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Roglic back in the thick of Vuelta a Espana action after first stage defeat

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Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) made up some time on stage 2

Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) made up some time on stage 2
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma)

Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Less than 24 hours after their near-disastrous start to the Vuelta a Espana, Jumbo-Visma bounced back on stage 2 as Primoz Roglic powered into the winning breakaway of the day.

Roglic's injuries on his left side proved no obstacle to taking third on the stage behind Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Nicolas Roche (Team Sunweb), recapturing 36 seconds - including a time bonus for third - on many of his rivals, and moving up 93 spots on the overall standings to sixth.

The downside for Jumbo-Visma was with their Tour de France podium finisher Steven Kruijswijk, who lost 1:43 on the stage on top of the 40 seconds lost because of Saturday night's crash in the TTT.

Kruijswijk now trails race leader Roche by 2:19, and according to team sources, is suffering from his injuries on stage 1.

Roglic did not talk to media at the finish, despite his successful day, leaving it to the team directors to explain how they valued his strong bounceback from Saturday's crash.

"It didn't work out perfectly for us, because Steven is in a lot of pain from what happened yesterday [Saturday]," sports director Grischa Niermann told Cyclingnews. "He didn't have the best legs so he lost some time."

"But Primoz fought back in a great way. We said we had 20 stages to fight back and I think we've started today. Also, we were on top of the game pretty much, the boys did a great job, and it's certainly not over for Stevie, either."

Niermann said he knew that the stage would be hard, but not that it would break up so much as it eventually did in the final. However, he played down the idea that the six riders who finished ahead of the pack in Calpe would be the only six riders battling for GC all the way to Madrid.

"No. I don't think so. For sure other riders count, for example [Miguel Angel] Lopez is still ahead of Primoz in the overall.

"But we've also seen that [Nairo] Quintana (Movistar) is in good shape, [Rigoberto] Uran (EF) and [Fabio] Aru (UAE) as well, [Mikel] Nieve (Movistar] and Roche did a great job today too."

"I hope though, that the Vuelta comes from this front group, but if something like this happens on a stage which people expected to end in a bunch sprint, we're going to get a lot of fireworks in the mountains for sure."

Speaking at the start of stage 2, Jumbo-Visma sports director Addy Engels provided further details to how the first stage crash had happened - with a children's burst swimming pool apparently responsible for the pool of water that caused the crashes for Jumbo and UAE.

In a kind of cycling equivalent of the Chaos Theory that a butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon can cause a storm in Europe, the water from the pool spilled over the road at exactly the wrong moment.

"The organisers told me yesterday [Saturday] evening it was a child's swimming pool, which had burst. But in the end - where the water is coming from for me it's not [relevant]," Engels said shrugged "whether it's someone gardening or washing his car or a swimming pool. I understand there are things you can't control.

"But the announcement on Radio Tour came late. UAE also crashed for the same reason and that was eight minutes before us. The warning only came after our crash. That for me is not so good."

Jumbo-Visma were fined 1000 Swiss Francs by commissaires after their car then stopped further down the course, unintentionally blocking the route for Deceunink-QuickStep and almost certainly preventing the Belgian team from taking the win.

"What happened was [Jumbo-Visma rider] Sepp Kuss was dropped very early on and the third team car was behind him," Engels explained.

"Going into that corner, he flatted and he stops and the car behind him stops. I understand it was a really shit situation for Deceunink who were coming behind."

Engels said there had been a discussion with the Belgian team afterwards, but did not reveal what the conversation had been.

"It was a really unlucky place for the car to be, but also circumstances, we couldn't go to the left of the road because that's also not allowed, and also to pass him [Kuss] and go through the corner was not possible, it was too long a corner."

"Also, Sepp was only 20 seconds inside the time cut, so there was no time for the car to go on the side of the road, let the Deceuninck team pass and then do a bike change."

"So in the end, I feel really sorry for them, but it's also something that unfortunately happens."

Back at the end of stage 2, the team's mood had swung back towards being more positive after Roglic's excellent performance, even if the concerns about Kruijswijk put a damper on any kind of euphoria.

For Roglic, Niermann said, "it was obvious that he was never going to simply roll over after something like Saturday. We said this morning, it's not that often that a Grand Tour is decided by 40 seconds.

"Therefore, we'd rather have been ahead than caught on the back foot, but we have to take it like it is and we are back in contention."