Roglic improves Vuelta a Espana lead

·2-min read

Magnus Cort Nielsen won a sprint finish at the end of the 16th stage of the Vuelta a Espana as race leader Primoz Roglic claimed precious bonus seconds for his runner-up finish.

Denmark's Cort Nielsen continued a strong race for the EF Education team with a powerful burst in the final 100 metres of the 162km ride from Salamanca to Cuidad Rodrigo.

Slovenia's reigning champion Roglic (Jumbo Visma) finished second to claim six crucial seconds, stretching his lead over Richard Carapaz to 45 seconds.

Britain's Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) is third overall at 53 seconds.

Roglic now needs to preserve his lead in Saturday's 178km mountain stage to be almost certain of claiming victory in Madrid.

There was heartbreak for France's Remi Cavagna (Deceuninck-Quick Step) who looked like he might solo his way to victory after spending all day in the breakaway.

Mitchelton-Scott's Australian Rob Stannard also had a powerful ride up front before being swallowed by the peloton.

Yet Cavagna was caught inside the final three kilometres as the pursuers wound up the pace to set up a battle that Nielsen edged.

Veteran Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) led out the sprint but all-rounder Cort Nielsen powered home to continue what has been a strong Vuelta for the American EF Pro Cycling team.

Rui Costa came home third but was relegated to the back of the group for a dangerous move in the sprint that allowed Mitchelton-Scott's Dion Smith to be promoted to the final podium spot.

Roglic let out a roar of frustration as he crossed the line in second but still strengthened his grip on a race he has led since replacing Carapaz by winning stage 10.

The Tour de France runner-up will be taking nothing for granted, however, with five categorised climbs to endure on the road to Alto de La Covatilla on Saturday, including a 10km slog at an average of 7% to the summit finish.