Roglic, first leader of La Vuelta 2021
The first red jersey of La Vuelta 2021 is Primoz Roglic. He was surely the safe bet, because he was undoubtedly the main favourite. But a Spanish rider almost gave him a big surprise: Aranburu, from Astana, was first all afternoon until Roglic's arrival.
Aranburu was leader until the end
The first stage of the Vuelta 2021 was a very intense ride, that last stretch of the route where you put everything into it. Only 7 kilometres, in a dynamic profile at the beginning but flat at the end, in a time trial that had very little to contribute, but something fundamental: to dress the first leader of La Vuelta a España 2021.
Burgos saw the birth of this edition of the race in a strange context after the coronavirus and with a rather interesting line-up: many important riders but not the great cannibal of the last big road races, Tadej Pogacar. So, the option of winning a Grand Tour stage race is in the air.
The gothic old town saw the first cyclists take the start. The last to take the ramp was Primoz Roglic. The Slovenian, who won twice the Vuelta, failed in the Tour and took the gold medal in Tokyo in the time trial, was the main favourite both for the overall and for today's short stage.
The Burgos' cathedral celebrates 800 years and was the excuse for the start of this Vuelta 2021 that began with Pelayo Sánchez. The Burgos BH rider gave life to the race but it wasn't until the big names came out that we felt we were in. Perhaps it was Fabio Aru who really started this Vuelta, a Fabio Aru who will hang up his bike at the end of the Spanish round.
Yates set the best time and established a frontier for the main favourites. He was overtaken by the Dutchman Dylan Van Baarle by only 9 seconds and it was already clear that the stage victory and the first leader would be around 8:43.
Álex Aranburu set himself on fire and took first place with a great time: 8:38 for the Astana rider, a great time and then wait and see what happens.
Primoz Roglic, first leader of La Vuelta 2021
And that is what happened over the next hour. Riders kept arriving and arriving, some of them specialists in time trials, but nobody managed to beat Aranburu.
The young Astana rider was starting to get his hopes up, although he was aware that the main favourites were still to come. Matthews was the first to lower the Spaniard's time by 3 seconds at the first timed point. Nerves were getting on his nerves. But neither Izagirre, nor Valverde, nor Kuss, nor Haga managed to improve Aranburu's time.
All the riders were arriving at the Sarmental, demonstrating one by one that Aranburu's time was a real blast. While waiting for the mountains, it is important for teams and cyclists to lead the race. Miguel Ángel López, for example, lost 12 seconds on his entry to the finish line. It is not a significant time, but it is if we think that it is in only 7 kilometres.
Then the monster came out. Roglic started with the intention of clearing doubts from the first kilometre. Bernal had a good time, but Roglic was improving Aranburu's time by up to 4 seconds in the first section. The spotlight was on both of them, except after a slight scare for Enric Mas that almost cost him a crash. But there were no incidents in this first stage.
Three riders remained: Mas, Bernal and Roglic, and Aranburu was shaking in his saddle. Mas lost only 12 seconds, a great time for the Mallorcan. Bernal lost a little more, 21 seconds. Only Roglic was left.
But the Tokyo gold medallist left Aranburu no choice. He beat the Spanish rider by 6 seconds and became the winner of the first stage of La Vuelta 2021 and the first leader of this edition. How close Aranburu came, a pity. Honours to Roglic, who is off to a strong start.
- Roglic, P. - Jumbo Visma | 8:32
- Aranburu, A. - Astana | +6
- Tratnik, J. - Bahrain | +8