was the seventh career stage win at the Vuelta for Roglic, the Slovenian rider from team Jumbo-Visma. He relinquished the leader’s red jersey after crashing near the end of the 10th stage on Tuesday. He is now third, less than two minutes behind Eiking, with the three-week Grand Tour race just past the halfway point.

Guillaume Martin stayed second overall, less than a minute behind Eiking, who finished 10th on Wednesday. Mas remained in fourth place, ahead of Miguel Angel Lopez.

“My biggest opponents for the jersey were at the front. I didn’t want to lose too much time, so I just followed them and it resulted in a top 10, that’s also nice,” Eiking said. “It was really hard, but I’m glad I could keep it, and I hope I can keep it tomorrow, too.”

Magnus Cort Nielsen broke away near the end of the stage and was still leading in the final 500 meters (yards), but he wasn’t able to stay in front after the attack by Roglic. Mas stayed close to Roglic until the end, crossing the line only three seconds behind.

“It was a nice finish with a steep uphill,” Roglic said. “The team did an amazing job, pushing really hard the whole day to keep the breakaway under control.”

Thursday’s 12th stage will take riders on a hilly 175-kilometer (109-mile) route that finishes in Cordoba.

Primoz Roglic triumphs at Tirreno-Adriatico for winning return from injury

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SAN BENEDETTO DEL TRONTO, Italy — Primož Roglič made a winning return to cycling as he triumphed at the week-long Tirreno-Adriatico for a fourth Slovenian victory in five editions at “The Race of the Two Seas.”

It was Roglič’s first race of the season after the Jumbo-Visma rider underwent shoulder surgery last year.

“It’s just nice to come back to racing this way. I really enjoyed the whole week,” Roglič said. “My teammates were super strong.

“One week ago I was just expecting to suffer. It’s even better to win when it’s unexpected. It feels good ahead of the Giro d’Italia too.”

After winning the previous three stages to build up a significant advantage, Roglič protected his lead and finished safely in the peloton during Stage 7 to end the week-long race 18 seconds ahead of João Almeida of Portugal and 23 seconds ahead of British cyclist Tao Geoghegan Hart.

Roglič won the Tirreno in 2019. Fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogačar won the two previous editions but the two-time defending champion was competing at the Paris-Nice race which he won.

Belgian cyclist Jasper Philipsen won a bunch sprint to take the stage win. The Alpecin-Deceuninck rider edged out Dylan Groenewegen and Alberto Dainese.

It was Philipsen’s second sprint victory at this year’s Tirreno, setting him up as one of the favorites for next weekend’s Milan-San Remo race.

“I was dying in the end, my legs felt really painful, but I’m happy that I could keep it to the finish,” Philipsen said.

“The sprint stage is always different from a classic like San Remo but of course we have some confidence. We have a strong team I think. So now it’s good to take some time off, recover a little bit and try to be on top level.”

There was an early breakaway in the 154-kilometer (96-mile) route that started and finished in San Benedetto del Tronto but the eight riders were caught with just over 3 kilometers (2 miles) remaining.

Pogacar tops Gaudu, Vingegaard to win Paris-Nice


NICE, France — An impressive Tadej Pogacar clinched the final stage with a solo escape to win the week-long Paris-Nice.

David Gaudu finished second overall, 53 seconds behind Pogacar, while Jonas Vingegaard was third at 1 minute, 39 seconds back.

Pogacar attacked during the climb of Col d’Eze with 18 kilometers (11.2 miles) to go, finishing the eighth stage 33 seconds ahead of a small group made up of Vingegaard, Gaudu, Simon Yates and Matteo Jorgenson.

The Slovenian rider completed the 118-kilometer trek around Nice in 2 hours, 51 minutes, 2 seconds, crossing the finish line with both arms raised before taking a bow in front of the crowd and clapping his hands.

Pogacar now has a slight mental edge over Vingegaard, also outclassing him last October to win the Tour of Lombardy.

The duel between Pogacar and Vingegaard has become one of the biggest rivalries in cycling. Vingegaard finished second behind Pogacar in the 2021 Tour de France. But the Danish rider managed to beat Pogacar in the 2022 Tour de France for his first major title.

Vingegaard still has time to hit peak form. The Tour de France starts July 1.

Pogacar is the current leader in the UCI men’s road racing world rankings.

Pogacar and Vingegaard both started the season well. Last month in Spain, Pogacar won the Tour of Andalucia while Vingegaard won the O Gran Camino. Pogacar took the yellow jersey by winning the fourth stage. He dumped Vingegaard in the climb of La Loge des Gardes. Only Gaudu could stay on Pogacar’s wheel.

The two-time Tour de France winner extended his overall lead by taking Stage 7, beating Gaudu and Vingegaard in a small sprint atop Col de la Couillole.

French rider Gaudu finished fourth overall in the 2022 Tour de France but failed to finish in the past two editions of Paris-Nice.

The next race on the UCI World Tour is the Milan-San Remo classic on March 18.