The day Primoz Roglic lost the red jersey for a second time – and hit the deck on the final descent – could, oddly enough, prove to be the day the Slovenian effectively secured his third consecutive victory in la Vuelta.
With Australia’s Michael Storer (Team DSM) on his way to a superb second stage win of this Vuelta, Roglic attacked from the peloton to leave his GC rivals scrambling in his wake. If the Jumbo-Visma rider had wilfully conceded the red jersey – having let a large 31-man breakaway go 12 minutes up the road – he seemed determined to assert his authority on the race by extending his lead over his rivals.
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Roglic went over the summit of the Puerto de Almachar with 20 seconds on a chase group containing Movistar duo Enric Mas and Miguel Angel Lopez, and the Australian Jack Haig of Bahrain Victorious – his three closest opponents in the general classification.
But the Slovenian took too big a risk on a tight corner on the descent and lost his back wheel in the dust before skidding off the road – the defending champion brought down to earth with a bang after what appeared to be a huge statement of intent.

‘The hunt for seconds is dangerous!’ – Roglic crashes trying to put time into rivals

Roglic got back on his bike and finished in a select group alongside Mas, Lopez and Haig, the Slovenian even successfully putting 37 seconds into the Ineos Grenadiers duo of Egan Bernal and Adam Yates, both of whom distanced after his initial attack. He also managed to shrug off what could have been a disaster with the words, “Why not? No risk, no glory,” to reporters after the 189km stage from Roquetas de Mar to Rincon de la Victoria.
Victory went to the 24-year-old Australian Storer, just four days after his maiden Grand Tour win at Balcon de Alicante. Storer rode clear of the day’s breakaway on the second half of the deciding climb before holding off a chase group of Mauri Vansevenant (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Clement Champoussin (AG2R-Citroen), Dylan van Baarle (Ineos Grenadiers) and Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert’s Eiking, the new race leader.
Trailing Roglic by 9:10 after Monday’s rest day, Eiking is now 58 seconds clear at the top of the standings after coming out on top in an unexpected GC tussle with the Frenchman Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) during the largely flat schlep along the Costa Tropical in the south of Spain.
Martin faded to 12th place but rises to second in the new-look top 10 which has Roglic dropping to third place at 2:17 but still 28-seconds clear of Mas, with Colombia’s Lopez competing the top five ahead of Haig. After another troubled day for Ineos Grenadiers, seventh-place Bernal, the white jersey and reigning Giro d’Italia champion, fell to 2:29 behind Roglic, while Briton Yates is now 2:44 in arrears in ninth.

Highlights: Roglic loses red on hectic Stage 10 finish as Storer doubles up

A solid ride from Sepp Kuss saw him finish in the same group as his Jumbo-Visma teammate Roglic, the American retaining his eighth place but moving above Yates and the Italian Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo).
Strong tailwinds proved an obstacle to numerous would-be escapees as move after move was thwarted in a fast opening hour of the race that saw the peloton cover 49.3km. With around 120km remaining, the peloton momentarily split – with the green jersey Fabio Jacobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) caught out as a large group of 31 riders finally went clear.
With no genuine threats in the move, Roglic consulted with his Jumbo-Visma directeur sportif before calling his teammates down from the chase – a decision which saw the gap balloon to over 12 minutes before the first, and only, categorised climb of the day.
A quartet hit the Cat.2 Puerto de Almachar with a slender lead after Italy’s Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates) had caused an initial shake-out following the intermediate sprint at Torre del Mar. Soon it was Trentin’s Portuguese teammate Rui Oliveira who was off the front as the breakaway started to split up into different groups.
Fresh from his solo victory in Stage 7, Storer made his move a few kilometres from the summit, which he crested ahead of a chase group that included AG2R-Citroen duo Geoffrey Bouchard and Champoussin, Vansevenant, Van Baarle, Nick Schultz (Team BikeExchange), Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo) and the two men vying for the virtual red jersey, Eiking and Martin.
Team DSM’s Storer extended his lead on the descent before knocking it off once he realised, with a huge grin all along the home straight, that a second Vuelta stage win was in the bag.

‘The boy from Perth is going to do it again!’ - Storer doubles up on Stage 10 as Eiking takes red

But the real drama was happening behind after Roglic looked to turn the screws on his rivals despite being in line to lose the red jersey. His huge acceleration on the climb blew the pack apart with Mas, Lopez and Haig doing their best to lead the chase with Bernal, until the Colombian himself started going backwards in the direction of his teammate Yates.
Roglic continued pressing his advantage going over the summit taking what seemed to be unnecessary risks on the descent – only to skid out on a tight right-hand bend after losing his back wheel. He recovered but was soon swept up by the Mas chase group, where he became a passenger until his teammate Kuss came with the cavalry.
A good day became a bad day for the defending champion – but it could have been far worse, especially in the light of Alejandro Valverde’s withdrawal last week after a not dissimilar fall. The 31-year-old even extended his lead on the freefalling Ineos duo of Bernal and Yates. Time will tell, however, whether that crash has any lasting impact on his quest to become only the third rider in history to win three consecutive Vuelta titles.
The race continues on Wednesday with the hilly Stage 11 from Antequera to Valdepenas de Jaen – potential ambush territory with numerous uncategorised climbs along a short 133km route that concludes with a Cat.2 test ahead of a closing ramp hitting 20 per cent.
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