Evenepoel cracks in Vuelta, Roglic looms

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Richard Carapaz has hung on to win the mountainous 14th stage of the Vuelta a Espana while Primoz Roglic reduced the gap behind Remco Evenepoel after the race leader wilted on the final ascent.

Carapaz, the Olympic gold medallist, won his second stage in three days after forming part of an early breakaway on Saturday and clinging to his slim lead over the final metres as Roglic and another chaser came on strong.

Carapaz, the champion Ecuadorian rider for Ineos Grenadiers, completed the gruelling ride in southern Spain from Montoro to the category-one Sierra de la Pandera summit in just over four hours.

Miguel Angel Lopez and Roglic were just seconds behind. They chewed up what had been a four-minute gap but Carapaz just had enough.

Three-time defending champion Roglic's main goal, however, was accomplished when the Jumbo-Visma leader attacked on the final climb and Evenepoel failed to keep pace.

Roglic slashed the gap to Evenepoel from 2 minutes, 41 seconds at the day's start to 1:49 with seven stages remaining. Enric Mas is third overall at 2:43 behind.

Evenepoel will wear the red leader's jersey for an eighth consecutive day, but Roglic was finally able to do some damage to the Belgian and could try to press his momentum on back-to-back mountain stages.

"It wasn't my best day for sure, I didn't have the best legs, I couldn't accelerate when Roglic went," Evenepoel, the young Belgian leader of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl said.

"I'm still 1:50 ahead in the (general classification), so nothing to really panic about. I'll try to recover as much as possible and survive tomorrow."

Sunday's 15th stage takes riders over 153 kilometres to a summit finish at the special-category Alto Hoya de la Mora as riders enter the final week.

Australian Ben O'Connor (AG2R Citroen), who was 11th on the stage, is now 10th overall, 9:12 down, while Giro d'Italia winner Jai Hindley is 13th at 11:40.

Alpecin-Deceuninck's Australian star Jay Vine still leads the King of the Mountains standings on 40 points but Carapaz's win has moved him into second on 26, ahead of Vine's Aussie teammate Robert Stannard (21).