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Caruso wins on Vuelta mountain as Roglic tightens grip

Bahrain Victorious rider Damiano Caruso won Sunday’s mountainous ninth stage of the Vuelta a Espana as Primoz Roglic strengthened his grip on the overall lead, coming second ahead of Enric Mas.

Colombian hope Egan Bernal was unable to follow Jumbo-Visma’s Roglic and Movistar’s Mas as the competition stiffened on the upper reaches of a 13.2km ascent to Alto de Velefique.

The 33-year-old Italian Caruso came runner up on the Giro d’Italia in May and on Sunday promised to attack from distance before his 60km effort.

He was able to pace himself up the final 13km ascent due to a lead of around five minutes over the red jersey group at the foot of the climb, with Slovenian Roglic just 1 minute 05 seconds off his pace by the finish line.

Ineos’ Colombian leader Bernal came in 2min 10 sec down on Caruso, leaving question marks over the 24-year-old’s Vuelta challenge after winning the Tour de France in 2019 and the Giro in May.

Monday is the Vuelta’s first rest day ahead of four hilly, one flat and two mountain stages in the week ahead, after another rest day.

The final week holds three tough mountain stages and a final day individual time-trial at the pilgrim city of Santiago de Compostella.

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