Carapaz wins 2nd Vuelta stage, Roglic closes on Evenepoel

SIERRA DE LA PANDERA, Spain (AP) — Richard Carapaz hung on to win the mountainous 14th stage of the Spanish Vuelta on Saturday while Primoz Roglic reduced the gap to Remco Evenepoel after the race leader wilted on the final ascent.

Carapaz, the Olympic gold medalist, won his second stage in three days after forming part of an early breakaway and clinging to his slim lead over the final meters as Roglic and another chaser came on strong.

The Ecuadorian rider for Ineos Grenadiers completed the grueling ride in southern Spain from Montoro to the category-one Sierra de la Pandera summit in just over four hours.

“We knew that today was a very important stage for us, that we could repeat what we did the other day,” said Carapaz, who also won the 12th stage. “The truth is that it took a long time to get away, but in the end I was there at the right time.”

Miguel López Ángel and Roglic were just seconds behind. They chewed up what had been a four-minute gap but Carapaz just had enough.

However, three-time defending champion Roglic’s main goal was accomplished when the Jumbo Visma leader attacked on the final climb and watched as Evenepoel failed to keep pace.

Roglic slashed the gap to Evenepoel from 2 minutes, 41 seconds at the day’s start to 1 minute, 49 seconds with seven stages remaining. Enric Mas was third overall at 2:43 behind.

Evenepoel will wear the red leader’s jersey for an eighth consecutive day, but Roglic was finally able to do some damage to the Belgian and could try to press his momentum on back-to-back mountain stages.

“It wasn’t my best day for sure, I didn’t have the best legs, I couldn’t accelerate when Roglic went,” the leader of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl said. “I’m still 1:50 ahead in the (general classification), so nothing to really panic about. I’ll try to recover as much as possible and survive tomorrow.”

Sunday’s 15th stage takes riders over 153 kilometers (95 miles) to a summit finish at the special-category Alto Hoya de la Mora. The three-week race finishes in Madrid next weekend.

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