Hello and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage 11 of the Vuelta a Espana.
Stage 10 report
Here we go. The riders are about to begin what has been described as the hardest ever stage in a Grand Tour.
The riders have completed the neutralised section and the flag has dropped. Here we go!
We already have the first attacks as riders try yo get in the early break of the day.
The peloton is lined out behind s the riders immediately face the first climb of the stage.
There are reports that Joe Dombrowski (Cannondale-Garmin) crashed in the neutralised section.
There are reports that Chris Froome also crashed.
He is getting some assistance from his team car after seeming to hit a low piece of traffic furniture. He seems okay but that is a tough start to the stage for the Tour winner.
Up front, with the race, on, none of Froome's rivals are waiting for him to get back on.
Froome is spinning his usual low gear, trying to get back in the peloton without going into the red.
@sporza_koers Wed, 2nd Sep 2015 11:44:26
Froome is riding through the teams cars, passing riders who have been dropped.
The first climb is 9.8km long and has been specially asphalted for the Vuelta.
Called the Beixalís Collada, it is a category 1 climb.
The peloton is lined out across several long sections and curves. Froome is at the back with two teammates.
Upfront Romain Sicard (Europcar) and Darwin Atapuma (BMC) have pushed clear at the front.
Some of the hairpins at at 14% and we have more attacks as Astana mass near the front.
Three riders have joined Atapuma and Sicard, with others trying to get across.
The peloton is split into six groups behind, with Froome in the last one at the moment.
@Lotto_Soudal Wed, 2nd Sep 2015 11:59:16
Fraile is clearly looking to score points at the top of the first climb to extend his lead in the mountains competition.
Froome seems nervous, shouting and swearing at the TV motorbike that went a little too close to him.
Fraile takes the sprint an collects more points. The five riders are on the descent and pushing on.
The first group has also passed the summit but the main peloton is still climbing.
@MeridaProRoad Wed, 2nd Sep 2015 12:01:29
Riders grab bottles over the top. Feeding will be vital between the climbs.
Seven riders are chasing the five attackers at 10 seconds, with the peloton a further 15 seconds back.
15km remaining from 138km
The next climb comes after 32km. It is the Coll d'Ordino. It's 9.9km long at 7%.
Atapuma is at the back and seems nervous on the twisting descent.
The seven chasers are: Javier Moreno (Movistar), Matteo Montaguti (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Ian Boswell (Team Sky), Pawel Poljanski (Saxo-Tinkoff), Dario Cataldo (Astana), Alberto Losada (Katusha), Ruben Plaza (Lampre-Merida) and Damien Howson (Orica-GreenEdge).
But the race comes back all together, with a new attack from Oliveira
@TeamSky Wed, 2nd Sep 2015 12:16:29
Astana and Movistar are leading the peloton, as Froome moves up on the outside.
We stand corrected. The group remains out front. Movistar placed two riders in there, forcing Astana to lead the chase.
Even though Astana also has a rider up front.
Race leader Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) is hiding in the peloton, trying to save energy and keep the leader's red jersey.
There are 16 riders up front. many placed their for tactical reasons that will come to play later in the stage.
Before the important attacks come later in the stage, listen to our special podcast to hear what Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford says about Froome's chances at the Vuelta.
The British manager also talks about the transfer market.
Click here to listen to the podcast.
112km remaining from 138km
The Ordino climb is starting to bite now. The peloton is a minute behind.
110km remaining from 138km
The front group is lined out and includes 19 riders. The peloton is at 1:30.
The team cars are trying to move up past the peloton to get to the breakaway. The peloton is still pretty large despite the tough first climb.
@MeridaProRoad Wed, 2nd Sep 2015 12:37:36
With the pace now steady, Joe Dombrowski (Cannondale-Garmin) has dropped for medical attention from the race doctor.
The break is 2km from the summit. Their gap has opened to 1:35.
Fraile is sprinting for mountain points again but Ruben Plaza is trying to take him on.
Plaza gets it and then the two ease up and wait for the break. Their lead is 2:10 before the begin the long descent to the foot of the third climb.
According to reports in Spain, Nairo Quintana has been ill in the last few days but his team claim he is now fine. We will see if that is true later in the stage.
The riders in the front group include: Nelson Oliveira, Darwin Atapuma, Matteo Montaguti, Javier Moreno, Romain Sicard, Omar Fraile, Pawel Poljanski, Alberto Losada, Mikel Landa, Damien Howson, Jerome Coppel, Cyril Lemoine, Imanol Erviti, Carlos Verona, Rubén Plaza and Ian Boswell.
Other later arrivals during the second climb include Geoerge Bennett (Lotto NL - Jumbo), José Gonçalves (Caja Rural - Seguros RGA) and Mikael Cherel (AG2R - La Mondiale).
Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) helped design today's stage.
"There won't be any surprise. It's a stage for riders like Froome, Quintana, Alejandro, Aru, Landa or myself. It's one of the hardest stages ever held. Perhaps the hardest since the Giro stage in the snow in 2011," he said.
"Every climb has something special and what makes it harder is that is so short. There's no flat section. And we'll spend half of the stage at more than 1,700 metres. It's hard but the riders who love this kind of effort will enjoy themselves."
95km remaining from 138km
The descent has caused some problems for Atapuma and he is at the back of the breakaway group.
To learn the details of the stage, checkout our special preview by Alasdair Fotheringham.
Click here to read the text.
Riders are getting into tight aero tucks on a fast downhill section. Fast but also risky.
Esteban Chaves (Orica-Greenedge) thoughts on the stage are pretty simple: "Purito (who designed the course) is crazy. The stage should have been held over two days. Seriously I think it suits riders like me, Purito or Nairo. We're all looking forward to this stage."
The 19 riders in the break are:
Nelson Oliveira and Ruben Plaza (Lampre-Merida) Darwin Atapuma (BMC), Matteo Montaguti and Mikael Cherel (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Javier Moreno and Imanol Erviti (Movistar), Romain Sicard (Europcar), Omar Fraile and José Gonçalves (Case Rural-Seguros RGA), Pawel Poljanski (Saxo-Tinkoff), Alberto Losada (Katusha), Mikel Landa (Astana), Damien Howson (Orica-GreenEdge), Jerome Coppel (IAM Cycling), Romain Hardy (Cofidis), Carlos Verona ( Etixx-Quick Step), Ian Boswell (Team Sky) and George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo).
Will any of them be able to stay away until the finish? The gap is up to 3:00 now.
85km remaining from 138km
The riders are back in Andorra La Vella meaning the next climb will start in just six kilometres.
Neil Stephens (Orica GreenEdge team director) know it is a big stage for the Chaves.
"It is on paper one of the hardest stages I've ever seen. It's exciting. Then as you know well, all depends on how the riders will race. Esteban feels good, it's another test for him but it's a test for all the top riders and he is one of them. Cameron (Meyer) is normally the rider who is meant to stay with him as long as possible but there will be a time when Esteban will find himself on his own. But so will the others."
Froome seems more relaxed and comfortable in the peloton after his crash and chase on the first climb.
At the front Imanol Erviti (Movistar) has edge clear of the break on the fast descent. He seems to be enjoying himself out alone.
80km remaining from 138km
The break has started the climb, with Erviti leading by 40 seconds.
The Coll de la Ribassa is 13.8km long at 6.6%.
Behind Team Sky is leading the peloton. This climb could see the race explode.
@IAM_Cycling Wed, 2nd Sep 2015 13:21:31
The break has opened a gap of 4:30 but nobody is really keen to work to drag the break along.
@TeamSky Wed, 2nd Sep 2015 13:26:12
Team Sky manager spoke about the team's Vuelta ambitions in out special podcast.
Click here to listen to him talk about Froome and about this season's transfer market.
Dave Brailsford (Team Sky manager) said:
"It's an exciting stage, very unpredictable. It's going to be about three-and-a-half hours of climbing and you cannot climb for so long at full speed. It will be up for every rider to decide how he's planning to ride it. Some may chose to ride it aggressively, others more conservatively. Also on such a stage cars will never be too close to the race and punctures, wheel changes or mechanicals could have more impact than usual. Stages like this are pretty unique. And it will be up to who adapts best to a unique situation. Chris had a bad day the other day but it was not alarming. You can never tell how a rider will react after riding the Tour."
Race leader Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) has been hiding in the peloton so far.
"It's maybe the hardest stage I'm ever going to ride," he said.
"We'll see. I think it's going to be hard for everyone. It's something huge to go from 35 degrees and humidity to 10 or 15 degrees. Everybody will have some problems with it. I' don't think I'll react differently from anybody else. Today I'm going to stop thinking and go for it."
Behind riders are dropping out of the back of the peloton. They will join forces and work to finish inside the time limit.
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) admitted he is struggling to lift his arm after his crash the other day but he is determined to fight on along with Quintana.
"It would have been better for this stage to come at another time but it's the end of the season for everybody. I didn't know it and I must say it's very impressive," he said.
"The average percentage for the stage is around 8 and 9 pc. It's brutal. On such a hard stage, you must be a 100 pc. Nairo and I are good and motivated. In mountain stages like this, there are several options. Attack one after the other, move early on or on the last climb. My crash was serious but I'm not looking for excuses. It could be better, I can hardly raise my arm. I hope it won't be a problem. If I win, I will only raise one arm."
Despite all the climbing, the average speed for the first two hours has been 31.5 km/h.
Erviti is pushing on alone on the climb. He leads the break by 1:00, with the peloton at 4:30.
The whole Team Sky squad is on the front of the peloton.
Erviti takes his musette in the only real flat section of the stage, near the top of the Rabassa climb.
Behind several riders attack from the break but they are quickly pulled back.
65km remaining from 138km
Team Sky and especially Christian Knees is leading the chase at the head of the peloton.
The roads are dry but the low clouds are shedding drops of rain on the descent.
The peloton reaches the summit of the Rabassa, some 4:25 behind Erviti. The race has yet to explode.
Erviti took the most points on the Rabassa climb but Fraile was second and so took more points to defend his blue polka-dot jersey.
58km remaining from 138km
The Vuelta has now covered three climb, three ore to go, in the final 50km.
Next up is the Collada de la Gallina. It is tough at 11.7km and an average of 8.5%. This is the point when the GC riders make their move.
This is the result for the Rabassa.
1 Omar Fraile (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
2 Romain Sicard (Fra) Team Europcar
3 Nelson Oliveira (Por) Lampre-Merida
4 Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) BMC Racing Team
5 Jerome Coppel (Fra) IAM Cycling
Erviti has sat up and been caught on the descent, meaning there are 19 riders in the break.
The Gallina climb is the only Hors Category climb of the stage.
Erviti is with Hardy and Montaguti, just ahead of the break as the Gallina kicks up.
50km remaining from 138km
There is exactly 50km left to race.
@Lotto_Soudal Wed, 2nd Sep 2015 14:16:39
The Vuelta continues until September 13 and the Tour of Britain starts at the weekend.
Check out the Team Sky line-up by clicking here.
The break and the peloton is seeing rider suffer and drop back.
Jerome Coppel (IAM Cycling) is trying to go clear of the break but others are chasing him.
Coppel has been joined by Boswell, Poljanski and Sicard.
They have been joined by Landa and Atapuma.
The peloton has yet to explode and is slipping backwards as the break strengthens.
We've recorded a new Cyclingnews podcast with an exclusive interview with Dave Brailsford.
Click here to listen and subscribe via iTunes so you never miss a podcast.
With the peloton at 5:20, Romain Sicard (Europcar) has become the virtual race leader but he has a long way to go.
The peloton is down to 70 or so riders as the Gallina climb and Team Sky's pace hurts
It is also raining now, making the stage even harder.
Knees finally eases up after all his work for Froome and Sky. now it is up to his teammates.
Upfront Landa has accelerated clear. He is targeting the stage victory.
The rain is falling hard now. The descent could be wet too.
Froome is surprisingly off the back behind the peloton. He is suffering.
Froome seems to be suffering, perhaps after his early crash today. Naturally Astana is not easing off and hits the front to up the pace.
Froome is being guided by Thomas but he seems unable to follow at any kind of speed.
@Movistar_Team Wed, 2nd Sep 2015 14:41:06
Froome is already 40 seconds down on the peloton.
Race leader Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) is still in the peloton.
Former Team Sky rider Dario Cataldo is leading the Astana team on the front of the peloton.
Froome is suffering and is 1:20 back.
Landa has joined by Atapuma, Fraile, Poljanski and Sicard at the head of the race as they near the summit of the Gallina climb.
The Astana pace has shaken out the peloton, with only 20 or so riders left in the group.
Froome calls for his team car.
Up front Fraile has again taken maximum points at the top of the Gallina. He's strengthened his grip of the climber's jersey.
Froome has dropped back alone, leaving his teammates in the chase group. He is with he race doctor.
The doctor seems unable to offer him any help and he is now at the Team Sky car.
Thomas is again with Froome as the peloton crests the climb.
They start the descent on dry roads.
Froome takes a musette at the summit which could mean he will continue in the stage.
The descent is steep and twisting. Atapuma is struggling yet again.
Froome must be happy to begin the descent.
Riders are taking risk on the descent with race motor bikes sadly getting in the way.
31km remaining from 138km
Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) is still in the reduced peloton and seems able to defend his race lead.
Valverde and Rodriguez have pushed ahead of the peloton on the descent and are not waiting for the Astana riders.
Valverde and Rodriguez now both have teammates with them after they dropped back from the break of the day. A clever and well executed tactic. Valverde has Erviti, while Purito has Dani Moreno.
They have opened a gap of 30 seconds. The race is on!
Behind Aru only has Cataldo to help him with the chase.
Purito also has Losada to help with the push forward.
Of course Valverde and Rodriguez do not get on but are united in their efforts today to distance Aru, Dumoulin and any other GC contenders.
Thanks to a huge effort by Cataldo, Aru gets up to Valverde and Rodriguez.
Chaves (Orica) and Quintana are also up there but Dumoulin is still further behind as they start the short fifth climb.
Froome is fighting on behind but seems to have injured his left shoulder. There are signs of blood coming through his jersey.
The Cat 2 Alto de la Comella is only 4km long but climbs at 9.5%.
21km remaining from 138km
The stage is only 138km long but the massive amounts of climbing has hurt the riders.
Pozzoviov has dragged the Dumoulin group back up to Valverde & Co.
They are 2:00 behind the attackers.
But the pace is going up as we enter the final 20km of the stage.
The break of five have crossed the summit of the Comella but the chasers and GC contenders are hunting them down.
The gap is just 2:00.
Landa was first over the Comella and leads the five onto the final climb to the finish at Alto Els Cortals D'Encamp.
The climb is 8.7km long at a painful 9.1%.
Upfront are Landa, Sicard, Boswell, Poljanski and Oliviera. Mountains leader Fraile has been distanced.
12km remaining from 138km
The gap remains steady at 2:00. Astana seems happy to let Landa try to win the stage.
There are 20 riders in the chase group or main peloton.
Tinkoff-Saxo team owner Oleg Tinkov is very angry after hearing that his rider Sergio Paulinho was involved in yet another motorbike accident.
He has tweeted: "I'm considering now to take the team off the #Vuelta2015 . Boycott #ASO for this. They pay us NO money for the race and even damage riders."
9km remaining from 138km
Landa pushes clear from the break.
Dumoulin is still with his GC rivals as the kilometres tick down
Behind Luis Leon Sanchez is setting the pace for Astana and Aru as the climb begins in earnest.
Here we go!
Aru attacks from the peloton.
He blows the group apart, with Chaves and Dumoulin dropped.
But Valverde and Pozzovivo are distanced.
Only Rodriguez and his teammate Dani Moreno are with Aru.
@Lotto_Soudal Wed, 2nd Sep 2015 15:49:47
Chaves tries to go across the gap but Dumoulin is suffering.
Aru, Purito and Moreno are going away, with Quintana also suffering.
Quintana is trying to go across the gap as Valverde struggles and is unable to go with him.
Dumoulin is leading the chase but is losing time. He is 30 seconds down on Aru and Rodriguez now.
5km remaining from 138km
Upfront Landa still leads by 2:00. He is fighting to win the stage.
And Aru attacks again!
He is spinning his gear as Rodriguez seems unable to go after him.
Quintana is alone and takes a bottle of water an pours it on his head. He does not seem able to go after Aru or Rodriguez.
Remember to stay with us after the stage finish for further reports, photos and rider quotes.
We will have all the reaction and expert analysis after this terrible mountain stage around Andorra.
Aru started the stage 1:13 down on Dumoulin but could gain enough time to take the race lead.
3km remaining from 138km
The big Dutchman is a minute down at the moment.
Astana are perfectly placed with Landa going for the stage win and Aru gaining time on his GC rivals.
Rodriguez is suffering down the road from Aru. He seems to have ran out of energy.
Aru has caught Boswell, who was in the break of the day. The American is trying to stay with the Italian.
Valverde has been distanced by Dumoulin and Chaves. Quintana is somewhere between Aru and the Dutchman.
2km remaining from 138km
Aru is 1:40 behind his teammates but is focused on gaining time on his GC rivals and try to take the red leader's jersey.
Aru is close to being virtual race leader now.
1km remaining from 138km
Last kilometre for Landa. Astana is about to land its first goal of the day and win the stage.
There are also 10,6, 4 second time bonuses at the finish today.
@Etixx_QuickStep Wed, 2nd Sep 2015 16:08:23
Here comes Landa.
Landa punches the air to celebrate his stage victory.
Aru will be the next to finish.
He finishes 1:21 back, giving Astana a 1-2.
Ian Boswell finishes third after being in the break all day.
Here comes Chaves and Dumoulin but the Dutchman will lose his leader's jersey to Aru.
Quintana finishes more than two minutes down on Aru.
Riders are crossing the line in small groups or individually. It has been a tough, tough day.
Here is the provisional top ten on the stage. Check out the time gaps.
1 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team 4:34:54
2 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:01:22
3 Ian Boswell (USA) Team Sky 0:01:40
4 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:01:57
5 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:01:59
6 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:02:10
7 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky 0:02:10
8 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica GreenEdge 0:02:59
9 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:02:59
10 Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:03:02
@TeamMTNQhubeka Wed, 2nd Sep 2015 16:17:21
Here comes Froome. He's fighting to finish.
Froome finishes 8:40 down.
Check out the new general classification, with Aru in red.
Rodriguez is second overall at 27 seconds. Dumoulin is third at 30 seconds.
Valverde slips to sixth at 1:52, with Quintana at a distant 3:07.
General classification after stage 11:
1 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 43:12:19
2 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:00:27
3 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:00:30
4 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:28
5 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica GreenEdge 0:01:29
6 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:52
7 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:01:54
8 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky 0:01:58
9 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:03:07
10 Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka 0:04:15.
@GiantAlpecin Wed, 2nd Sep 2015 16:22:39
Stay with us on live post stage for reaction from the riders and analysis.
Froome slumped to the ground when he reached the Team Sky car and then limped to the front seat of the car. He look tired and hugely disappointed.
Team Sky's GC hopes are in tatters after the stage. Michel Nieve is perhaps the best placed rider but is a pure climber and will lose time in the time trial.
Nieve is now eighth overall at 1:58.
@robhatchtv Wed, 2nd Sep 2015 16:29:58
@Cyclingnewsfeed Wed, 2nd Sep 2015 16:29:22
Geraint Thomas revealed that Froome said he hurt his foot during his crash but wanted to fight on. It seems Froome also hurt his left knee and shoulder.
Tom Dumoulin admitted that he suffered a lot during the stage and made the mistake of losing time on the descent of the Gallina climb after putting on his rain jacket.
He describes the TT as a second chance of a stage win and a chance to take back time on his rivals.
Fabio Aru (Astana) made a point of praising his teammates after they worked os hard to help him set up his attack that gave him the race lead.
“The team was incredible today. This morning we agreed that Landa would go for the stage and he managed to get into the right break and went on to win what was a really difficult stage,” he said on Eurosport post stage.
“I’ve got to thank the whole team who worked for me. Vanotti, Rosa, Cataldo, Zeits and Luis Leon all did some incredible work for me. It was a real demonstration of strength and I’m really happy to be in the leader’s jersey. There’s still 10 stages to go and so we’ll take things day by day but we’ll try to defend it.”
Tom Dumoulin lost the leader's red jersey but took the combined white jersey. He admitted he suffered on the roads of Andorra but was not too downbeat.
"I suffered. I spent too much energy on the downhill of the 4th climb because I was putting my rain jacket on. I lost some positions and I was behind a gap in front of me, and I couldn’t close it. That was really a mistake, I lost some energy there and that was not necessary," he told Eurosport.
"But I think I did well, I lost the jersey but I think that’s normal on a day like this. I didn’t really surprise myself like with that win [on stage 9]. I think in the Tour de Suisse for example I could also do something like this. But still I’m happy with my shape and my position in GC."
"That [the time trial on stage 17] is still my biggest chance of a second victory here. And also a possibility if I’m still in GC to take some time back on the important contenders. But first we’re getting some more mountain stage this week so I still have survive those then we’ll see after the rest day."
Check out our full stage report and photo gallery from today's stage at the Vuelta.
We also have images of Sergio Paulinho after he was apparently hit by a television motorbike during the stage. He needed 17 stitches in a leg wound.
Click here for the full report.
@katushacycling Wed, 2nd Sep 2015 16:46:05
Team Sky has yet to communicate if Chris Froome will continue in the Vuelta after his crash and loss of time.
We will have full details on any decision from Sky on Cyclingnews. Check bak later today.
Teammate Geraint Thomas rode with Froome for much of the stage and revealed how Froome suffered.
“He obviously had a heavy crash, he said his foot was quite bad, but he said his legs were ok," he told Eurosport.
"On that special category climb he was starting to suffer when Astana really lit it up. He got dropped then, I was about to get dropped myself anyway so I sat up waited for him. He seemed to come round on the last climb but we just had to keep going. Froomey always keeps fighting."
"I think he was certainly suffering, certainly in pain. But that’s Froomey - he keeps fighting, he doesn’t want to give up. He’s still in the race, he can still go for stages, but obviously its disappointing to be out of the GC. I think Mikel [Nieve] is still there or thereabouts, but not a good day for Froomey."
Ian Boswell's day in the breakaway paid off with his best professional result so far. The 24-year-old, who is riding his first Grand Tour, is in his last year of a three-year deal with Sky, so his timing is good.
Earlier this year Boswell finished third during the Queen stage at the Tour of California while helping teammate Sergio Henao limit his losses to stage winner Julien Alaphillipe (Etixx-QuickStep).
The UCI has responded to the open letter sent by BMC Racing General Manager Jim Ochowicz calling for a review of rider-safety issues, especially the recent rash of incidents with race motos.
Check Cyclingnews later today for the latest news on the subject.
After today's epic stage, tomorrow's 172.5km route from Andorra to Lleida will seem light by comparison. The stage features just one categorised climb that comes about 55km into the day. From there it's mostly downhill, leading into what will likely be bunch finish.
Chris Froome spoke with reporters falling the stage, saying he just tried to hang on for dear life after his crash. Read more here.
And don't forget there's more racing today as the Tour of Alberta begins tonight with a team time trial in Grande Prairie.
Earlier today Jolien D'Hoore won her second consecutive stage at the Boels Rentals Ladies Tour in the Netherlands. We've got results, a report and photos HERE.
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