Although Jonas Vingegaard surged away from Vuelta a España leader and teammate Sepp Kuss in the final kilometres of the Altu de l’Angliru on stage 17 and came within eight seconds of snatching the red jersey, the Danish rider said after the stage he would like the American to win the overall.
Vingegaard went with teammate Primož Roglič on the steepest part of the climb when Kuss could not match their tempo with 1.9km to go. Until Spaniard Mikel Landa joined Kuss and helped reduce the gap, Vinegaard looked set to take the race lead from his teammate.
However, Kuss rallied and then attacked Landa to finish third, take the final four-second time bonus and so keep the race lead in another Jumbo-Visma stage podium sweep. The trio also still occupy the top three positions in the general classification.
Vingegaard pulled back 1:15 on Kuss when he attacked to win stage 15 and took a further 25 seconds on stage 16 but claimed he wants the American to win overall.
“The win today was our main goal to keep the situation 1-2-3 in GC,” Vingegaard suggested post stage.
“I think everything went how we wanted. I think we can be happy with everything. To be honest, I’m still happy that Sepp is in the jersey.
“To be honest I actually hope that he will keep the jersey. I would love to see Sepp winning this Vuelta a España.”
Roglič not only won the stage, he also cemented his position for the final podium, further distancing next-best Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) by almost three minutes behind.
He defended actions that for any other team would be considered an affront to the race leader, saying, “When I went it was just so hard and steep that it was my own tempo.
“I let [Bahrain] go until I felt the pace is a bit dropping I said ‘OK, I go for it and ride my own pace’.”
Roglič spoke to Kuss after the finish and the American seemed to have no bad feelings about the situation.
“I just spoke with him and it’s a weird feeling,” Roglič said.”On such a steep climb, everyone goes as fast as possible and then we see, eh?
“I said to him: keep fighting, keep believing and he will make it.”
Jumbo-Visma directeur sportif Grischa Niermann was just pleased that the team fended off any challenges from riders such as Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-Quickstep) whose solo attack crumbled on the Angliru, and Marc Soler who used his last bullets in pursuit of Evenepoel.
“I think the team solved it perfectly once again. In the end, it showed that apparently we have the three strongest riders in the…