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Vuelta a Espana 2016: Stage 10


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.

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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'

'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.'

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!

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.

168km remaining from 188km

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. 

A group of five riders on the attack now with a small gap...can they make it stick?

150km remaining from 188km

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

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. 

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. 

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. 

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:

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. 

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

61km remaining from 188km

59km remaining from 188km

56km remaining from 188km

Etixx-QuickStep's pace-setting has gone up a notch, and the break's lead drops to 4:17.

53km remaining from 188km

50km remaining from 188km

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

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

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

42km remaining from 188km

41km remaining from 188km

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 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

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

18km remaining from 188km

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

11km remaining from 188km

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

8km remaining from 188km

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

Gesink attacks. The Dutchman can see Rolland is a fading force and he skips clear.

Contador attacks!

6km remaining from 188km

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

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

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 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

3km remaining from 188km

2km remaining from 188km

Froome and Valverde make it over to Contador now.

186km remaining from 188km

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

1km remaining from 188km

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. 

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. 

Top 10

General classification after stage 10

"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. 

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.

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

Quintana is asked about Froome, who's something of a nemesis having got the better of him three times at the Tour de France.

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:

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 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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