ORENSE, Spain (AP) — Tim Wellens won his second Spanish Vuelta stage on Wednesday, with defending champion Primoz Roglic keeping his overall lead over Richard Carapaz.
Wellens, who had also won the fifth leg, sprinted to victory ahead of Michael Woods and Zdenek Stybar in an unusually fast 14th stage that took riders 204 kilometres (126 miles) through hilly Galician terrain.
Wellens, the Belgian rider of team Lotto Soudal, dominated on the uphill finish after staying in the breakaway group for most of the stage.
“It was not easy to win. There was a big fight to get in the breakaway and then all my companions were really strong riders,” Wellens said. “I knew I had to be in the front position in the last corner. I felt Woods coming but the finish line was there and I crossed it first. I knew today suited me very well. Everything was perfect.”
The overall leaders finished together in the peloton, crossing the line almost four minutes behind Wellens. Slovenian rider Roglic maintained a 39-second lead over Carapaz entering the final stages of the three-week race. Hugh Carthy stayed third, 47 seconds off the pace.
“It was quite a fast and hard stage all the way to the finish line,” Roglic said. “It was again a good day for us.”
Thursday’s 15th stage will be the longest of the Vuelta this year, taking riders 230 kilometers (142 miles) through a winding terrain that will favor escapes at the front.
The Vuelta is being held amid tight health restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic. It will finish on Sunday in Madrid.
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