Vuelta a Espana 2019
He crushed the 36km course – oddly situated entirely in France, the third time in history this has happened in La Vuelta – to finish first in 47’05”. Patrick Bevan took second in 47’30”, but all eyes were fixed on a weary Quintana as the Colombian came home in 50’11” to wrap up the day’s action.
Roglic leads Alejandro Valverde (also Movistar) by 1’52” in the overall ranking after today, with Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) in third at 2’11”. Quintana sits fourth, 3’00” off the lead.
Quintana, who announced a move to lower-level team Arkea-Samsic on Monday, was expected to lose time, but even by his standards it was a very disappointing showing. At times the TV cameras showed the Colombian sat almost straight upright, clearly uncomfortable in the aerodynamic position on the bike’s TT bars.
Whether he can recover enough time in the mountains remains to be seen. It’s widely thought that the final week of this year’s La Vuelta offers very few options for the pure climbers to take time so if Quintana needs time he must capitalise in the next five days.
The day’s big revelation was Tadej Pogacar (UAE Emirates), who proved he can time trial better than most GC riders, taking a few seconds from both Valverde and Lopez. The youngest rider in the race started incredibly quickly, but perhaps paid for his early efforts as he faded between the first intermediate timing point and the finish.
Speaking afterwards, Roglic put his finger on the knack to time trialling: “Every time trial you try to do as fast possible, and it was the same mission today. I’m happy with the performance for sure. I just tried to go all the time as fast as possible and yeah, it was enough at the end.”
New Zealand national time trial champion Patrick Bevin (CCC Team) finished second on the stage after spending a healthy part of the afternoon in the hot seat. Remi Cavagna (Deceuninck – Quick Step) was third.
Tomorrow the race tackles a hilly route from Saint-Palais into the Basque Country.