Welcome to Cyclingnews’ live coverage of stage 10 of the Vuelta a España, where fireworks are expected on the HC summit finish at Lagos de Covadonga.
Hello there, and a warm welcome back to Cyclingnews’ live race centre for stage 10 of the Vuelta. And what a stage we have in prospect, with the Lagos de Covadonga summit finish – one of the Vuelta’s iconic climbs – making this the most important day of the race so far. We’ve just had two punishing summit finishes but this third chapter in the triptych is something else, and should provide a considerable shake-up in the GC going into tomorrow’s rest day.
The team buses have arrived in Lugones and the riders are going through their pre-race routines. We’re 25 minutes away from the start, with proceedings set to kick off at 12.30pm local time.
Here’s what awaits the riders today
As you can see, there’s not too much jumping out from the first 140km – though the undulating Asturian roads will nevertheless sap the legs – but the punishment then begins in earnest with the sharp Alto del Mirador del Fito climb shortly followed by the 12.2km final climb.
David de la Cruz is in the red jersey as leader of the race after his stage win on the Alto del Naranco yesterday, and Etixx-QuickStep have turned up today with a change from their normal blue colour scheme.
'A really tough climb'
We spoke to BMC's local boy Samuel Sánchez about today's final climb, and here's what he had to say:
"You always have to respect any summit finish, but the ascent to Lagos is more than half an hour long - it's a really tough climb. Coming on the tenth stage, that's going to hurt a lot - and the legs are already hurting after such a difficult start to the Vuelta."
'For well over a decade, from its first ascent in 1983 when Marino Lejarreta won there, the Lagos was considered the most emblematic climb of the Vuelta, often with decisive battles for the overall, until it was upstaged by the Angliru – which was first climbed in 1999.'
For more details about the Lagos de Covadonga climb, have a read of Alasdair Fotheringham's preview piece.
Alberto Contador at sign-on, with his left leg still heavily taped and his arm still bandaged.
We're just about to get underway
And we're off!
The riders have just rolled through the short neutralised zone and that marks KM0 and the start of the race proper.
A Bora-Argon 18 rider is the first to attack but it's short-lived. Meanwhile there's a small crash which brings down former race leader Darwin Atapuma, but the BMC man is up and running again.
As is so often the case in northern Spain, the rain is starting to fall.
We've had another crash here and this time it's a pretty big one. The peloton seems to have slowed down to allow all those affected to get back in.
Here's a reminder of what happened yesterday. Our stage 9 report is complete with results, photos, and video highlights.
Vuelta a España: De la Cruz wins on the Alto del Naranco
168km remaining from 188km
20km covered and things have settled down somewhat after a pretty frantic start.
We're hearing that Bora-Argon 18's Bartosz Huzarski has abandoned the race after that big crash. He's on his way to hospital with a suspected broken collarbone.
More casualties from that crash: Kevin Reza (FDJ) and Markel Irizar (Trek-Segafredo) were also badly hurt and have abandoned the race.
Meanwhile the racing is well and truly back on. The attacks have started once again but it's proving difficult to escape the clutches of a pacy and alert peloton. Johan le Bon and Omar Fraile try their luck but it comes to nothing.
@friebos Mon, 29th Aug 2016 11:02:07
A group of five riders on the attack now with a small gap...can they make it stick?
150km remaining from 188km
The five breakaway riders are: Davide Malacarne (Astana), Axel Domont (AG2R-La Mondiale), Pierre Rolland (Cannondale-Drapac), Yukiya Arashiro (Lampre-Merida), Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis).
And they have around 30 seconds on the peloton at the moment.
No luck for that quintet as the powers that be in the peloton bring the race back together. 41km covered.
There's a split in the peloton, possibly caused by another small crash, and there are around 30 riders off the back of the bunch. Among them is Gianluca Brambilla, who's 9th on GC.
Just under 45km covered in the first hour of racing, which is pretty swift, especially when you consider that 10-minute detente.
Worrying times for Brambilla and the rest of the riders in that group as the gap to the peloton grows out to nearly a minute.
A reminder of the GC picture after 9 stages
1 David De La Cruz (Spa) Etixx - Quick-Step 33:46:24
2 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:22
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:41
4 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:49
5 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-BikeExchange 0:01:19
6 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky 0:01:38
7 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff Team 0:02:01
8 Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC Racing Team 0:02:06
9 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:02:07
10 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team 0:02:08
Just under 60km covered now and Brambilla and co are closing the gap and should be back in contact shortly.
It's Monday, and that means it's time for the Cyclingnews Weekend Wrap.
It was a big weekend at the Vuelta, but there was plenty of top racing elsewhere and you can catch up with it all here.
More action at the front of the bunch here as four riders go on the attack before being joined by several more who are keen not to miss out.
Those attacks and counter attacks have yielded a group of 16 at the head of the race.
They are: Ben Hermans (BMC), Victor Campenaerts and Robert Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo), Dmitriy Gruzdev (Astana), Tobias Ludvigsson (Giant-Alpecin), Egor Silin (Katusha), Louis Vervaecke (Lotto Soudal), Moreno Moser, Pierre Rolland and Joe Dombrowski (Cannondale-Drapac), Vegard Stake Laengen (IAM), Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis), Jose Goncalves (Caja Rural), Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo), Jan Bakelants (AG2R), and Omar Fraile (Dimension Data).
That indeed seems to be our breakaway of the day (finally) as their gap goes out to two minutes.
The let-up in the peloton means the Brambilla group is able to rejoin.
So, after a chaotic start to proceedings, the race seems to have settled into a more familiar pattern for what remains before the two late climbs. The gap between the large breakaway and the peloton is still growing out and has just passed the three-minute mark. You can keep an eye on the race situation with our bar on the right-hand side of your screen.
Etixx-QuickStep lead the peloton and they face a tricky battle here, with Hermans the best-placed rider on GC at 4:21 down on De la Cruz. Etixx said they wanted to try and defend the jersey today, despite the brutal summit finish and the fact that a certain Nairo Quintana is just 22 seconds back.
In contrast, Movistar have twice lost the race lead after letting breakaways stay out to contest stage honours, the latest being Quintana ceding the red jersey to De la Cruz yesterday.
Here's Alasdair Fotheringham with a story on the Spanish team's approach:
Etixx bring the gap down to two minutes but it's now starting to grow out towards the three-minute mark once more. They're not being allowed too much leeway here.
44.2km/h is the average speed after two hours in the saddle.
A shot of our 16 breakaway men
The gap is hanging just below the 3:30 mark at the moment. It's pretty stable and, while Etixx continue to control, this looks like a waiting game until the final two climbs.
Cannondale-Drapac are the most strongly represented team in this breakaway, with Rolland, Moser, and Dombrowski all in there. The latter outlined the team's plans this morning:
"Our approach does not change. We want to try to win a stage like Moreno Moser did yesterday but the main thing is to work for Andrew Talansky, with Davide Formolo as our second chance."
@Vaughters Mon, 29th Aug 2016 12:56:06
3:15 is the gap after 100km of racing. Just under 40km to go before we start the first climb of the day, which spells the start of the endgame on this all-important pre-rest day summit finish stage.
It seemed Alberto Contador might abandon the Vuelta after his crash on stage 7 - it looked like the Tour de France all over again - but the Spaniard has bounced back pretty well. He put time into Froome on stage 8 and finished with the main GC contenders on yesterday's summit finish. The Tinkoff rider is still heavily bandaged and taped up, and today represents his biggest test yet ahead of the sanctuary of the first rest day.
"With Latin riders like Contador, Quintana or Esteban [Chaves], you can tell them A, B and C and they come up with D - that's the spirit I like," said Orica-BikeExchange DS Neil Stephens this morning, also giving his views on what's in store today.
"The red jersey will change hands again. We haven't done such a long climb so far in the Vuelta and we should see some epic bike riding again today. It's a climb that on paper could be quite good for our two leaders, Esteban Chaves and Simon Yates. Today we don't have a plan as such."
Etixx loosen their grip on proceedings as De la Cruz pulls over for a comfort break. The gap to the 16 leaders goes out to 4:30, making Hermans the virtual race leader.
63km remaining from 188km
Our man in Asturias Alasdair Fotheringham reminds us that today marks the Vuelta a Espana's 20th visit to Lagos de Covadonga, and it is 20 years since Miguel Indurain abandoned his final race as a professional on the road to Lagos de Covadonga at the 1996 Vuelta. And today's route, incidentally, will pass the Hostal El Capitan, where Indurain wheeled to a halt and put an end to his career.
61km remaining from 188km
The break has 5:15 in hand over the peloton as they tackle an uncategorised climb. The 16 leaders continue to collaborate smoothly, while Etixx-QuickStep keep things ticking over behind.
59km remaining from 188km
Pierre Rolland drops back for a word with Cannondale-Drapac directeur sportif Juan Manuel Garate. There are three riders in lime green in this move, but can Rolland, Dombrowski and Moser can make their numbers count?
56km remaining from 188km
The road has been rising and diving all day long, but the break has still to reach the first of the stage's two categorised climbs. The leaders will hit the base of the category 1 Alto del Mirador del Fito (6.2 km at 7.8%) in ten kilometres' time.
Etixx-QuickStep's pace-setting has gone up a notch, and the break's lead drops to 4:17.
53km remaining from 188km
Movistar are now putting their shoulder to the wheel alongside Etixx-QuickStep, and the speed in the peloton ratchets up a little further. 3:49 the gap.
50km remaining from 188km
Movistar's decision to take up the reins at this early juncture could spell disaster for our escapees. The gap drops to 3:22 on the run-in to the foot of the Mirador del Fito.
Etixx-QuickStep aren't content to leave Movistar to their own devices on the front of the peloton. The Belgian squad are continuing to contribute to the pace-making efforts on the fast approach to the Mirador del Fito.
48km remaining from 188km
Ben Hermans, incidentally, is no longer the red jersey on the road thanks to this recent injection of urgency in the peloton.
Quintana's attack on Saturday and Contador's travails last week apart, there's been relative parity among the GC contenders thus far. Speaking to Eurosport before the stage, Esteban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange) suggested that riders are looking to spare themselves for the tough final week. "We’re all being cagey at the moment," Chaves said. "We’re keeping something in the bank, nobody’s going at 100 percent because we still have the time trial and a tough couple of days before Madrid."
46km remaining from 188km
The 16 escapees hit the foot of the Mirador del Fito with a lead of 3:10 on the peloton. Moreno Moser takes to the front in a bid to breathe life into their efforts.
Victor Campenaerts (LottoNL-Jumbo) takes over at the head of the break and ups the pace on this climb in support of Robert Gesink. Movistar's forcing continues unabated behind, and the gap drops beneath three minutes.
43km remaining from 188km
There's a slight drop in intensity in the peloton on the climnb and the break's lead stretches out again slightly to 3:20. Moser and Gruzdev are distanced from the break as a grimacing Campanaerts continues his stint of pace-setting on the front.
42km remaining from 188km
Campanaerts sticks gamely to his task with 2.5 kilometres still to go to the top of the Mirador del Fito. The combination of his tempo and the drop in Movistar's urgency behind has seen the escapees shift their lead back out to 3:45.
41km remaining from 188km
Movistar were business-like in setting down a very brisk tempo on the flat-run in to this ascent, but their pace-making has been rather steadier on the climb itself. The anticipated whittling down of numbers in the peloton has not yet materialised. The gap to the break is now back up to 4:10.
The breakaway riders near the summit of this climb and it's Maté and Fraile who slug it out for maximum points. The Cofidis rider springs first but Fraile is soon across and leaves him for dead.
Those 10 points move Fraile into third in the mountains classification, with Maté now third thanks to his six.
35km remaining from 188km
The Spanish duo have maintained the lead they opened up on that sprint to the summit, and they have a lead over around 30 seconds now on their former breakaway companions.
The breakaway riders are now on the descent of the first-category climb and Pierre Rolland is dangling off the back, not looking comfortable.
31km remaining from 188km
Here's a reminder of the stage profile
Crash. It seems Joe Dombrowski has crashed towards the end of that descent. Just waiting on further info.
Fraile and Maté are reeled in on the flat and the gap back to the peloton still stands at around 4:20. That should be enough to start entertaining serious hopes of stage victory.
22km remaining from 188km
Movistar take it up on the flat behind the breakaway. Just over 10km to go until the foot of the final climb and the escapees' fate depends somewhat on the pace of the bunch in the run-up to the climb.
18km remaining from 188km
The breakaway is lacking cooperation now and the peloton is really pushing on, and as such the gap is coming down past the 3:30 mark. There's plenty of head-scratching in the break and it looks like the possibility of a stage win is fast fading.
The Lagos de Covadonga climb is a Vuelta classic, and this is the 20th time they're going up it. In fact, it bears its own similarity to Alpe d'Huez - our man in Spain Alasdair Fotheringham has more in his preview piece.
And here's what it looks like. The average gradient is 7.2% but that's taking into account the couple of short descents.
There's renewed urgency in the break as we come to the foot of the climb with just under 13km to go. 2:45 is the gap - who still fancies taking this one on?
12km remaining from 188km
The breakaway riders hit the climb and it's Gesink who takes it up before Goncalves and then Maté take over. 2:40 is their advantage.
11km remaining from 188km
Louis Vervaecke kicks off the hostilities up front as he grows bored of the steady pace. The Lotto Soudal rider quickly gets a gap with 11 to go.
Ludviggson and Felline are struggling as they drop off the back of the break, which is starting to split up under Vervaecke's impetus.
The peloton hit the lower slopes of the climb and it's Movistar who are still in control.
Rolland takes it up and bridges over to Vervaeke, drawing Silin, Maté, Goncalves, and others with him. Fraile and Bakelants dropped.
Splits in the peloton now and Chris Froome has lost ground. He has two teammates with him but they're 20 seconds off the peloton.
9km remaining from 188km
Is Froome just managing his efforts, going at his own pace, as is his wont? Or is he actually in trouble. This is a strange time to cede ground, before the pace has been really turned up.
8km remaining from 188km
Movistar, understandably, pick up the pace in a bid to make it difficult for Froome to get back on. The gap to the front of the race is down to just over 1:30
Rolland attacks from the breakaway. The Frenchman was the one to shut down Vervaeke's move and he's looking pretty strong out there. Silin is doing his best to jump across.
Froome is in regularly contact with his radio. This is pretty concerning for the Tour de France champion, who's not yet reducing the deficit. Movistar continue to pile on the pressure, and the peloton continues to thin out as a result. Froome has Lopez and Kennaugh with him.
Rolland is being pegged back here as Gesink takes it up. Silin is in tow, with Stake Laengen and Maté just behind. The rest of the breakaway men are well back.
6km remaining from 188km
Quintana, Contador and Valverde are in a very small group now and they've dropped the race leader De la Cruz. The GC race is well and truly on.
Gesink attacks. The Dutchman can see Rolland is a fading force and he skips clear.
6km remaining from 188km
Quintana responds and attacks himself!
The duo pass some of the breakaway remnants but they are clear at the front of the GC race.
Contador and Quintana are 45 seconds behind our leader Gesink. De la Cruz is another minute back and will be handing over the red jersey today, it seems. We're waiting for a latest time check on Froome, but Valverde is in between, just ahead of De la Cruz.
Froome is now solo. This has been a decent chase as he powers past Goncalves - one of the stronger breakaway remnants. He is 45 seconds behind Contador and Quintana.
5km remaining from 188km
Just over 5km to go now and Gesink still has 40 seconds. Decent ride from the LottoNL rider but the odds are still against him.
Froome seems to have rediscovered his legs and is making his way up through the field, closing down now on Esteban Chaves.
4km remaining from 188km
Quintana and Contador hit one of the plateaus, still with some of the breakaway men like Rolland and Silin trying to cling on. 35 seconds is the gap to Gesink. just under 40 seconds back to Froome.
The clouds are closing in towards the top of this climb and there's drizzle in the air as the riders battle with these ever-changing gradients.
Froome drops Chaves and now reaches Valverde and goes straight past him. The Spaniard sprints to get on the Sky man's wheel.
Froome is now just 20 seconds behind Contador/Quintana. What a recovery.
3km remaining from 188km
Quintana and Contador receive the news and they both get out of the saddle and drive again.
Quintana picks it up and opens up a gap on Contador. He puts in that move just ahead of one of the short descent sections.
Gesink leads the race
Quintana is chasing at 35 seconds
Contador is a few seconds back with some of the breakaway remnants
Froome and Valverde are 20 seconds back
3km remaining from 188km
Quintana's attack sees him close the gap on Gesink in no time. He has the Dutchman in his sights.
2km remaining from 188km
Quintana makes it over to Gesink and sails by.
Froome and Valverde make it over to Contador now.
186km remaining from 188km
Quintana has 30 seconds here as Froome, Contador, and Valverde look at each other.
Contador is dropped!
And Froome drives once again in a bid to shake off Valverde. What an astonishing ride from the Sky man, who was in trouble so early on on this climb and has had to do this all from the back foot.
1km remaining from 188km
Quintana is riding his way to the stage win and the red jersey. 30 seconds is his gap still.
1km remaining from 188km
Flamme rouge for Quintana. Impressive stuff from the Colombian. He's set to pick up 10 bonus seconds, so could be in for a haul of a good 40 seconds.
Quintana ducks down before the final spike to the line and then gets out of the saddle. He's giving it everything for every second.
Quintana wins stage 10 of the Vuelta
Here comes Froome. He's with Gesink.
Gesink takes second and with it the six bonus seconds. Froome crosses third for four bonus seconds, but 25 seconds down on Quintana.
Contador ships 1:05 to Quintana, crossing the line just behind Chaves.
Riders coming across the line in dribs and drabs. De la Cruz comes in now 3:15 down, and he'll have to hand his red jersey straight over to Quintana.
@DickinsonTimes Mon, 29th Aug 2016 15:27:56
The Lagos de Covadonga did not disappoint. Great racing there, and after suggesting he was the strongest man in the race two days ago, Quintana emphatically reinforces that notion.
1 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 04:50:31
2 Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 00:00:24
3 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 00:00:25
4 Omar Fraile (Spa) Dimension Data 00:00:28
5 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
6 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana Pro Team
7 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-BikeExchange 00:01:02
8 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff Team 00:01:05
9 Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-BikeExchange 00:01:09
10 Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 00:01:11
General classification after stage 10
1 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 38:37:07
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 00:00:57
3 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 00:00:58
4 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-BikeExchange 00:02:09
5 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff Team 00:02:54
"Nobody forget it. Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde: TWO FRIENDS," cries the Movistar Twitter account, with this photo of the pair embracing.
That's Quintana's first stage win at the Vuelta, and marks a full set of Grand Tour stage victories. He was in the driving seat at the Vuelta two years ago before that time trial crash and is once again the big favourite now. There's a time trial coming up later in the race, where Froome will be a threat, but there are plenty of mountains to come, too.
We have a brief report with some photos live on the site. More to come shortly, along with full results and highlights.
Vuelta a Espana: Nairo Quintana wins stage 10
And Alejandro Valverde moves into the lead of the points classification, to go on top of his second place overall and the Movistar one-two.
What a remarkable season the Spaniard is having. 3rd at the Giro, 6th at the Tour, and now 2nd at the Vuelta so far. He may well fade as the race goes on - but that's what everyone was saying at the Tour.
@Lotto_Soudal Mon, 29th Aug 2016 16:00:39
Quintana's performance was emphatic put what about Froome? He was in trouble so early on the final climb, but after a chase with a couple of teammates he absolutely ripped his way through the field and was dealing blows to Contador, Valverde, and Chaves in the final few kilometres. We've seen him fall away and then come back - especially at the Vuelta - but that was remarkable.
It seems a long time ago now but opening hour or so of today's stage was marred by crashes, with Markel Irizar (pictured), Kevin Reza, and Bartosz Huzarski all forced to abandon the race.
Quintana speaks to Spanish TV
"What I felt today gives me more confidence to keep fighting and defending this jersey. I had very good sensations, my team worked really well, and I was motivated to win the stage. I’ve always dreamt of winning here and today I’ve managed to do it.
"[On the final climb] I felt good. I saw that there weren’t many of us left – the rhythm, set for us by Ruben Fernandez was really good. Then the attacks came and I went with Alberto."
Quintana is asked about Froome, who's something of a nemesis having got the better of him three times at the Tour de France.
"He’s still very close when you look at what’s to come. We’re going to have to keep doing what we’ve been trying to do up until now to distance him further because with that time gap he’s still the favourite."
Quintana is referring to the 37km time trial on stage 19, and when asked how much of a gap he'd need over Froome, he jokes and says three minutes.
"I’ve always had confidence in my ability. At times I’m better [than Froome], at other times worse. But at the moment I feel better than him and that’s a real boost."
There's no action tomorrow as the race reaches its first rest-day but this is set to be a big week at the Vuelta with three summit finishes left ahead of next Monday. The first comes straight after the rest-day in the form of Peña Cabarga on Wednesday before a pair of mouthwatering stages on the weekend.
Fancy a read of our full report, a perusal of the full results and a flick through a photo gallery? You can find all that right here:
Vuelta a Espana: Nairo Quintana wins stage 10
We'll also have video highlights of the stage for you soon. Definitely one to watch - even if you saw it live the first time round.
That's all from us for today. Keep an eye on Cyclingnews.com for all the latest from the Vuelta. Rest-day tomorrow, but we'll be back with full live coverage of stage 11 on Wednesday. Thanks for joining us today, and see you then.
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