LAGOS DE COVADONGA, Spain – Two-time defending champion Primoz Roglic regained the overall lead in the Spanish Vuelta on Wednesday with a dominant performance during the mountainous 17th stage.
The 31-year-old Slovenian pulled away from Egan Bernal with 7.5 kilometers (4.6 miles) to go and finished alone up the iconic climb into Lagos de Covadonga for his third stage win, pumping his left fist as he crossed the line.
With four stages remaining, Roglic leads the Movistar team pair of Enric Mas by 2 minutes, 22 seconds and Miguel Angel Lopez by more than 3 minutes.
Roglic’s Jumbo-Visma teammate, Sepp Kuss of the United States, finished the stage in second place just ahead of Lopez in a pack that was 1:35 behind the winner.
Norwegian rider Odd Christian Eiking had kept the leader’s red jersey for a week but had a difficult day that included a crash. He dropped nearly 8 minutes off the lead.
Roglic had joined Bernal when the Colombian rider attacked with 61 kilometers (40 miles) to go, and the pair opened a gap over other contenders before Roglic dropped Bernal.
The 185-kilometer (115-mile) stage saw riders complete two loops around a circuit that included an unprecedented climb at Collada Llomena before the difficult Lagos de Covadonga summit.
On Tuesday, Eiking had warned that the Lagos de Covadonga stage would be “very decisive” – and it was.