Primoz Roglic got off to the perfect start in his bid to claim the Vuelta a España for a third consecutive year by winning the individual time trial in Saturday’s opening stage in Burgos.
Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) arrived in Spain in top form after winning the gold medal in the Olympic time trial in Tokyo and set off last, aiming to topple the early frontrunner Alex Aranburu (Astana–PremierTech).
The reigning Vuelta champion finished the 7.1km course in 8:32, beating Aranburu by six seconds to take the red jersey and a healthy early lead in the general classification.
The Jumbo-Visma star was a further two seconds clear of Jan Tratnik (Bahrain-Victorious), who finished third, with Tom Scully (EF Education-Nippo) and Josef Cerny (Deceuninck-QuickStep) fourth and fifth respectively.
The Slovenian has a lead of 27 seconds over Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers), the 2019 Tour de France winner, who is seen as Roglic’s main rival for this year’s Vuelta title and came 46th on the day. Bernal’s teammate Adam Yates fared better, finishing 20sec down on Roglic and taking 16th place. Richard Carapaz, the 2019 Giro d’Italia champion and winner of the men’s Olympic road race, trails Roglic by 25 seconds after coming 35th.
The Frenchman Romain Bardet (Team DSM) finished a very creditable 14th, 17 seconds down, after a surprisingly good time trial performance. Jack Haig, of Bahrain-Victorious, who crashed out of the Tour de France having targeted the general classification there, finished 20th on the stage, 21 seconds behind Roglic.
“I am very happy to have achieved this result today,” Roglic was quoted on Jumbo-Visma’s team website. “Although the time trial was only seven kilometres, it was still very tough. I rode full speed from start to finish. Fortunately, it was enough. I don’t know exactly where I made the difference. We had to go straight up and then get through the corners well.
“We’ll see if I can keep the red jersey for three weeks.” Roglic added. “It’s a great start to this race. Hopefully we can enjoy this with the team in the coming days.”
Sunday’s stage two is a flat 166.7 km route from Caleruega to Burgos and should finish in a sprint.
Fabio Jakobsen, of Deceuninck-QuickStep, who is riding his first grand tour having recovered from his shocking high-speed crash at the Tour of Poland last year, Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ), Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) and Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) are all expected to feature in a bunch sprint.
Fabio Jakobsen won his first Grand Tour stage since suffering serious injuries in a crash last year with a bunch sprint victory at the Vuelta a Espana.
The Dutchman, 24, held off Arnaud Demare and Magnus Cort to claim an emotional win on stage four in Molina de Aragon.
Jakobsen sustained severe head injuries at the 2020 Tour of Poland in a crash with Jumbo-Visma's Dylan Groenewegen.
"It's a dream come true for me," said Deceuninck-Quick-Step rider Jakobsen.
"After the crash it was a long way back, but I'm happy to be here. It took a lot of time and effort.
"I was helped by a lot of other people and this is also their victory. The doctors, surgeons, and medical staff, the team, this is also their victory.
"This is also my family's victory. They're the reason I'm here."
Jakobsen was put in a medically-induced coma after the crash and underwent several months of facial reconstruction surgery.
He returned to racing in April and claimed his first win since the horrific incident on stage two of the Tour de Wallonie in July, also winning the fifth stage of that race.
Jakobsen won two stages of the Vuelta in 2019.
His win on stage four of this year's edition also saw him claim the green points jersey.
Overall race leader Rein Taaramae crashed late on but remains at the top of the general classification standings because his fall happened in the last 3km of the stage.
The Estonian leads France's Kenny Elissonde by 25 seconds, with Olympic time trial champion Primoz Roglic of Slovenia five seconds further back.
The 2021 Vuelta runs until 5 September.
General classification after stage four 1. Rein Taaramae (Est/Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert-Materiaux) 13hrs 08mins 51secs 2. Kenny Elissonde (Fra/Trek-Segafredo) +25secs 3. Primoz Roglic (Slo/Jumbo-Visma) +30secs 4. Lilian Calmejane (Fra/AG2R Citroen) +35secs 5. Enric Mas (Spa/Movistar) +45secs 6. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col/Movistar) +51secs 7. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) +57secs 8. Giulio Ciccone (Ita/Trek-Segafredo) Same time 9. Egan Bernal (Col/Ineos Grenadiers) 10. Mikel Landa (Spa/Bahrain-Victorious) +1min 09secs
Fabio Jakobsen won his first Grand Tour stage since suffering serious injuries in a crash last year with a bunch sprint victory at the Vuelta a Espana.The Dutchman, 24, held off Arnaud Demare and Magnus Cort to claim an emotional win on stage four in
Good to see Bernal making a proper attempt going from 60k . Far too many mountain stages are 2 km sprints.....and the number of so called climbers who do little more than attack form 500 meters to get the sponsor on tele is pathetic .
Good to see Bernal making a proper attempt going from 60k .Far too many mountain stages are 2 km sprints.....and the number of so called climbers who do little more than attack form 500 meters to get the sponsor on tele is pathetic .
yes it was like a throwback seeing two of the favorites attack from what must have been 50km out. fear of losing seems to dominate the psychology of many climbers these days. You would hope that Angel or Mas would attack Roglic today but you suspect they will settle for protecting their GC podium places
yes it was like a throwback seeing two of the favorites attack from what must have been 50km out. fear of losing seems to dominate the psychology of many climbers these days. You would hope that Angel or Mas would attack Roglic today but you suspect