Roglic overcomes crash to keep Spanish Vuelta lead
TOLEDO, Spain -- Primoz Roglic needed to change bikes after a crash but recovered to finish safely in the peloton on Friday, keeping his lead entering the final competitive stage of the Spanish Vuelta.
The day was marked by an attack from team Movistar after Roglic’s crash, a move that drew criticism from other riders.
Remi Cavagna made a strong solo charge to win the 19th stage in Toledo, a mostly flat ride of 165.2 kilometers (102.6 miles). The French rider from team Deceuninck-Quick Step broke away with about 25 kilometers to go and finished five seconds ahead of the pack for his first Grand Tour stage victory.
“I suffered a lot at the end of the race,” the 24-year-old Cavagna said. “The last 25 kilometers were terrible. It was pretty much headwind. I wanted to go faster but I couldn’t. I was afraid they would come back and in the end it worked out.”
Roglic was caught in the crash following a fast turn with about 65 kilometers to go and had to push hard to make his way back to the peloton.
“I was a little unlucky with the crash but I’m still here,” said Roglic, a former ski jumper from Slovenia. “I don’t really know what happened. I didn’t see it. I just tried to come back to the front, full gas. We went as fast as possible to get a new bike and return to the bunch. It could be better, but it could also be a lot worse. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. We’re one day closer.”
Several of Roglic’s Jumbo-Visma teammates also were involved in the crash, with Tony Martin having to retire. Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez of Astana Pro Team was also involved and continued with minor injuries.
It took about 15 kilometers before Roglic and Lopez could rejoin the main group.
Alejandro Valverde and his Movistar teammates were criticized after launching an attack following the incident but eventually reduced the pace on orders from race officials, allowing the rest of the riders involved in the crash to rejoin.
“It is a lack of respect for the red jersey,” Lopez said. “Some 20 riders or more fell. They are always the ones who take advantage in these moments. It’s not the first time it has happened. We have seen it before.”
Movistar criticized race officials for telling the team to slow down.
“This happened to us before and nobody said anything,” team director Jose Luis Arrieta told Spanish media. "(The officials) are deciding who wins the races.”
Roglic will take a lead of nearly three minutes over Valverde into Saturday’s decisive 20th stage, a 190.4-kilometer (118.3-mile) ride with five mountain passes, including a Category 1 climb in Puerto de Pena Negra. Nairo Quintana, Valverde’s teammate, was more than three minutes behind Roglic in third place, followed by Lopez.
The three-week race ends Sunday in Madrid.