Former Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins has said Egan Bernal deserves plenty of praise for “animating” the 2021 Vuelta a Espana, but defending champion Primoz Roglic is on a different level right now.
Bernal lit up the Vuelta on Stage 17 on Wednesday as he attacked and forced Roglic to come with him, but it was the Slovenian who cracked his opponent and moved back into red.
And speaking on his podcast with Eurosport, The Bradley Wiggins Show, Wiggins said that it was a brilliant finish and was indicative of Roglic’s level right now.
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“Lived up to the hype, amazing finish and an amazing winner,” Wiggins said of the stage.
“Credit to Egan Bernal for taking it on, he went out to win the race today and I thought his post-race interview was quite telling because he said he had been suffering a lot in this race.
“Quite an admittance for someone who’s won the Tour, the Giro, who came here as one of the favourites to win the race.
“But to take it on, on the penultimate climb with Primoz Roglic and give it his all and fade in the final I think that might be the last we see of Bernal in this race.
I think that was it today, that was all he had and I don’t think he’s in the form he was at the Giro. And certainly not in the form to match Primoz Roglic but Roglic was on another level today.
“He’s now got a clear dominant lead in the race and even though he wasn’t in the red jersey this last week we always knew this day would come funnily enough. He’s well on his way to winning his third Vuelta.”
Roglic has looked imperious for the most part during the Vuelta and he has become a dominant force in the race.

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Wiggins’ co-host, Graham Willgoss, pointed out that with their strength in depth Ineos were the only team capable of challenging the Slovenian.
Wiggins said the fact that they went for it shows their mentality and praised Bernal after the Colombian spoke about his own physical struggles in the post-race interview.
“I said on the pre-show that they’d be the only ones who would likely do that because winning is the standard and winning is the norm at that team. Coming here and finishing 6th and 7th on GC wasn’t success for them.
“Bernal has gone out today and tried to win the race but it wasn’t to be for them but you have to give them credit for having a go and really lighting up and animating the race and taking Primoz Roglic with him really. Obviously Roglic proved to be the strongest in the end but if it wasn’t for Bernal Roglic would have had to make those moves on his own.

'That is a gap!' - Roglic cracks Bernal

“I think in his post-race interview he looked quite deflated but he went out and tried to win the race.
He probably overperformed for where he’s at.
“When you know you’ve left it all on the road I don’t think you can be too disappointed and he did that today so credit to him.”
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