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Primoz Roglic secures victory in stage 17 of the Vuelta as Vingegaard narrows the distance to Kuss.

Primoz Roglic won a gruelling mountain stage 17 of Vuelta a España ahead of his teammate Jonas Vingegaard, as their Jumbo-Visma colleague, Sepp Kuss, retained the overall leader’s jersey by eight seconds.

The race spanned 124.5km and began in Ribadesella. It included two challenging climbs and concluded at the peak of Altu de l’Angliru, where Jumbo-Visma showcased their endurance once again.

The pair from Soudal-QuickStep, Remco Evenepoel and Mattia Cattaneo, were part of the initial group that launched attacks, along with Marc Soler from UAE Team Emirates. Evenepoel was able to reach the summit of Alto del Cordal, strengthening his hold on the polka dot climber’s jersey. However, both he and Soler were eventually caught by the peloton during the ascent of l’Angliru.

In the last three kilometers, Roglic made a bold move, but Vingegaard and Kuss were able to keep up with him despite the approaching clouds. Unfortunately, Kuss, who was celebrating his 29th birthday, couldn’t maintain the pace set by Vingegaard and Roglic, who eventually took the victory for the stage.

Sepp Kuss (No 24) keeps pace with his Jumbo-Visma colleagues on the final climb.

Kuss made a powerful push towards the end, resulting in him finishing in third place, 19 seconds behind the leader. He was followed by Mikel Landa and Wout Poels from Bahrain Victorious, but Kuss was able to hold onto the top spot and keep the red jersey.

“I find myself in a position I never imagined, and that’s the beauty of it,” Kuss stated, while maintaining the top spot. “I didn’t have any specific goals in mind. I was simply focused on supporting my teammates as usual, but then I earned this beautiful jersey and all the valuable experiences that come with it.”

Currently, Kuss is leading by eight seconds over Vingegaard, while Roglic trails behind by an additional one minute. Jumbo-Visma is maintaining control over the overall standings. The top-ranked rider from a different team is Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates), who holds fourth place but is four minutes behind Kuss.

On Thursday, Stage 18 will cover a 179km mountain course from Pola de Allande to La Cruz de Linares. Despite the possibility of winning both the Tour and Vuelta, Vingegaard expressed his support for Kuss to win the race.

“The main focus today was securing a win and maintaining our positions in the top three of the GC standings,” stated the Danish cyclist. “Overall, everything went according to plan and I believe we have a lot to be pleased about. I am especially glad that Sepp is still holding onto the leader’s jersey. I am rooting for him to ultimately win this Vuelta.”

Roglic, the winner of this year’s Giro d’Italia, is currently in third place, trailing the lead by one minute and eight seconds. However, he holds a different perspective from Sepp, stating that he acknowledges Sepp’s contributions to their team’s victories and hopes for his success, but ultimately, his focus is on racing and giving his best performance. He believes that ultimately, the best racer will emerge as the winner.

Source: theguardian.com