Another day at the Vuelta a España meant another gain for overall leader Primož Roglič, who took bonus seconds on stage 2 in Lekunberri to add four seconds to his advantage at the top of the standings.
For his Jumbo-Visma team, though, it was a slightly different story as rivals Movistar took charge of the race on the category 1 climb of the Alto de San Miguel de Aralar, launching Marc Soler to victory on the 17-kilometre descent to the finish.
Tom Dumoulin, Roglič's co-leader going into the race, lost contact on the early slopes of the climb, dropping away seven kilometres from the top as Movistar set the pace on the eight per cent average climb.
After the stage he was downbeat about how his race is already turning out, saying that a packed schedule after the season restart has left him "empty", this stage being his 32nd day of racing since the Critérium du Dauphiné.
"I'm just empty. No energy," he said after the finish. "There's not much in my legs at the moment. I must start thinking about how to proceed. It seems that I am now experiencing the result of the busy schedule of the past few months."
Dumoulin, who now lies 28th overall after finishing 8:20 down on the stage, did add that he's still hoping to help his team – even if his own chances of GC contention are over.
"If there's anything else I can do, I can be very valuable to the team," he said.
Meanwhile, Roglič finished in the lead group behind Soler along with teammates Sepp Kuss and George Bennett. The trio were among 10 general classification men to split away from the rest on the climb, along with three Movistar men including Alejandro Valverde and Enric Mas.
Carapaz, Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation), Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) and Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) also finished in the front group, the GC favourites already emerging so early on.
"A nice result," Roglič said after the finish. "It was again a hard day because of the wind and the hard day at the end. Our team again did a good job controlling the whole day and keeping me in the right position.
"On the climb it was a really hard pace, and, in the end, Soler went away, and he deserved to win. So far, so good. At the end, Marc was just better, and he deserved this win."
Earlier on the stage, on the flat run-in to the climb from Arbizu, Carapaz had tried to steal a march on his rival, jumping away with Ineos teammate Andrey Amador. That didn't work out, though a move in the final metres of the climb saw him lead over the top, taking the polka dot jersey and briefly distancing Soler, Mas, Carthy and Chaves.
The 27-year-old already looks the main threat to Roglič's hopes of retaining his title in Madrid. He was duly asked about Carapaz after the stage but remained cautious.
"We will see," he said. "It's just day two of the Vuelta and already some real racing, fun to watch. It's still a long way but for the moment he showed that he's well-prepared and really on a high level as well as the whole Movistar team. It will be exciting racing in the next days."
Daniel joined Cyclingnews as staff writer in August 2019 after working as a freelance journalist for seven years, including time spent working for Cyclingnews and sister magazine, Procycling.
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