The triple title holder, the Slovenian Primoz Roglic, who occupied second place in the general classification of the Tour of Spain 2022, was forced to retire on Wednesday after his fall the day before less than 100 m from the finish of step.
“Unfortunately, (he) will not be at the start of the 17th stage, following his fall yesterday (Tuesday). Get well soon champion!”, Wrote the Jumbo-Visma on his twitter account.
“You had ambitious plans for the last few days, but unfortunately it was said that it would not happen,” added the Dutch team.
Winner of the last three editions, the leader of the Jumbo was on an upward slope after a difficult start to Vuelta: returned to less than two minutes from the red jersey, the Belgian Remco Evenepoel (Quick Step), he attacked on Tuesday at the foot of the final bump, in the last three kilometers.
But the 32-year-old Slovenian had a double bad luck: surprised by this attack, Evenepoel, left behind, had a puncture in this final, then benefiting from the regulations classifying him at the same time as the first peloton.
Joined by four runners (Mads Pedersen, Patrick Ackermann, Danny van Poppel and Fred Wright), Roglic led him at full speed, before falling violently shortly after launching his sprint, not far from the line.
He got up as best he could, and crossed the finish line but then remained for a long time, haggard, with a bloody elbow and knee.
An uncertain time for this Vuelta after an abandonment on a fall -already- at the Tour de France in July, the Slovenian was on Wednesday morning 1 min 26 seconds behind Evenepoel.
The young Belgian now has only one opponent left, in the person of the Spaniard Enric Mas (Movistar), who recovers 2nd place, at 2 min 01 sec.
The Vuelta has entered its final week, with the riders setting off on Wednesday for a 162.3 km stage, with a new arrival at altitude, at the monastery of Tentudia.