SUANCES, Spain (Reuters) - Primoz Roglic produced a brilliant finish to claim an unlikely victory on stage 10 at the Vuelta a Espana on Friday and move back into the race leader's jersey.
The 185km flat route from Castro Urdiales to Suances had been earmarked as one for the sprinters. However, the Slovenian showed fantastic timing to launch away from the main group inside the final 100 metres of the uphill finish in Cantabria on Spain's northern coast.
“I’m super happy. It’s never easy but I had the legs and this is really, really nice," he said.
"I’m one year older (after turning 31 on Thursday) but I’m stronger - like wine, the older the better.
"I’m back in red but that doesn't really change things for my team. We need to keep the momentum going. We have a weekend in the mountains. It will be fun to watch and we’ll do our best.”
Ireland's Sam Bennett, one of the pre-stage favourites who was relegated to the final position in the bunch for barging into another rider in the closing stages of yesterday's ride having initially won the sprint, was dropped with 27km to go. [nL1N2HK2N2]
From then on the teams fought to protect their general classification contenders and it was a strategy that worked perfectly for Roglic and his Jumbo-Visma team mates.
Roglic's strong finish meant he pulled away from a group containing red jersey wearer Richard Carapaz, whom he started the day 13 seconds behind.
There was some confusion at the line as Ecuador's Carapaz was initially awarded the same finish time as the 2019 Vuelta winner before race judges later deemed he had actually finished in the following group, three seconds down.
Roglic's 10-second stage win bonus moved him back into the race lead, level on time with the Ineos rider but ahead thanks to his three stage victories so far.
The race returns to the mountains on Saturday, with a punishing 170km stage that takes in five categorised climbs - four of which are first category - from Villaviciosa, finishing at the summit of the Alto de la Farrapona.
(Reporting by Joseph Cassinelli; Editing by Christian Radnedge and Ken Ferris)