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Vuelta a Espana: Rodriguez wins stage 15 in Jitu de Escarandi

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) moved to within a second of Fabio Aru’s (Astana) race lead with a captivating win on stage 15 of the Vuelta a Espana.

The Spaniard dropped his main GC rivals on the final climb and although Aru gave chase, along with Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo), he was unable to close the gap with Rodriguez picking up a precious 10-second time bonus courtesy of his win. Majka crossed the line in second, with Aru fading at the line.

Rodriguez finished the stage 12 seconds clear of Majka, with Daniel Moreno taking third ahead of Nairo Quintana (Movistar). The Colombian climber had put his team to work for most of the stage after he was able to claw back a handful of seconds on Aru during stage 14. Quintana even managed a stinging attack with 10km to go, but Astana were quick to spot the danger, reeling in the Tour runner-up.

Astana then assumed control and bridged over the remnants of the day’s early break, but despite the pace setting from Aru’s men and then from Movistar’s Giovanni Visconti, the main GC favourites remained grouped together.

Tom Dumoulin’s position looked precarious, however, with the Giant-Alpecin rider hanging onto the leaders as they went through the 7km to go banner. When the inevitable came he set about limiting his loses. At first he held the Aru group at a manageable 20 seconds, but when Astana lifted the pace he was unable to respond and the gap quickly opened out to over a minute.

Quintana’s second attack, however, failed to materialise and it was Rodriguez who assumed control as the gradient kicked up inside the final 2km. There wasn’t a sudden acceleration – the terrain wouldn’t allow for that – just a move to the front and push on the pedals that had his rivals on the back foot. Quintana cracked immediately, with only Aru and Majka able to give chase.

Rodriguez had started the stage 26 seconds down on the Italian but despite Aru holding the gap at just a few seconds, Rodriguez’s power soon began to tell, and with Aru in trouble Majka kicked around him and moved into second place.

Quintana, Landa and the impressive Chaves found a second wind and joined Aru just before the line, with the Italian having just enough to hold onto the leader’s jersey by a single second.

It was Dumoulin who truly saved the day. Having been close to 1:20 down on his rivals, he clawed his way back to 50 seconds at the line. Although he dropped a place, with Majka moving up to third, the Dutchman is still on course for a podium place with the stage 17 time trial on the horizon.

How it unfolded

After yesterday’s exploits and a break successfully contesting the stage win for the second day in a row, expectations were high for today’s break.

However, even making the split must have felt like a victory in itself with almost 50km needed before a nine-man move of Blel Kadri (AG2R - La Mondiale), Ricardo Vilela (Caja Rural - Seguros RGA), Dominique Rollin (Cofidis), Brayan Ramirez (Colombia), Nikolas Maes (Etixx - Quick Step), Natnael Berhane (MTN - Qhubeka), Pierre Rolland (Europcar), Maarten Tjallingii (Lotto NL - Jumbo), and Haimar Zubeldia (Trek Factory) could officially call themselves the break of the day.

The terrain in the first few hours looked ideal for the them to push on and create a healthy advantage, but Movistar – buoyed by Quintana’s performance 24 hours earlier and well aware that time was against them in this race, set a brisk tempo behind.

It meant that the break struggled to establish a significant gap, and despite their best efforts they were never able to build on more than a five-minute lead.

In fact, those five minutes only came inside the final 60km with Rollin leading them over the first categorised climb of the day.

Once the group reached the foot of the final climb their advantage was just over two minutes with Movistar still on the front.

Only Zubeldia managed to put up any firm resistance, holding the chase at one minute while the rest of the break succumbed.

Movistar called a halt to their work with 10km remaining, and Quintana’s inevitable attack threatened to turn the race on its head, but Luis Leon Sanchez marked him and the rest of the Astana men dragged Aru back within the space of a few hundred meters. It would be the only time Quintana attacked.

Not that Movistar were done there. They issued Visconti with instructions to set an energetic tempo with 5km to go, and even though Dumoulin was dropped soon after and Aru appeared to be on briefly on the ropes, it was Rodriguez who almost ghosted clear the take the stage.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Team Katusha4:33:31
2Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo0:00:12
3Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha0:00:14
4Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team0:00:15
5Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team
6Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team0:00:18
7Jhoan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica GreenEdge0:00:20
8Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Team Sky0:00:24
9Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team0:00:29
10Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale0:00:41
11Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka
12Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin0:00:51
13Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:01:04
14Kenny Elissonde (Fra) FDJ.fr0:01:15
15Fabrice Jeandesboz (Fra) Team Europcar0:01:22
16Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Team Sky0:01:31
17Ian Boswell (USA) Team Sky0:01:36
18Andre Fernando S. Martins Cardoso (Por) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
19Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step0:01:56
20Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek Factory Racing0:02:01
21Alex Cano Ardila (Col) Colombia0:02:16
22Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo0:02:18
23Romain Sicard (Fra) Team Europcar0:02:36
24Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team0:02:47
25Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:02:49
26Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Etixx - Quick-Step0:03:08
27Jesper Hansen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo0:03:28
28Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:03:39
29David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:03:41
30Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:04:05
31Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana Pro Team
32Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Team Katusha0:04:15
33Rodolfo Andres Torres Agudelo (Col) Colombia0:05:26
34Lawrence Warbasse (USA) IAM Cycling
35Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar0:05:54
36Maxime Bouet (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step
37Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling
38Ricardo Vilela (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:06:39
39Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale0:06:50
40Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Astana Pro Team0:06:55
41Nelson Filipe Santos Simoes Oliveira (Por) Lampre-Merida0:07:06
42Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
43Lawson Craddock (USA) Team Giant-Alpecin0:07:39
44Dominique Rollin (Can) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:08:46
45Natnael Berhane (Eri) MTN - Qhubeka0:08:49
46Tiago Machado (Por) Team Katusha0:10:31
47Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Team Katusha
48Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
49Ramirez Chacon Brayan Stiven (Col) Colombia0:10:52
50José Gonçalves (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:10:55
51Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar0:11:28
52Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:13:10
53Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sky0:13:27
54Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:14:43
55Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:14:56
56Arnaud Courteille (Fra) FDJ.fr0:15:06
57Youcef Reguigui (Alg) MTN - Qhubeka0:15:10
58Jerome Coppel (Fra) IAM Cycling0:15:14
59Biel Kadri (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:15:44
60Jaco Venter (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka0:16:30
61George Bennett (NZl) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:16:42
62Koen De Kort (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin
63Benjamin King (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
64Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team Europcar
65Joseph Lloyd Dombrowski (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
66Nikolas Maes (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step0:16:50
67Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Team Katusha0:17:01
68Javier Moreno Bazan (Spa) Movistar Team0:17:06
69Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team0:17:33
70Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Trek Factory Racing
71Johan Van Summeren (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
72Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
73Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal
74Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Soudal
75Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) IAM Cycling
76Leonardo Fabio Duque (Col) Colombia
77Juan Pablo Valencia (Col) Colombia
78Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Trek Factory Racing
79Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team
80Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing
81Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin
82Bertjan Lindeman (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
83Thierry Hupond (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin
84Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
85Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team
86Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge
87Tsgabu Gebremaryam Grmay (Eth) Lampre-Merida
88Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Team Europcar
89Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
90Jay Mccarthy (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo
91Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R La Mondiale
92Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Soudal
93Jerome Cousin (Fra) Team Europcar
94Martin Velits (Svk) Etixx - Quick-Step
95Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Col) Colombia
96Peter Velits (Svk) BMC Racing Team
97Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
98Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar Team
99Riccardo Zoidl (Aut) Trek Factory Racing
100Mickael Delage (Fra)
101Pieter Serry (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step
102Simon Pellaud (Swi) IAM Cycling
103Marcel Aregger (Swi) IAM Cycling
104Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Lampre-Merida
105Kristijan Durasek (Cro) Lampre-Merida
106Pavel Kochetkov (Rus) Team Katusha
107Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky
108Omar Fraile Matarranz (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
109Carlos Barbero Cuesta (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
110Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) BMC Racing Team
111Martijn Keizer (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
112Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin
113Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
114Antoine Duchesne (Can) Team Europcar
115Laurent Pichon (Fra)
116Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
117Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky
118Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky
119Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
120Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Colombia
121Kévin Reza (Fra) FDJ.fr0:18:04
122Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:18:13
123Murilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) FDJ.fr0:18:16
124Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:18:25
125Timo Roosen (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
126Pavel Brutt (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo0:18:53
127John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin0:19:54
128Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky
129Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo
130Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo
131Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:20:17
132Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica GreenEdge0:20:19
133Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
134Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica GreenEdge0:20:30
135Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Giant-Alpecin
136Olivier Le Gac (Fra) FDJ.fr0:20:31
137Zico Waeytens (Bel) Team Giant-Alpecin
138Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Team Katusha0:21:22
139Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing Team0:22:07
140Stephen Cummings (GBr) MTN - Qhubeka0:22:30
141Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team0:24:01
142Rory Sutherland (Aus) Movistar Team
143Jay Robert Thomson (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka
144Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica GreenEdge
145Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory Racing
146Walter Fernando Pedraza Morales (Col) Colombia
147Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN - Qhubeka
148Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
149Yohan Bagot (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
150Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
151Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team
152Tony Hurel (Fra) Team Europcar
153Johann Van Zyl (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka
154Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal
155Damien Howson (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
156Alex Howes (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
157Joseph Rosskopf (USA) BMC Racing Team
158Songezo Jim (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka
159Iljo Keisse (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step0:24:18
160Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:24:21
161Carlos Julian Quintero (Col) Colombia0:24:23
162Niki Terpstra (Ned) Etixx - Quick-Step0:24:29
163Ilia Koshevoy (Blr) Lampre-Merida0:24:31
164Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida0:24:54
165Valerio Conti (Ita) Lampre-Merida0:24:56
166Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:26:23
167Boy Van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory Racing

Intermediate sprint - 131.8 KM
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Nikolas Maes (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step76pts
2Dominique Rollin (Can) Cofidis, Solutions Credits56
3Ricardo Vilela (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA49

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Team Katusha181pts
2Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo201
3Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha186
4Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team125
5Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team21
6Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team23
7Jhoan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica GreenEdge141
8Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Team Sky6
9Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team121
10Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale11
11Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka133
12Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin174
13Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Soudal113
14Kenny Elissonde (Fra) FDJ.fr81
15Fabrice Jeandesboz (Fra) Team Europcar168

Mountain 1 (Cat. 2) Alto Del Torno - 115.1 Km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Dominique Rollin (Can) Cofidis, Solutions Credits56pts
2Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar161
3Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo196

Mountain 2 (Cat. 1) Sotres - 175.8 Km
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Team Katusha181pts
2Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo201
3Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha186
4Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team125
5Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team21

Most aggressive rider
Rider Name (Country) Team
Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Team Katusha

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Movistar Team13:44:04
2Team Sky
3Team Katusha0:00:58
4Astana Pro Team0:01:07
5Tinkoff - Saxo0:02:27
6Team Europcar0:06:21
7Etixx - Quick Step0:07:27
8Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:10:28
10Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:15:10
11Ag2r La Mondiale0:18:56
12MTN - Qhubeka0:21:09
13Team Giant - Alpecin0:21:41
14IAM Cycling0:23:03
15Lotto Soudal0:28:16
17Team Cannondale - Garmin0:31:29
18Orica GreenEdge0:31:55
19Trek Factory Racing0:33:36
20Lampre - Merida0:38:41
21Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:45:27
22BMC Racing Team0:53:42

General Classification after stage 15
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Fabio Aru (I