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Primoz Roglic has lost his leader’s jersey to Brandon McNulty in the Tour of the Basque Country. After a tactical final, the Team Jumbo-Visma leader crossed the line in a second group of favourites. Jonas Vingegaard rode strongly and finished fourth.
After more than two hours of racing, a group of four escapees emerged. Before the final climb had even started, the attackers were caught again. A group with dangerous riders for the general classification then broke away, but was caught by Vingegaard on the climb.
The Dane himself was in a breakaway group of six a little later and had the opportunity to take a shot at the stage win. Meanwhile, Roglic was assisted by Antwan Tolhoek. At the front Vingegaard was not able to sprint for a podium place. Ion Izagirre won the stage and Roglic’s group crossed the line fifty seconds later. He lost the lead to McNulty, who finished third just ahead of Vingegaard. The Slovenian rider is now 23 seconds behind in the general classification with two stages to go.
"If we assess our efforts now, I think we are just on the wrong side of the line today."
Roglic was somewhat disappointed after the stage. “It was a tough day with another difficult climb. There was hard racing and it took a long time before there was a breakaway. We hoped at the end that we could win the stage with Jonas. He rode very well today. If we assess our efforts now, I think we are just on the wrong side of the line today. Here in the Basque Country every day is a classification day. It will be the same in the next two days. There are still chances.
"We will now do everything we can in the next two days to get the leaders jersey back."
Sports director Frans Maassen expressed hope for the coming days. “It was a bit of a gamble for us in the last stage. With Jonas we had the chance to win the stage. We had to fight for a long time to get a good race situation. On the climb Jonas did a great job and closed in on McNulty. He didn’t have to do too much in the front group, so we were hoping to win the stage. It’s no big deal that we lost the leader’s jersey. We will now do everything we can in the next two days to get it back.”