Vuelta a Espana: Primoz Roglic finishes second on stage 18 to extend overall lead

Primoz Roglic and Alejandro Valverde
Primoz Roglic (right) leads overall and is nearly three minutes clear of Alejandro Valverde (left) in second

Slovenia's Primoz Roglic extended his lead in the Vuelta a Espana after finishing second behind Colombia's Sergio Higuita on stage 18.

Roglic, who came third in this year's Giro d'Italia, is two minutes and 50 seconds clear of Spain's Alejandro Valverde with three stages left.

Stage 18 was a mountain stage raced over 177.5km from Colmenar Viejo to Becerril de la Sierra.

This was 22-year-old Higuita's first stage victory in a Grand Tour event.

"I took a risk and it paid off," said Higuita, who finished 15 seconds clear of Roglic, Valverde and Poland's Rafal Majka after attacking 50km out.

Britain's Tao Geoghegan Hart, riding for Team Ineos, came 14th, three places ahead of Deceuninck-Quick-Step's James Knox, who slipped one place to ninth overall.

Colombia's Nairo Quintana, who won the Vuelta in 2016 and was second heading into the stage, dropped to third overall after being dropped on the penultimate climb of the day.

The 19th stage takes place on Friday, a relatively flat 165.2km course from Avila to Toledo.

Vuelta a Espana - stage 18 result

  1. Sergio Higuita (Col/EF Education First) 4hrs 33mins 9secs
  2. Primoz Roglic (Slo/Team Jumbo-Visma) + 15secs
  3. Alejandro Valverde (Esp/Movistar Team) Same time
  4. Rafal Majka (Pol/BORA-Hansgrohe)
  5. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col/Astana Pro Team) + 17secs
  6. Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor/Lotto-Soudal) + 1min 16secs
  7. Louis Meintjes (SA/Team Dimension Data) Same time
  8. Nairo Quintana (Col/Movistar Team)
  9. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates)
  10. Oscar Rodriguez (Esp/Euskadi Basque Country-Murias) + 3min 47secs

Overall classification

  1. Primoz Roglic (Slo/Team Jumbo-Visma) 71hrs 16mins 54secs
  2. Alejandro Valverde (Esp/Movistar Team) + 2min 50secs
  3. Nairo Quintana (Col/Movistar Team) + 3mins 31secs
  4. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col/Astana Pro Team) + 4mins 17secs
  5. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) + 4mins 49secs
  6. Rafal Majka (Pol/BORA-Hansgrohe) + 7mins 46secs
  7. Wilco Kelderman (Ned/Team Sunweb) + 9mins 46secs
  8. Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor/Lotto-Soudal) + 11mins 50secs
  9. James Knox (GB/Deceuninck-Quick-Step) + 12mins 44secs
  10. Marc Soler (Esp/Movistar Team) + 21mins 9secs

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