• Roglic and Pogacar lead the way on Los Machucos (Getty)Source: Getty
Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) pushed out his lead in the red jersey on Stage 13 of La Vuelta, dropping everyone except stage-winner Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) with a vicious acceleration on the steep gradients of the final climb of Los Machucos.
By
SBS Cycling Central

7 Sep 2019 - 8:30 AM 

Pogačar was the man who caused the initial splits of grated concrete on the steep hairpins of Los Machucos, with Roglič cooperating with his countryman to build the gap over the chasing riders. 

"No, I didn't," Roglič said when asked if he had anticipated making such gains on his overall rivals atop Los Machucos. "For sure, I expected a fight until the end. It was a hard climb and a good finish for me."

The Movistar pair of Quintana and Valverde limited their losses after Quintana attacked on the early slopes to try and recover the massive amount of time lost during the time trial. 

"We tried, but Roglič is the strongest rider in the race at this point," Quintana said. "I attacked at halfway up because I felt good and because I'm the furthest down on GC.

"It would have been easier to sit on wheels and see what happens, but I preferred to test myself, I didn't want people saying maybe I'd had something left but I hadn't tried.

"Now we've seen how things are shaping out, and we'll have to try other tactics, like long-distance attacks. There are still some crucial stages left, but it won't be easy."

Primoz Roglic post-Stage 13

Valverde now lies second behind Roglič in the overall standings, two minutes and 25 seconds behind the former ski-jumper. Pogačar moves up to third after his second stage win of the Vuelta, three minutes and one second adrift, with Miguel Angel López (Astana) trails by three minutes and 18 seconds and Quintana lies three minutes and 33 seconds off the pace.

"Roglič is the strongest of the race, and Pogačar, too," Valverde said. "Nairo and I have done what we could. We continued at our own pace, but we knew that Roglic would go for it if he saw any signs of weakness."

"Today we've lost time, but another day others can lose time too. Or maybe not."

Meanwhile Roglič is just sitting pretty at the top with stellar current form and the largesse to recognise the youngster who pipped him for the stage win.

"It was just beautiful for Slovenian cycling to have two guys in front. We just both went full gas to the finish," said Roglič. 

"I think he's a really, really big talent. He has a great future ahead of him. He's a rival in GC and he's on the podium. He's still a really good friend of mine, so it's a nice day." 

The general classification contenders will get a day of relative rest on Stage 14 before the race heats up again on the final ascent of Stage 15, the steep slopes of Santuario del Acebo sure to cause further splits among the top riders.