The candidacies of Enric Mas and Carlos Rodriguez to the podium and the need to come back from a patient John Ayuso They have been the readings that the time trial between Elche and Alicante has left, which has meant the passage through the equator of a Vuelta 2022 from which the leader Remco Evenepoel has emerged reinforced in the solo fight over Primoz Roglic, the two great favorites.
Roglic, in search of a fourth consecutive Vuelta that is getting more and more difficult, has climbed a step in the general classification to be just behind the Belgian, but his disadvantage It is even greater because the leader of the Quick Step already leads him by 2 minutes and 41 seconds after filing another 34 seconds this Tuesday.
That position was stolen by the Slovenian from Mas, who gave in the end more than it seemed, 1.51 on the red jerseywhich leaves him 3.03 behind the Belgian and, for the moment, more focused on finishing on the podium than on a final victory that he felt close before today’s loss of time and also on confirming the solidity of a leader in the absence to test at the end of a stage race.
Still, the barely 22 seconds that he loses to a Roglic whom he has beaten in the mountain stages also leave Mas a shot away from the second final place that he achieved in 2018 and 2021.
Like the Aalst prodigy, albeit with one year less -22 by 21-, Carlos Rodríguez has also come out of the time trial very strengthened and points to a privileged podium that remains at 52 seconds in which the Mallorcan from Artà leads him.
A distance similar to the 55 seconds he has over Simon Yates, winner in 2018 and also one of the great beneficiaries of the Alicante time trial. Yates took advantage of the “bad day” of an Ayuso who “thought he had covid” given how bad he felt when he got up to rise to the Top 5 of the race at 4.50 behind the leader.
However, the Barcelona resident in Jávea still has that fifth position within reach, since his disadvantage is barely 3 seconds and until today, waiting for him to overcome his poor health, he has always been ahead of the British.
A companion of Ayuso, Joao Almeida, marks in seventh place and at 6.45 from Evenepoel the line between those who aspire to the positions of honor and those who can hardly even think about the Top 10 of a race that dominates with a firm hand an Evenepoel to whom only a rival with the capacity to unseat him can be glimpsed. But for this, Roglic would have to demonstrate the power of the 2019, 2020, 2021 Vueltas and that of the beginning of this one in 2022. And it doesn’t seem like it.
Waiting for it, for Spanish cycling, which is making a race well above the expectations At the initial stages, things are clearing up: Mas and Carlos Rodríguez candidates for the podium and Ayuso forced to come back to continue exhilarating as he has done, together with Carlos, since the start of the race.