DUMBRIA, Spain: Primoz Roglic reclaimed the Vuelta a Espana overall lead when he won the 13th stage, a 33.7km effort ending with a 1.8km climb up to the Mirador de Ezaro at an average gradient of 14.8 per cent on Tuesday.
The Slovenian looked nothing like the rider who lost the Tour de France yellow jersey on the final time trial, crushing the pedals in the last ascent to clock 46 minutes, 39 seconds and beat American Will Barta by just one second.
"I felt strong today. I found that surprising, because I thought I would suffer a lot more. Many people thought that I would take much time very easily, but in the end everyone starts such a time trial with equal opportunities," said Roglic.
"Fortunately I had good legs today and I was able to do a nice time trial. We have to stay focused now and keep fighting to the end."
Ecuador's Richard Carapaz (Ineos-Grenadiers), who started the day with the red jersey, limited the damage to finish seventh, 49 seconds off the pace. He dropped to second overall, 39 seconds behind defending champion Roglic of Jumbo-Visma.
Briton Hugh Carthy, who surged into contention with an impressive win on the Angliru in the 12th stage on Sunday, was on-par with Roglic in the first part of the solo effort against the clock but the EF Education First rider conceded 25 seconds on the line.
Carthy remains third overall, 47 seconds off the pace.
Wednesday's 14th stage is the first of three hilly rides before the top contenders go all in on the 17th stage, which finishes at top of the Alto de la Covatilla on Saturday.