Alejandro Valverde moves up to second overall as Colombian Higuita wins stage

Colombia's Sergio Higuita (Education First) won stage 18 as Nairo Quintana and Tadej Pogacar lost time

Overall leader Primoz Roglic came second in another step towards the overall title. Nairo Quintana and Tadej Pogacar however lost ground after several attacks on the tough mountain stage.

Roglic chased down Higuita to finish just 15 seconds behind along with world champion Alejandro Valverde, who climbed back up to second overall.

Miguel Angel Lopez went all out to attack his rivals and moved up to fourth and reclaimed the white jersey as best young rider after dropping Pogacar and causing Quintana to crack. Lopez looks the strongest of the favorites with just three stages remaining.

Roglic now leads Valverde, who moved up to second overall 2m 50s down, with Quintana third at 3m 30s, Lopez fourth at 4m 17s and Pogacar fifth at 4min 48s.

The former Vuelta and Giro winner Quintana had reclaimed more than five minutes after crosswinds caused a split in the peloton on Stage 17, but lost some of it today.

Stage 18 to Becerril de la Sierra was 177km mountainous stage with four 1st category climbs, "I took a risk and it paid off," said Higuita, who attacked on the final climb to solo away with 23 kms remaining.

The final climb saw a huge number of attacks and counter attacks that made Quintana crack and Pogacar slowly lose ground with around 30 kms to go, "It wasn't my best day, maybe we can get something back on Saturday, that looks like the last chance, before Madrid" said said Pogacar afterwards.

After a disasterous stage for Jumbo-Visma on Wednesday's Stage 17, Primoz Roglic had Americans Sepp Kuss and Neilson Powless to look after him until cresting the final climb. With just one more mountain stage on Saturday, Roglic looks set to secure victory, however Movistar with Quintana and Valverde look likely to attack Jumbo-Visma again in the next few stages.

“It’s a dream to be at the Vuelta, riding a Grand Tour,” said Higuita “And now, winning a stage, it’s very important. It’s the biggest win of my sporting career!”

Tomorrow's stage 19 from Avila to Toledo is 163.4 km, in which the sprinters will strive to control the race. The finish will surprise them with a gentle 1 km climb over cobblestones in Toledo. An added challenge for those sprinters vying for victory.

VIDEO: 2019 La Vuelta Stage 18 Highlights

2019 La Vuelta Stage 19 Top 10

1    Sergio Higuita (Col) EF Education First    4:33:09
2    Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma    0:00:15
3    Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team  
4    Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe  
5    Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team    0:00:17
6    Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Lotto Soudal    0:01:16
7    Louis Meintjes (RSA) Dimension Data  
8    Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team  
9    Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates  
10    Oscar Rodriguez Garaicoechea (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias    0:03:47

2019 La Vuelta GCF after Stage 19

1    Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma    71:16:54
2    Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team    0:02:50
3    Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team    0:03:31
4    Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team    0:04:17
5    Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates    0:04:49
6    Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe    0:07:46
7    Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb    0:09:46
8    Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Lotto Soudal    0:11:50
9    James Knox (GBr) Deceuninck-QuickStep    0:12:44
10    Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team    0:21:09

 
Tag: vuelta
 
Dec 01 2019 - NEWS: Rumours are the Vuelta will tackle the brutal climb of the Angliru
Nov 04 2019 - NEWS: Mathieu van der Poel could ride his first Grand Tour at the 2020 La Vuelta
Oct 27 2019 - NEWS: 2020 La Vuelta Peloton will have to Walk part of Route through a Church on Foot
Sep 15 2019 - NEWS: Jumbo-Visma's Primoz Roglic crowned 2019 La Vuelta Champion
Sep 15 2019 - NEWS: WATCH: Footage shows horrendous crash that saw Tony Martin abandon La Vuelta
Sep 14 2019 - NEWS: Tadej Pogacar attacks to take his third stage win and the White Jersey
Sep 12 2019 - NEWS: Valverde moves up to second overall as Colombia's Higuita wins stage
Sep 11 2019 - NEWS: Brutal Crosswinds shakes up Vuelta’s longest stage as Quintana takes back time
Sep 09 2019 - NEWS: Jakob Fuglsang solos to Stage 16 Mountain Top Finish Victory
Sep 08 2019 - NEWS: American Sepp Kuss wins Stage 15 as Roglic stamps his Authority on La Vuelta
Sep 07 2019 - NEWS: WATCH: Huge Crash in the Peloton as Sam Bennett Powers to Stage Victory
Sep 06 2019 - NEWS: Slovenian duo Pogacar and Roglic annihilate the Brutal Los Machucos Beast
Sep 05 2019 - NEWS: Philippe Gilbert takes his sixth stage victory at La Vuelta
Sep 04 2019 - NEWS: Basque rider Mikel Iturria wins Stage 11 of La Vuelta on Home Roads
Sep 03 2019 - NEWS: Primoz Roglic Blitzes Time Trial to take Over La Vuelta Race Lead
Jun 30 2014 - RESULTS: Vuelta Keystone Gran Fondo
Aug 24 2019 - EVENT: 2020 La Vuelta
Jan 26 2020 - EVENT: Vuelta a San Juan