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Dublin: 1°C Saturday 17 April 2021

Wellens wins 14th stage of Vuelta as Roglic keeps lead, Martin stays fourth overall

Dan Martin and Sam Bennett are flying the Irish flag in Spain.

Belgium's Tim Wellens claimed his second stage victory at Vuelta today (file pic).
Belgium's Tim Wellens claimed his second stage victory at Vuelta today (file pic).
Image: Imago/PA Images

BELGIUM’S TIM WELLENS claimed his second stage victory at the Vuelta a Espana on Wednesday as Primoz Roglic retained the overall lead in an uneventful day for the general classification.

Wellens of Lotto Soudal won stage 14 in Ourense after holding off a late surge from EF Pro Cycling’s Michael Woods. 

Roglic remains 39 seconds ahead of Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz overall, ahead of the finish in Madrid on Sunday.

Wellens now has two stage wins at the Vuelta after his triumph on the summit finish at Sabinanigo last month in stage five.

“We came here with the team to get a minimum of one stage victory,” said Wellens. “Then when we had the first one they kept putting pressure for the second. 

“I knew today was a day that suited me very well. But it’s one thing to look forward to a day and another thing to be in the right position, be in the breakaway and have the right legs and today everything went perfectly.”

The 29-year-old now boasts a pair of stage wins in both the Vuelta and the Giro d’Italia.

“It’s not easy to win, I had to really fight to get in the breakaway, and all my companions in the breakaway were really strong riders,” Wellens added. “I felt Woods coming but suddenly the finish line was there and I passed first.”

Roglic, though, kept the red jersey and remains the favourite to defend his title this weekend, even if the Slovenian’s time-trial win on Tuesday was not significant enough to rule out the main contenders.

The top three are still separated by less than a minute, with Britain’s Hugh Carthy in third behind Carapaz and 47 seconds off the lead.

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Ireland’s Dan Martin remains fourth overall (one minute 42 seconds off the lead) after crossing the line in eighth today.

“It was a very fast and difficult start for all of us but the guys did a great job. It was a fast and hard stage,” said Jumbo-Visma’s Roglic.

“If the opportunity was there to take more seconds I would definitely have taken it but the breakaway was there and it would have been a big sprint to the top.”

A frantic start saw Wellens pull clear of the peloton, only for Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Marc Soler (Movistar) to take over during the day’s final climb.

But Wellens and Woods hit back with less than a kilometre left, before Wellens picked the perfect line around the last bend to cross the line first.

Meanwhile, Ireland’s Sam Bennett is 141st overall.

The race resumes on Thursday with a lengthy 230km stage 15, that could prove more influential in the overall chase. The course begins in Mos and finishes in Puebla de Sanabria, with five categorised climbs in between.

© – AFP, 2020 

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