Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) won stage 17 of the Vuelta a Espana, and cemented his position as overall race leader with a fine solo finish. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) was 2nd and Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar) finished 3rd.
Stage 17 of the Vuelta a Espana finished at the summit of the famous Lagos de Covadonga but riders had to first complete two ascents of the category 1 Collada Lomena during the 185km stage, before starting the final 12.5km final climb.
Once again Team Qhubeka NextHash were looking to go on the offensive, in the hope the breakaway could decide the stage. From the gun, Dylan Sunderland and Bert-Jan Lindeman both jumped into strong breaks, but on both occasions the peloton chased them down.
The speed was extremely highas the battle for the break raged on for over 80km. Eventually 23 riders managed to get away and Team Qhubeka NextHash had Sergio Henao, Fabio Aru and Dimitri Claeys in the move.
Having three riders in the move was a great scenario for us, but unfortunately Team Ineos and Team Jumbo-Visma were not happy to let the big break run free. They set a hard tempo in the peloton, keeping the gap under 1’30”.
The leading group was eventually caught just before the penultimate climb as the rain also began to fall. This made things quite tricky, particularly the last descent on the way to Covadonga. A number of riders went down in the slippery conditions, including our Sergio Henao and Sander Armee.
Henao was able to pick himself up and carry on to the finish but unfortunately Armee was not able to continue as scans later revealed our Belgian had fractured his left collarbone in the fall.
Egan Bernal and Primoz Roglic began the final climb with a lead of just over 1-minute, after attacking the GC contenders with 60km to go. Roglic then went solo in the final 6km to claim a fine stage win and also the overall race lead.
After losing Reinardt Janse van Rensburg earlier in the race and today Sander Armee, Team Qhubeka NextHash are now down to 6 riders with 4 stages remaining.