Defending champion Roglic powers to Vuelta stage win

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Defending champion Primoz Roglic wins stage 11 of the Vuelta
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Defending Vuelta champion Primoz Roglic made a statement of intent Wednesday when he hunted down Magnus Cort Nielsen's desperate long range escape for a Stage 11 win that went down to the wire.

Having fallen on Tuesday, Jumbo-Visma's Roglic, instead of struggling, gained a few seconds on key rivals, Movistar pair Enric Mas and Miguel Angel Lopez.

They made up the podium while Odd Christian Eiking held on to the overall lead, just clinging on over the last climb.

"It feels like you can imagine, it feels really, really nice," said Eiking, who is 58sec ahead of Guillaume Martin and 1min 56sec ahead of Roglic in the overall rankings.

"It's unbelievable to be leader of such a big race as La Vuelta. For sure it's one of the greatest moments of my career. It's a responsibility, but it's actually also just a bonus for us in the team," said the Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert man.

This was the Slovenian Roglic's second stage win on the 2021 Vuelta after the Olympic champion took the opening day time-trial by storm.

Considered the most physically powerful rider in the peloton, Roglic leads a war of attrition, picking off 20 sends here and there, and Wednesday he once again produced his trademark late kick to take bonus seconds at the finish.

"It was close again wasn't it? And it was a hard stage," the winner said of the 133km stage run over relentlessly rolling terrain.

"It was a nice finish with a steep uphill where I can normally do well. It's always nice to win, you never know when it'll be your last one," he said.

Cort Nielsen had already won stage six and looked set for a victory here too after crossing the highest peak of the day 45sec ahead, but the EF Nippo man was caught an agonising 200m from the packed village centre finish line.

Thanks to an earlier mountain stage win, Damiano Caruso of Bahrain Victorious is in the leading climber's polka dot jersey after crossing the only summit in second.

Thursday's run from Jaen to Cordoba is a flat stage for the sprinters with Fabio Jakobsen in the green jersey.

His closest rival, Alpecin's Jasper Philipsen pulled out Wednesday complaining of a fever.

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