A battling ride from Primoz Roglic saw the Slovenian time trial specialist pick up an astonishing fourth win in La Vuelta and take the red jersey back from Richard Carapaz of Ecuador atop the Mirador de Lazaro in the Stage 13 race of truth.
Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) on Tuesday trailed his general classification rival Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) at the first intermediate check and was only one second clear at the second after a testing ride along the flat but blustery coastal roads in Galicia. He then pulled it out of the bag on the final 1.8km climb to the line, winning the 33.7km TT in a time of 46 minutes 39 seconds.
A superior bike change at the foot of the climb and an explosive assault on the 14.8 percent average gradient saw Roglic, in the green skin-suit as points classification leader, edge the American Will Barta (CCC Team) by one slender second and put his time trial demons to bed following his recent implosion on the penultimate day of the Tour de France.
Moments earlier, Carthy, the rangy rouleur from Lancashire who entered the GC fray with a coming-of-age victory on the Angliru on Sunday, crossed the line in provisional third place behind Barta and the Portuguese Nelson Oliveira (Movistar).
Carthy ended up in fourth place, 25 seconds down on Roglic, to retain his third place on GC and stay within 47 seconds of the red jersey entering the final phase of the race – not a bad return for a rider whom his manager Jonathan Vaughters had predicted would trail the Slovenian by one and a half minutes going onto the climb.
The last man down the ramp in Muros and across the line overlooking the estuary of the Xallas river was Carapaz, the Ineos Grenadiers 2019 Giro d’Italia champion putting in a solid TT to take seventh place on the day, 49 seconds down on the man who returns to the summit of the race for the third time since his victory on an opening day.
A fourth stage victory in the race, being broadcast on Eurosport network, puts rampant Roglic 39 seconds clear of his nearest challenger, Carapaz, and strengthens his accompanying vice-like grip on the green jersey.