Roglic in pole position for overall Pais Vasco victory

Slovenian rides into race lead with time trial stage win

With stage 4 time trial victory at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) is in prime position to claim overall victory in two days time. The Slovenian has a 34 second lead over former race leader Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) with Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) almost one minute further in arrears at 1:33.

Second to Alaphilippe on the opening two stages of the race, Roglic was 32nd on stage 3 into Valdegovía but held his second place on GC ahead of the decisive time trial. In the 19.4 kilometre against the clock around Lodosa, the 28-year-old got the better of Paddy Bevin (BMC) by nine seconds to claim his second win of the season.

"It was a quite a hard day time trial, really flat with some wind but in the end, we can be really happy with the result," Roglic said after performing his now customary 'ski-jump landing' celebration on the podium.

"I knew that all eyes were on me as a pursuer in the gc and as time trial specialist. That provided extra pressure. It was a flat time trial, but there was a lot of wind. At the finish I saw that I had the fastest time, which made me very happy of course."

Roglic enjoyed a successful 2017 season with overall Volta ao Algarve victory, fourth at Tirreno-Adriatico, a stage and fifth at Vuelta al Pais Vasco, another stage and third at Tour de Romandie, second overall at Ster ZLM, and then a maiden stage win at the Tour de France. Roglic finished off the season with his first Worlds medal in the time trial.

In 2018, Roglic started his season with sixth in Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana before winning a stage at Tirreno-Adriatico. He has continued his winning habits at Pais Vasco and is now on the cusp of winning his first one-week WorldTour stage race.

"It is obviously not my problem to worry about these gaps. I just have to do my job," he said of the time needed by his rivals to take yellow off his shoulders. "Every day is hard so I don't expect any easy days."

The race though is far from over with two challenging stages to come and several teams yet to achieve their objectives for the race. However, Roglic is "really looking forward to the last stages" and the challenge of defending his race lead.

Stage 5 of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco is 164.7 kilometres from Vitoria to Eibar, where Roglic won the TT last year at the race, with the final stage of the race to finish with a climb to Arrate. 

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