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Vuelta a Espana 2017: Stage 9


Hello and welcome to live coverage from stage 9 of the Vuelta a Espana

This stage is essentially the Vuelta's winter training camp preview of the Costa Blanca. The road is seaside promenade flat apart from the Alto de Puig Llorença, hit twice, at 134km and then in the finale when the race carries on to the line at Cumbre del Sol, with sections up to 20 per cent. Tom Dumoulin won here in 2015, over Chris Froome.


And we return here with Froome in the race lead. Here's the GC standing coming into today's stage:

1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 32:26:13
2 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-Scott 0:00:28
3 Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing Team 0:00:41
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:53
5 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:58
6 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:01:06
7 David De La Cruz (Spa) Quick-Step Floors 0:01:08
8 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott 0:01:18
9 Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac 0:01:41
10 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin 0:01:57


We're around 15 minutes away from the rollout, with riders currently signing on as the sun beats down on them once again. We're in for another hot one.


We've a similar stage to yesterday with a long flat opening section before a final climb that will put the GC contenders to the test. Dumoulin won here two years ago and it's a punchy finish that suits the stronger riders but the pure climbers will fancy their chances too. It will be interesting to see if the break can stay away as they did yesterday.


The big news from this morning, however, surrounds the Cannondale Drapac team. On Saturday the riders and staff were told that they could find new teams with Slipstream Sports in financial difficultly. They are short of around $7 million USD, and have said that a sponsor had dropped out for next year. It's a massive blow for the 28-rider team and the rest of the staff. 


Pierre Rolland has come out to say he was shocked by the news - which is understandable, while Rigoberto Uran, who was second at the Tour de France, has given the team two weeks to secure their future. A number of teams are interested in signing the rider.


The 174km stage here is virtually flat all the way until the finale. We do have the second cat climb of the Alto de Puig Llorena before another flat section, and then the final climb to the finish.

One rider who is still in the mix but has shown signs of weakness when Froome and Contador kick in the mountains is Nibali. 


"I feel good, but it was difficult to stay with Froome and that's all there is to it," Nibali told a small group of reporters after stage 8. "Today was a very different climb to Wednesday's, much steadier and more suited to me as a racer, compared to the other day when I suffered a bit more. I tried to defend myself as best I could, but I was missing a bit."


Find out what else the former Vuelta winner had to say after yesterday's action, right here


And news just in, Team Sky have confirmed that they've signed  Egan Bernal. The Colombian just wrapped up the overall in the Tour de L’Avenir.


“I always dreamed of being with this team. I never thought the opportunity to join would come this fast, so to sign for Team Sky is a dream come true.

“My first goal with Team Sky is to learn. I want to learn from my teammates and take advantage of the experience
that there is in the team.

“I’m excited to be joining Team Sky and I want to contribute as much as I can.”


Back to the Vuelta and we're up and running. The riders are almost done with the neutralized zone and the flag should drop in the next few minutes.


We spoke to Michael Woods before the start of the stage. This is what he had to say on the Cannondale siutation:


“It’s a total bummer, but it’s not over yet, JV and the Slipstream Sports management are still working on getting sponsors,” Woods, the team’s best placed GC rider, said.

“So it’s not a done deal at all. I found out the news on Friday and it resulted in a bit of a sleepless night and even me making some pretty bad tactical decisions yesterday. I got excited and wanted a result so bad for the team that I got anxious on teh climb and attacked a bit too early with [Alberto] Contador (Trek-Segafredo) and then blew up.”

“So obviously I’ll have to be cooler today. [But even] with the team morale down, we’re still rallying around each other, though, still want to represente our sponsors well, and we’re still excited to


And we're officially racing stage 9 of the Vuelta. We've covered 13km of the stage and although there have been a few attacks, none of the moves have stuck yet. 172km to go.


The attacks keep coming but so far nothing has really stuck. We do have six riders up the road right now, and they hold a slight advantage over the peloton. They are: 


Federico Zurlo (UAE Team Emirates), Arnaud Courteille (FDJ), Stéphane Rossetto (Cofidis), David Arroyo (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Stefan Denifl (Aqua Blue Sport) and Bernardo Suaza (Manzana Postobon)


Having missed the move Cannondale Drapac hit the front and they've closed the move down. They're clearly intent on making an impression today and who can blame them. 


The injection of pace from Cannondale has subsided and now it's Oss and Saez who try and break free but now Movistar hit the front and shut that one down too. With the rest day coming up a lot of riders are looking to make it into the break. 


So after 16 of racing the bunch are back together. Team Sky will be keeping a watchful eye on the race, making sure that no serious threats make it into the break of the day. 


Susan Westemeyer will now take over with live coverage. 


 And I arrive just in time to report that we may have the break of the day! 

Markel Irizar (Trek-Segafredo), Marc Soler (Movistar), Marco Haller (Katusha-Alpecin), Bert-Jan Lindeman (LottoNL-Jumbo), Tobias Ludvigsson (FDJ), Anthony Turgis (Cofidis), Lluis Mas and Diego Rubio (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Conor Dunne (Aqua Blue Sport) and Ricardo Vilela (Manzana Postobon) have gotten away and 20 km into the stage, have a gap of 1:16.

146km remaining from 174km

The gap jumped to 2:20, but that was too much for Cannondale and UAE Team Emirates, so they led the chase to bring it back down to 1:40.


And only 2 km later, the gap has creeped up to 2:05.

It is another hot and sunny day -- 26°C to 28°C, with winds of 14-16 km/h.


 131 km still to go, and the gap is now at 2:50.

As we said, young Colombian sensation Egan Bernal will ride for none other than Team Sky next year. You can read more about signing here. 


And handing back to Dan Benson!



 This morning before the stage, Adam Hanson met with Bernardo Ruiz. The 92-year-old had the previous record for most consecutive Grand Tours, until the Australian broke it. Ruiz rode 12 in a row, Hanson is now doing number 19.

122km remaining from 174km

The gap has now hit the three minute mark.


 Perhaps not as strong as yesterday's break but there's still some reasonable firepower in the move with Izizar, Soler and Haller to name but a few. They're struggling to push the gap to the bunch out to more than three minutes though and that's the sort of gap they'd need for the final climb if they're to stand a chance at winning. 

If anything the lead is starting to come down, and it's at 2'56 with 115km to go. The leaders are working well together but the bunch are keeping them in check as we go through the first 90 minutes of racing.


It's all Drapac on the front, who control the field with their entire squad working. It's a real show of intent, not just for this race but the team's very survival. Yesterday the riders were told that the team could fold in the coming weeks as they're short of funds - by around $7 million. 


The team have just confirmed that they've set up a sort of pre-donation page, so if you're interested in keeping the team going, and donating, you can register your interest here


102km remaining from 174km

102km to go and the break is at 2'27 so they've lost around 30 seconds in the last 10km of racing.


Inside the final 100km of racing now and the break respond, putting another 20 seconds in the main field but they're going to need more than three minutes as we get closer and closer to the climbs. Again, it's all Cannondale Drapac on the front of the bunch.


In terms of the GC this is all handy for Froome. He can save his team for the final two climbs as Cannondale Drapac continue to set the pace on the front of the peloton. Orica and Trek can also sit back and just concentrate on protecting their leaders. 


Big day for Chaves, actually. He's still second on GC but he cracked yesterday and couldn't follow the moves from Froome and Contador. He needs to show he can match those two today. He's 28 seconds off the lead. 


90km remaining from 174km

Inside the final 90km and the situation is the same - the break have 2'40 and it's Cannondale Drapac on the front and setting the pace. 


Someone with too much time on their hands - and perhaps some underlying issues in their personal life - has written 'I love Benidorm' on a beach as the race goes by. It's essentially a 50 foot long cry for help.


The break has 3'06 with 82km to go.

Long, long flat roads continue as we head towards the first climb of the day. 


A reminder of how things stand coming into the stage:


1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 32:26:13
2 Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-Scott 0:00:28
3 Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing Team 0:00:41
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:53
5 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:58
6 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:01:06
7 David de la Cruz (Spa) Quick-Step Floors 0:01:08
8 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott 0:01:18
9 Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac 0:01:41
10 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin 0:01:57
11 Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team 0:02:03
12 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:02:13
13 Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 0:02:29
14 Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott 0:02:34
15 Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky 0:02:40
16 Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:02:42
17 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Trek-Segafredo 0:03:10


Cycling's best, worst and strangest victory salutes - Gallery |

@Cyclingnewsfeed Sun, 27th Aug 2017 13:47:19

In terms of the dynamic between Froome and Contador the race leader has called on the Trek rider to work with him in the future if they drop their rivals. Here's what Froome had to say after stage 8


The gap has moved back out to 3'16. That's the best it's been for the break on what's been a tough day in the saddle so far. The terrain has been flat but we've had heat, and a relentless pace from the start. 68km to go.


We're close to the first climb and Cannondale Drapac have upped the pace before we hit the second category climb. 66km to go and the gap is at 2'58. 


The break try and react and line out in single file. There can be no missing turns at this point for the leaders. 


The bunch are also lining out as we head through Calpe - where so many teams train during the winter. The bunch push on and the gap is down to 2'41 with bang on 60km to go. It's still Cannondale setting the pace with Sky, Orica and Bahrain just behind them 


The gap is starting to dip closer to two minutes as Cannondale Drapac continue to control the main field. We can see Froome start to move up, along with his teammates, and BMC Racing are bringing van Garderen into the action as well. Up ahead and we've got an acceleration from Ludvigsson (FDJ) but he's quickly brought back. He was trying to lift the pace rather than giving it a full-on attack.


49km remaining from 174km

A lot of responsibility and faith on Woods' shoulders today. His team have been on the front for most of the stage and he'll be leading the line for the American team once we hit the final ascent. The gap has dropped to 1'57 with 49.9km to go.


And now we see Trek Segafredo bring Contador to the front. He'll be thinking about the stage win, rather than the GC picture today and he has the legs to pick up what would be his first win of the season. He's one of the few riders - if perhaps the only one - who has dropped Froome so far in the race.


Stannard pushes to the front and leads the entire Team Sky unit in his wheel. The break take on a few extra drinks but they lose another ten seconds off their lead. Stannard is going to lead the bunch all the way to the foot of the second category climb. 


And we hit the climb and it's Ludvigsson (FDJ) who hits the front first. He looks back and can instantly see the damage he's caused. Izizar and Dunne are both dropped. And now Mas attacks with Ludvigsson trying to chase him.


The bunch are climbing as well with the gap down to 1'36 and 44km to go. The break has totally blown apart as Froome and the rest of the bunch rise out the saddle almost in unison due to the gradient. Up front we have Mas Ludvigsson and Viella clear of the field. 


The leading trio fight the gradient but they're also fighting a losing battle as the road rises once more. The bunch have slowed, however, and that allows the leaders to pick up  few more seconds. 


Soler has made it back to the leaders so we've got four men up front, with 1.2km to climb. Soler is taking up the pace duties on the front in fact as Team Sky control the peloton. They're all relatively fresh as Lopez takes over for them. 


And Soler and Ludvigsson have kicked clear of the rest of the break and have built up a lead of around 8 seconds.


We can see Dennis second row for now as he works for Roche and van Garderen. The Australian is working towards the Worlds later in the year but also has the TT to target later in the race. 


Up ahead and Soler and Ludvigsson are battling on but the gradient is really kicking in. 


And two riders from AG2R have attacked from the bunch. I don't think that's Bardet as the bunch crest the top of the climb. We've another 30km or so of flat roads as.... it is Bardet pushes on alone.


Yes. 81. That's Bardet. He's clear with 35km to go but he needs to bridge up to the leaders who are 1'40. If he was in top shape he would wait for the final climb. If he was in top shape then the bunch wouldn't let him go. 


Back with the bunch and Cannondale move to the front once more. Soler and Ludvigsson are still leading the race and they're holding the advantage at 1'49 with 33km to go. 


No time gap for Bardet just yet but he's got a lot of work on his hands as he tries to hold off the bunch and try and catch the leading groups out in front. Cannondale have been on the front for most of the stage and they're still there, with two riders setting the pace.


#LV2017 32km to go & the peloton is 1'35" behind the head of the race. We can expect fireworks at the end of today's stage!

@BMCProTeam Sun, 27th Aug 2017 14:56:01

26km remaining from 174km

Almost into the final 25km of the stage and the peloton have the two leaders at 1'06. No sign of Bardet but I'm almost certain he has been caught. Only Soler and Ludvigsson are left out there. 


Team Sky have lined out behind Cannondale, with Trek, BMC and Bahrain all in the mix. It's been a relatively easy day for Froome but that's about to change as we head towards the final climb of the race. It's short, it's punchy and we're going to see more fireworks. 

The bunch line out under the pressure and pace setting from Cannondale but the race hasn't really come to life just yet. That will all change soon enough as we move closer to the last ascent. The gap to the leaders is holding at 52 seconds. 


Less than 20km to go and the gap drops by another 10 seconds. It's at 40 seconds as the clouds gather overhead. The rain should hold off, however we Trek and BMC flank either side of Team Sky. 


The bunch can see the two leaders up ahead, with only 30 seconds separating them with 18km to go. 


15km remaining from 174km

15km to go and the two leaders aren't throwing in the towel just yet. They still have 30 seconds but the climb is less than 10km away. 


Trek have tried to pick up some bonus points at the intermediate sprint. They're not giving up winning this race are they? 13km to go and the final two Cannondale riders continue to set the pace. Trek are moving up in numbers, however. 


Cannondale, BMC, Trek, and Team Sky boss the front of the peloton with 11km to go. The two leaders hold their 35 seconds lead but they're on a short rise before the climbing really starts. 


Inside the final 10km of the stage and we've 33 seconds between the leaders and the peloton. Still cant' see them holding on as we move closer and closer to the final ascent. They'll lose that time in just a few hundred meters of climbing. 


Sunweb move Kelderman to the front of the back with 7km to go. The road rises now but we're not yet officially on the final climb. It's a sprint into the foot of the ascent as we see Orica bring Chaves towards the head of affairs.


And Soler is carrying on alone as the road continues to rise, he's the last man standing from the break as Team Sky lead the bunch into the foot of the final climb to the line.


And Soler  is caught. That looks like Moscon setting the pace for Froome as the road flattens for a brief moment. 


Moscon has left his team behind and he has to wait for the rest of the Team Sky train, as Contador drifts to Froome's rear wheel. 


Jungles is there too but it's all Team Sky on the front   as we start to climb again.

Aru, Nibali and Froome are all there. Contador has ground to make up. 


Chaves is there, and Bardet and they're all looking at each other.


And Bardet has attacked. He's gone clear with Mas. 


They have a gap with 3.3km to go.


Nothing from Contador yet. He's not in the action just yet.


And a Movistar rider has joined the front with Bardet and Mas.


These three have a gap now as Sky set the pace. Froome still has three men with him.


And Bardet goes agin. He can't drop the other two with him though.


He pull up. He can't afford to slow like that if he wants the stage. 


Contador now looks to be back on Froome's wheel, with Aru and Woods there as well.


None of the GC men have been dropped yet as Carapaz goes again. He's alone and clear and looking good. 


2km to go for Carapaz , who has eight seconds with Bardet caught but then attacking again.


Bardet comes back to Carapaz but they only have a few seconds on the Froome bunch. 


And Bardet goes for a fourth time.


But Nieve is dragging him back for Froome.


That's Froome's last man. 


Contador and Froome are just waiting. So too is Aru and van Garderen, and Woods.


1,5km to go and Bardet is about to be caught.


He's done and Nieve leads Froome and Contador and then the rest of the group. 1.3km to go.


Bardet dropped. 


Nieve is still leading with 1.1km to go. 


Froome lets a gap open up. Here we go. 


Then he closes it. He looks at Contador but still no attacks.


They come around a left hand corner and attack from QuickStep.


It's de la Cruz but Froome closes it down. Contador holds his wheel with Woods 


De la Cruz is leading but drops and Froome goes 


Contador cant go with him and Froome is clear. 


Chaves is forced to chase.


Woods is there too.


Chaves catches Froome.


Froome goes again.


Froome opens his sprint.


And Froome takes it.


Froome takes the win. Chaves was second with Woods in third. Great leadout from De La Cruz. 


Contador came over the line with a group of other contenders but he had no answer when Froome lifted the pace. Contador was well placed but simply couldn't respond.


Froome now leads the race by 36 seconds from Chaves. 


It looks like Contador came over the line in 6th place on the stage. Not the result he was looking for ahead of tomorrow's rest-day.


Results#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult 1Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky4:07:13  2Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-Scott0:00:04  3Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac0:00:05  4Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb0:00:08  5Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin   6Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Trek-Segafredo0:00:12  7David de la Cruz (Spa) Quick-Step Floors   8Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb   9Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing Team0:00:14  10Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida   General classification after stage 9#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult 1Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky36:33:16  2Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-Scott0:00:36  3Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing Team0:01:05  4Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida0:01:17  5Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team0:01:27  6David de la Cruz (Spa) Quick-Step Floors0:01:30  7Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:01:33  8Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac0:01:52  9Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott0:01:55  10Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin0:02:15 

Strong rides from Kelderman, and Oomen up in the top ten but Aru was among those that really faded. A good ride from Roche too, who keeps his third place on GC.


Here's our brief report, images and results from the stage.


Here's our brief report, images and results from the stage.



Here are some quotes from the stage winner:


“I put everything I had into that last couple of hundred metres. I was determined that they weren’t going to catch me.

“I’m really, really happy to get the victory. The team did a brilliant job on that final climb and set such a good tempo.

“After a week we couldn’t have asked to be in a better position. It’s been a fantastic start to the Vuelta. The legs are feeling great. I’ve been to the Vuelta so many times, trying to target this race, and so far it feels like everything is going really well.


A little  look further down the stage results:


11 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:17
12 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:19
13 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team
14 Jack Haig (Aus) Orica-Scott 0:00:23
15 Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:27
16 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott
17 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:29
18 Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky 0:00:55
19 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:09
20 Louis Meintjes (RSA) UAE Team Emirates


You can find our complete report, video highlights and results, right here. We'll be back on Tuesday with complete live coverage from stage 10.

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