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Gallery: First 10 stages of the Vuelta a España

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Chris Horner (RadioShack) showed a remarkable renaissance after an early season knee injury, winning two stages and racing into the lead ahead of the first rest day.

Chris Horner (RadioShack) showed a remarkable renaissance after an early season knee injury, winning two stages and racing into the lead ahead of the first rest day.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) was the story of the day on stage 6 after an all-day solo escape

Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) was the story of the day on stage 6 after an all-day solo escape
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Michael Mørkøv (Saxo-Tinkoff) added to the team's tally in the Vuelta with his first Grand Tour stage win.

Michael Mørkøv (Saxo-Tinkoff) added to the team's tally in the Vuelta with his first Grand Tour stage win.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) was one of five first-time Grand Tour stage winners in the first 10 days.

Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) was one of five first-time Grand Tour stage winners in the first 10 days.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) was relaxed even in the race lead

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) was relaxed even in the race lead
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Philippe Gilbert (BMC), running out of time to win something - anything - during his time in the rainbow jersey.

Philippe Gilbert (BMC), running out of time to win something - anything - during his time in the rainbow jersey.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) spent five days in red before the first rest day.

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) spent five days in red before the first rest day.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) with more podium time for the mountains classification jersey

Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) with more podium time for the mountains classification jersey
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Daniel Moreno (Katusha) showed fine form, taking the first of two stage wins, this one on stage 4 in Fisterra

Daniel Moreno (Katusha) showed fine form, taking the first of two stage wins, this one on stage 4 in Fisterra
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The Atlantic provided the backdrop for the opening stages of the Vuelta

The Atlantic provided the backdrop for the opening stages of the Vuelta
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) celebrates his stage win on the second day of the Vuelta

Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) celebrates his stage win on the second day of the Vuelta
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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In a sign of things to come, Alejandro Valverde would lead home a chase group that failed to catch escapees

In a sign of things to come, Alejandro Valverde would lead home a chase group that failed to catch escapees
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fans watch from the top of a boat

Fans watch from the top of a boat
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The start in Vilanova de Arousa had an innovative see-through starting ramp

The start in Vilanova de Arousa had an innovative see-through starting ramp
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Astana proved too powerful for the other teams in the opening TTT

Astana proved too powerful for the other teams in the opening TTT
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Astana had to work hard during the first 10 stages.

Astana had to work hard during the first 10 stages.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tony Martin's solo escape was training for the world championships

Tony Martin's solo escape was training for the world championships
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) once again bringing home the chase group.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) once again bringing home the chase group.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) relinquished the race lead, but also lost time before the rest day.

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) relinquished the race lead, but also lost time before the rest day.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Nicolas Roche (Saxo Tinkoff) reinvented himself as a Grand Tour contender.

Nicolas Roche (Saxo Tinkoff) reinvented himself as a Grand Tour contender.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Daniel Moreno (Katusha) on his way to his second stage win of the race, this time while wearing the points jersey.

Daniel Moreno (Katusha) on his way to his second stage win of the race, this time while wearing the points jersey.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The race heads into the mountains.

The race heads into the mountains.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) went on a solo flyer late on stage 10

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) went on a solo flyer late on stage 10
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The Spanish sun proved relentless.

The Spanish sun proved relentless.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Leopold Koenig (Netapp-Endura) soloed to his first, and his team's first Grand Tour stage win.

Leopold Koenig (Netapp-Endura) soloed to his first, and his team's first Grand Tour stage win.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) showed strong form in the opening 10 stages.

Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) showed strong form in the opening 10 stages.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) began to feel the pressure ahead of the first rest day.

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) began to feel the pressure ahead of the first rest day.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Nicolas Roche enjoyed a single day in the red leader's jersey

Nicolas Roche enjoyed a single day in the red leader's jersey
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The peloton was feeling bullish.

The peloton was feeling bullish.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Marco Pinotti (BMC) also got some training miles in during a breakaway in the first week

Marco Pinotti (BMC) also got some training miles in during a breakaway in the first week
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) made up for Martin's miss by winning the stage to Mairena de Aljafare

Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) made up for Martin's miss by winning the stage to Mairena de Aljafare
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Janez Brajkovic (Astana) donned a Grand Tour leader's jersey seven years after he last held one.

Janez Brajkovic (Astana) donned a Grand Tour leader's jersey seven years after he last held one.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

While the first 10 stages of the Vuelta a España haven't created unassailable gaps in the general classification, a team time trial and a series of uphill finishes have kept the excitement level high and led to several changes in the race lead.

The variety of terrain in the final kilometers of each stage have also allowed breakaways to succeed on the majority of the stages, leading to six first-time Grand Tour stage winners.

After Astana's command performance in the first stage TTT, where Janez Brajkovic took the first red leader's jersey, the honour was passed along to his team leader Vincenzo Nibali on the very early category 1 finishing climb the next day where Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) unshackled himself from the label of chronic under-achiever and finally won his first Grand Tour stage.

Another uphill finish on stage 3 should have been the domain of Philippe Gilbert, who has increasingly suffered the curse of the rainbow jersey and has been unable to win a single race this year. Instead, the race favourites turned the stage into a chance to gain valuable seconds. Chris Horner (RadioShack) won his first Grand Tour stage and took the race lead, while climbers such as Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r) and, to a lesser extent, Sergio Henao (Sky) lost time.

A short finishing ramp on stage 4 also proved more difficult than it should have on paper, with Horner relinquishing the race lead and Daniel Moreno (Katusha) claiming the sprint - the first of two stage victories for the Spaniard.

Finally, there was a sprint on stage 5, which went to Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) by a clean set of wheels over Max Richeze and Gianni Meersman. On the next day, Tony Martin went on a time trial training binge, going solo for 175km before being caught with just meters left to go. The stage went instead to Michael Mørkøv (Saxo-Tinkoff) in his first major Grand Tour success, but it was vastly overshadowed by the German's herculean effort.

Zdenek Stybar made up for his Omega Pharma-QuickStep teammate's loss by out-powering the world champion to win the next stage in what would be Nibali's last day in red.

On yet another uphill finish, this one a tough category 1, Leopold König proved to be king of the hill, finishing off a day of hard work by his NetApp-Endura team. Moreno came in just behind, while Roche was across just seconds later to take the race lead from Nibali, who showed uncharacteristic weakness in the final few hundred meters.

A category 2 mountain and an uphill run to the line went Moreno's way on stage 9, and the Katusha rider cruised to another stage win and a brief stint in the red jersey, which he lost to a rampaging Horner on the 10th stage before the rest day. The American earned himself a solid 48-second advantage on the hors categorie Alto Hazallanas over Nibali, and 43 seconds in the GC, but claimed to be expecting to lose the race lead in the time trial.

Valverde, Roche, Basso and Rodriguez limited their losses, but only Nibali and Roche are within a minute of the red jersey. The suspense as to who will be the next race leader will end tomorrow, when the 38.8km time trial takes place, and then the sprinters should have two days to fight it out for stage wins before the race heads back to the mountains on stage 14.