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Vuelta a España 2015: Stage 17


Today is the only individual time trial in this year’s Vuelta. Many expect to see a new leader in the red jersey after today’s 38.7 km.

Stage 17 start times

Welcome to stage 17! Boy van Poppel (Trek) will start things off in a few minutes, as the first down the ramp.

Things are still pretty tight in GC, as we have four riders within two minutes of the lead. Nr. 4 is Tom Dumoulin of Giant-Alpecin, at 1:51; third is Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) at 1:35; second is Fabio Aru (Astana) at exactly one second; and of course “Purito” Rodriguez (Katusha) leads. A bad ride here, a good ride there – and we could see a new leader this evening!

We have 167 riders still in the race. They will take off at one minute intervals until the final 28, who have two minutes.

Race leader Joaquim Rodriguez will take off as the last rider at 16:49.

The stage has started, as Boy Van Poppel rolls down the ramp

Today’s course is basically a figure eight. The first large loop is fairly easy, but the smaller second loop is more technical, with many twists and turns. It is basically flat, with a slight rise.

The course, with start and finish in Burgos, covers 38.7 km and organizers are figuring with a time of roughly 51 minutes. There are two time checks along the way at 13.5km and 27.5km

The riders are taking the start at their one-minute intervals. If you want to know the order, here is the list with times.

Well, that's just not the way to start out. Damien Howson of Orica-GreenEdge crashed right away and needs a bike change.

Here is a look at the whole top ten in GC coming into today's stage:

We have our first two intermediate times, from 13.5 km. Zaeytens of Giant-Alpecin is through in 20.20, while Van Poppel was nearly a half a minute slower, at 20:59.

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We are starting to see some real action now. Martijn Keizer of LottoNL-Jumbo is the first to go under 19 minutes, with a time of 18:48.

Let's get back to the various race classifications. Rodriguez also leads in the points ranking, ahead of Chaves and Aru.

Omar Fraile (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) has an enormous lead in the mountain ranking, with 82 points. Fränk Schleck (Trek) is second with only 30 points and Ruben Plaza (Lampre) third at 28 points. This will not change today, as there is no ranked climb.

The riders are now coming through the second time check. The leader there is Gediminas Bagdonas (AG2R), at 33'52.

Fastest time at the first intermediate time check is Maciej Bodnar, Tinkoff-Saxo, at 18:10.

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Boy Van Poppel has crossed the finish line! He puts in a time of 53:18!

More and more riders are coming in, and now Bagdonas leads at 49:22.

Apparently Bagdonas and Van Poppel crossed the finish line together. 

Howson recovered from his early mishap to put in a good time. He is now second at the finish, only 10 seconds. down.

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Bodnar was really speeding along today! He is our new stage leader, with a time of 47:05, over two minutes faster than second-placed Bagdonas!

Tom Dumoulin of Giant-Alpecin is considered by many to be a top favourite to take over the leader's jersey today, and possibly wear it all the way to the end. The young Dutchman himself is "cautiously optimistic" about his chances.

Bodnar holds the lead at both intermediate time checks and the finish. We suspect it will stay that way for a while now.

Mikel Nieve is now Team Sky's leader, and is currently fifth overall. He really wants to hold on to that position, but admits that time trailing is not really his strength.

Steve Cummings has set a new best time at the first time check, 11 seconds faster than Bodnar.

Joey Rosskopf of BMC is now second at the finish, but still more than two minutes slower than Bodnar.

Cummings couldn't keep the high speed up. He is second at the second time check, 35 seconds down on Bodnar.

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We are over one-third done now, as 61 riders have finished.

Markel Irizar (Trek) moves up into second place with a fine finish, but there is still a lot of room to the leader.

Movistar's Eusebio Unzue is impressed by Tom Dumoulin, and compares him to the great Miguel Indurain.

Cummings has now finished with an excellent time and is the first to come close to Bodnar, at 0.36.

Niki Terpstra of Etixx-QuickStep has also hit the top three, currently third at about a minute and a half back.

We are getting some action again at last! Vasil Kiryienka (Sky) is now second at the finish, at +0:27

The main GC riders head out later this afternoon, at two minute intervals:

 Tom Dumoulin is expected to win the stage and move into the race lead. That's certainly possible but it won't be an easy task with three very motivated riders just ahead of him on GC. 

Back in the main TT at the Tour de France in 2013 Dumoulin but around 1'45 into Rodriguez. The Dutch rider has certainly upped his game since then and developed into a fine competitor but Rodriguez will start last and know exactly what he needs to do.

Geraint Thomas goes through the third time check, 1'21 down on the stage leader. That's a bit of a surprise really given the Team Sky rider's improvement against the clock in the last 18 months. He is still finding his form after a post-Tour de France break, of course.

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A decent ride from Puccio, who comes over the line in 6th place, just over two minutes down on Bodnar.

Nelson Oliveira (Por) Lampre-Merida has gone through the first time check five seconds faster than Coppel. Can the Lampre rider keep that pace up for much longer?

Thomas has come over the line and he's finished strongly, in fourth place, and 1'24 down on Bodnar at the end of the stage. 

Machado and Monfort, both respectable TT riders, set decent but not spectacular times through two intermediate check points. No changes since to the top five since Thomas came over the line in fourth. 

Right now Chaves is warming up. It will be interesting to see how he does out on the course. On paper he should lose several minutes but the top ten is quite climber heavy so he could be saved in that regard.

Nelson Oliveira (Por) Lampre-Merida, not bad, 5th at the third and penultimate time check. Bodnar is in the hot seat, waiting for Dumoulin. Probably. 

Coppel comes over the line, third at the finish and 28 seconds down on Bodnar. That's a strong performance from the French national champion as we see Pozzovivo roll down the start ramp.

And now Valverde is on the start ramp. He's not been in his Tour de France form, although he has taken a stage win already today. 

Louis Meintjes, who is going to Lampre in 2016, will be the next rider to start his time trial. There are a few spots of rain around although the clouds don't look too heavy. 

Quintana has left the start house and Daniel Moreno is up next. The Katusha rider settles on his TT bike. 3, 2, 1, and he's off too.

Chaves, all in Green is off too. Nieve is just a few seconds behind him on GC and the Orica rider is up against it when it comes to his top five aspirations. Whatever happens out there the Colombian has had a great Vuelta a Espana.

And Dumoulin is up and running. Straight onto his TT bars and neatly tucked in as he rounds the first few corners.

Majka and Aru have also started, so we just have Rodriguez left.

Rodriguez is now out on the road. 

Valverde is eighth at the first time check, so a steady start from the Movistar. The big fight for the red jersey is a few kilmoteres further down the road.

Dumoulin still fixed in his TT position, his class showing even at this early stage. We still have a few spots of rain but at the moment the roads are mainly dry.

Majka on the other hands sits far more upright on the bike but generates the power needed to propel himself forward. Rodriguez time trials like he's climbing, moving around on the saddle and twitching as if he wants to get out of the saddle.

Chaves 46 seconds down at the first check, so lets see where Nieve is in a few minutes. Majka now is on a short rise and he does get out of the in a bid to keep the pace high. 

Dumoulin is on a flat, almost downhill section and he's flying and is first at the first time check at 13.5km. 

There' still a long, long way to go but Dumoulin is the favourite for the stage win at least. Can he take red as expected too?

Dumoulin is now closing in on Nieve and he sweeps around him and is clear. Impressive ride from the Dutch TT master. He's clearly in a league of his own.

Majka has lost a minute to Dumoulin and 15 seconds to Aru. That's decent from the Astana rider at the first time check.

Further up the road and Valverde is third at the third time check but the battle for Red is raging as the GC men head towards the second time check at 27.5km.

And Rodriguez is already 1.11 down on Dumoulin at the first time check. That's at this point in the stage. Is the Vuelta done and dusted?

So provisionally the top three on GC would be Dumoulin, Aru, Rodriguez. 

You can discuss the fallout from today's action, right here in our CN forum.

Chaves was faster than Majka at the first time check. That's a surprise but a fine start for the Orica rider. Quintana now goes through the third time check in 7th. Valverde has come over the line and powerful finish to take second on the finishline. 

Dumoulin has put over two minutes into Majka at the second time check. The Giant Alpecin rider is simply crushing the opposition. 

And Aru is 1'54 down on Dumoulin at the second time gap. These gaps are huge and the Giant rider is putting all of his rivals to the sword. He gets out of the saddle for a brief moment before taking his more accustomed position. 

Quintana comes to the line and finishes 5th so far. Another impressive ride from a Movistar rider. They currently have four men in the top ten.

Rodriguez now comes up to the intermediate. What's the damage? 2'38 on Dumoulin. Can he at the very least limit his losses to three minutes on the stage?

Chaves is over the line and so too is Dumoulin. 46.01. 

The question now is much time will Aru lose? He was the best placed of Dumoulin's challengers out on the road today as Nieve comes over the line, Dumoulin having put close to three minutes into him.

Rodriguez is going to lose huge time. He's still got a long way to go as we see Majka and Aru close in on the finish. 

Majka crosses the line and loses 2'38 to Dumoulin on the stage. It's all on Aru it seems.

Aru comes through the final corners and loses 1'53 to Dumoulin. That's a very good ride from the Astana rider, who really rallied in the second half of the time trial. 

Here comes Rodriguez 3:06 down on Dumoulin. It's not a huge surprise but surely that's it for the Spaniard's chances in this year's overall. 

Dumoulin leads the race by 3 seconds from Aru, with Rodriguez at 1'15. 

1 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:46:01
2 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:04
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:08
4 Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky 0:01:31
5 Jerome Coppel (Fra) IAM Cycling 0:01:32
6 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:01:34
7 Romain Sicard (Fra) Team Europcar 0:01:36
8 Nelson Oliveira (Por) Lampre-Merida 0:01:38
9 Stephen Cummings (GBr) MTN - Qhubeka 0:01:40
10 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:01:53

The overall has been turned on its head:

So the race that looks over one minutes, and then wide open the next is once again wide open with Dumoulin with a slim lead over Aru. 

Thanks for joining us today. We'll be back tomorrow for more live coverage from the Vuelta a Espana. Meanwhile you can find our report, results and photos, right here.

Another quick look at the GC though before we:

The top three look fairly settled although the order could certainly change over the next few days. Quintana has moved up to fifth after his strong rider and Valverde is now 6th. Chaves drops down to 7th while Nieve loses three spots and is now down in 9th. 

Given what we've seen in the mountain stages of the third week it's hard to see Rodriguez coming back from this. There are not true summit finishes left but he will still have opportunities if he's wiling to take risks. 

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