Stage 1: Porto Banus - Marbella, 7.4km
What happened: The opening stage of the Vuelta a España greeted the riders on a scorching day, and over an unconventional course along the beachfront of Porto Banus to Marbella. BMC Racing continued their dominance of the discipline as the Team Time Trial World Champions, winning by one second ahead of Tinkoff-Saxo and Orica GreenEdge, who tied for second. The latter had enjoyed the hot seat for nearly 10 minutes before the red-and-black skinsuits of BMC crossed the line to come out on top.
Despite the concerns over the safety of the course by the riders, the neutralised stage finished without any crashes or incidents. Classification jerseys at the end of the first day were awarded despite no general classification times recorded. Peter Velits was awarded the red jersey having been the first BMC rider across the line.
He said what? "To be honest, I don’t remember much of it, it went by so quickly. We’re super happy with the win and I couldn’t be happier for Peter Velits to take the jersey." – Tejay van Garderen
Stage 1 Results
Stage 2: Alhaurin de la Torre – Caminito del Rey, 158.7km
What happened: The fight for the general classification officially began on stage 2 to Caminito del Rey. The Vuelta wasted no time hitting the riders with challenging climbs on just the second day of racing. Esteban Chaves (Orica GreenEdge) took the biggest win of his career after it nearly ended in a crash two years prior. The Colombian bridged across to Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpacin) and Nicolas Roche (Team Sky) on the final climb up Caminito del Rey.
Chaves fired passed on the final pitches leading to the finishing straight for the victory and the leader’s red jersey, with a mere one second gain on Dumoulin at the line. The favourites finished further down, with Joaquin Rodriquez (Katusha) just ahead of Quintana at 35 seconds down on GC. Dumoulin landed five seconds down on GC behind Chaves.
The big news of the day, however, came hours after the race ended when it was revealed that Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) would be expelled from the race. Video evidence was reviewed by the commissaires showing Nibali holding on to his team’s car for over 100 meters trying to rejoin the bunch following a late crash. Astana would also be without team director Alexandre Shefer for the following three stages as a result.
He said what? "I felt that this was my moment to do it for the team. I felt like I was in a good position, and in the end I did it and I got this jersey. We talked among ourselves and how to deal with everyone around us, and the main thing to do was to attack these guys, so that’s what we did." – Esteban Chaves
Stage 2 Results
Stage 3: Mijas - Málaga, 158.4km
What happened: The 158km stage was expected to finish in a bunch sprint as the sprinting teams nursed their fast men over the two climbs of the day, ensuring the speedy finish. Peter Sagan ended his run of 15 second-place finishes this season, beating John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) and Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) for the welcomed victory.
The lead-out trains for Degenkolb and Bouhanni were unable to match Sagan’s final kick, and so he notched up his first win since the Tour of California and the first in a Grand Tour since the 2013 Tour de France.
Esteban Chaves would retain the red jersey after finishing safely in the bunch with the other GC contenders as overall remained unchanged in Málaga.
He said what? "I think we did a better job, and I was very pissed that other teams didn’t pull for the sprint. Bouhanni and John Degenkolb only came in the last three kilometres. As a result we had to win today. I was on Degenkolb’s wheel and he started his sprint early, I think at 250m. He went one way and I went the other. The wind helped and it played into my hands." – Peter Sagan.
Stage 3 Results
Stage 4: Estepona – Vejer de la Frontera, 209.6km
What happened: Leaving Estepona on the coast, the riders faced the longest stage of the race at 209.6km. A six-man break escaped and enjoyed up to a 13-minute gap before Tinkoff-Saxo lead the chase in the second half of the race to reel them in. A crash caught up Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing), who was lead back to the bunch by three of his teammates.
A sharp turn into the final climb with 4km to go launched several attacks, with positioning being crucial for the win. Samuel Sanchez (BMC Racing) was the first to have his attack stick, with Nicolas Roche (Team Sky) tagging on his wheel. The pair gained a small gap until the final kilometre when the road pitched up yet again as Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) weaved past with Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) in tow. Valverde kept Sagan at bay going through the final curves to win stage four at Vejer de la Frontera and move up to fifth place on GC ahead of Joaquin Rodriguez.
Aside from Valverde, the general classification remained the same, with Chaves retaining the leader’s red jersey for the third day, Tom Dumoulin in second and Roche in third.
He said what? "I knew it was Sagan on my wheel because I kept seeing his hair. I knew he was strong on these finishes but know with 200m to go I know it would be my victory today." – Alejandro Valverde
Stage 4 Results
Stage 5: Rota – Alcalá de Guadáira, 167.3km
What happened: With only a few stages at this year’s Vuelta reserved for the sprinters, a breakaway had little chance of succeeding. Orica GreenEdge took tight reins on the race, protecting Chaves, setting up Caleb Ewan up for his first Grand Tour win.
Leading into the final kilometres, Orica GreenEdge jostled for position with Tinkoff-Saxo leading Peter Sagan and Giant-Alpecin for John Degenkolb. Ewan was lead out perfectly by his teammates, speeding past Degenkolb as the gradient eased, with Sagan rolling across the line in third.
Chaves was caught behind Dumoulin, losing the red jersey to the Dutchman by one second at the end of the day.
He said what? "I heard on the radio that I had the red jersey. It was really not the plan today because I was helping John Degenkolb for the sprint. That didn’t work out, and so I was a bit pissed after the finish but now I’m here in the leader’s jersey. It’s great. After my crash in the Tour de France, it’s something. It’s great to wear the leader’s jersey." – Tom Dumoulin.
Stage 5 Results
Stage 6: Córdoba - Cazorla, 200.3km
Stage winner: Esteban Chaves (Orica GreenEdge)
Red jersey: Esteban Chaves (Orica GreenEdge)
What happened: On another scorching day for the peloton in the Andalucía region of Spain, Orica GreenEdge continued their dream week as Esteban Chaves snatched back the red jersey from Dumoulin by winning stage 6 on the Alto de Cazorla. On a similar summit finish to stage 2, the Colombian attacked out of the peloton to catch and pass Steve Cummings (MTN-Qhubeka) on a steep 15 per cent gradient on the final climb before heading for another win.
Tom Dumoulin was forced to chase with 2km to go as the road levelled slightly but was passed by Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin) just before the line. Chaves’ victory was the third for Orica GreenEdge in six stages. With his second-place finish on the day, Martin moved up to third on GC ahead of Nicolas Roche in fourth. Dumoulin finished the day 10 seconds down from Chaves.
He said what? "I can’t believe I’ve won. It was a long, hot, hard stage today. Midway I spoke to Mat Hayman and he told me, ‘if you have good legs you have to race because you never know what will happen tomorrow’." – Esteban Chaves.
Stage 6 Results
Stage 7: Jodar – La Alpujarra, 191.1km
What happened: The seventh stage finishing in La Alpujarra would be the first serious mountain top finish for the peloton. On another blistering day, it was third time's a charm for the LottoNL-Jumbo rider, Bert-Jan Lindeman. The Dutchman had tried his hand twice before in breakaways during the week and finally succeeded at La Alpujarra ahead of Ilia Koshevoy (Lampre-Merida) and a chasing Fabio Aru (Astana).
Aru had attacked with vigorous speed out of the chasing GC contenders group, and would have had a chance for the win had it come a mere kilometre before. The Italian was the big winner of the day, putting time into his rivals for the overall to move into the top 10 on GC. Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) both lost time, having been dropped from the chase group in the final 2km, doing their best to limit their losses. Froome would lose 35 seconds to Aru at the end of the day.
He said what? "It’s a special moment, a special day. After Vacansoleil, I was not in the ProTour anymore and I fight back and I think this is my biggest achievement yet, so I’m very happy." – Bert-Jan Lindeman.
Stage 7 Results
Stage 8: Puebla de Don Fabrique - Murcia, 182.5km
What happened: A stage rife with crashes saw a diminished peloton crossing the line in Murcia on stage 8. Jasper Stuyven (Trek Factory) survived the major crash at 48km to go, despite several of his teammates being caught in it, to win the stage in a dramatic sprint ahead of Pello Bilbao (Caja Rural) and Kevin Reza (FDJ.com). It was later discovered Stuyven had won with a broken scaphoid bone in his right wrist, forcing him to quit the race that evening.
The massive crash forced several GC riders to abandon due to injuries. The most seriously injured was Kris Boeckmans (Lotto Soudal), who lay motionless on the ground for several minutes before being whisked to hospital by ambulance. Boeckmans remains in a medically induced coma, though the team’s doctor confirmed no serious brain damage was found, notwithstanding his other injuries.
Tejay van Garderen suffered a broken shoulder and bruised lung, while Dan Martin also suffered a shoulder injury, having to leave the Vuelta sitting third place on GC. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff Saxo) was also involved in a separate incident when the stage 3 winner was taken down from behind by a race motorcycle with less than 10km to go. The team has since announced it is considering legal action, while Sagan himself was fined 300 Swiss Francs for his behaviour towards officials after the crash.
Esteban Chaves was also involved in the crash, but the Colombian recovered after a fast chase back to the peloton to retain the red jersey.
He said what? "I am really, really happy. The team did well to pull everything back, and even after the crash I kept fighting, kept fighting...Yeah. It pays off. I was also in the crash, and I hit my wrists pretty bad. They were hurting a lot, but I said to the guys I am gonna try." – Jasper Stuyven.
Stage 8 Results
Stage 9: Torrevieja – Cumbre del Sol, 168.3km
What happened: The 168.3km stage from Torrevieja to Cumbre del Sol caught many of the riders by surprise. Tom Dumoulin stunned the pure climbers, heading up the steep finish to take the victory. Chris Froome (Team Sky) had launched a late attack, trying to regain the time lost on stage 7. The two-time Tour de France winner had caught and passed Dumoulin in the final kilometre, nearly sure of a stage win, before Dumoulin dug into his last reserves to close the gap and pass him just in time for the win.
Meanwhile, Esteban Chaves finished well off the pace, losing close to a minute on the stage and slipping to third overall behind Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha), who had finished five seconds behind Dumoulin on the stage. The climb and fast pace into the finish also caught out Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana (Movistar), both losing 20 seconds on the day. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) did not start, forced to abandon due to his injuries from the motorbike incident before the finish on stage 8.
He said what? "I thought I had it there for a second but Dumoulin is showing incredible form in this race and hats off to him. He's a young rider with a bright future ahead of him." – Chris Froome.
Stage 9 Results
Stage 10: Valencia - Castellón, 146.6km
Stage winner: Kristian Sbaragli (MTN-Qhubeka)
Red jersey: Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin)
What happened: The 146.6km stage up the east coast of Spain heading to Castellón was a fast one as a breakaway of 40 riders was prevented from gaining any significant gap. Kristian Sbaragli of MTN-Qhubeka triumphed to win stage 10, proving the team’s success at the Tour de France was no fluke. The Italian finished ahead of John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin), who finished second for a second time, and José Joaquín Rojas (Movistar) in third.
The pace remained high throughout the day as the group came back together with 55km to go. The otherwise flat stage was disrupted by a second-category climb only 16km to the finish. Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge) did not start the day to prevent the young rider from burning out. With Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) having abandoned as well, it was Degenkolb’s day to shine. The German sprinter was caught back, however, once the sprint had launched in spite of gaining significant ground and was unable to catch Sbaragli.
Dumoulin finished safe in the bunch behind to retain his lead heading into the first rest day of the Grand Tour ahead of Joaquin Rodriquez (Katusha) and Esteban Chaves (Orica GreenEdge) in third. Fabio Aru (Astana) continued inching his way up on GC sitting in fifth place after stage 10, ahead of Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) tied in sixth.
He said what? "It is a dream come true for me because it's been four times in this Vuelta that I've tried to do my sprint and today when I crossed the finish line, I still cannot believe it. It is a dream for me and a dream for MTN-Qhubeka." – Kristian Sbaragli.
Stage 10 Results
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