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Vuelta a Espana 2018: Stage 16


The Vuelta a Espana resumes after its second and final rest day with a pivotal 32km time trial to Torrelavega. The mountains have failed to provoke telling gaps between Simon Yates, Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde atop the overall standings, but today's test should provide a thorough reshuffling of the general classification. Alasdair Fotheringham has a thorough preview here.

Former hour record holder Matthias Brandle (Trek-Segafredo) will be the first rider down the start ramp, at 14:06 local time. Red jersey Simon Yates is the last starter, at 17:02. The full running order is here.

The general classification picture is as follows as the Vuelta enters its final phase:

Matthias Brandle (Trek-Segafredo) has rolled down the start ramp and stage 16 of the Vuelta is formally underway. Brandle's teammate Nicola Conci will not start today's time trial, incidentally. Trek have withdrawn the 21-year-old neo-professional, stating "He has spent the last two weeks gaining invaluable experience in his first Grand Tour, including stages spent in the breakaway. The decision has been made for Nicola to take some time to recover ahead of his end of season races."

There are two intermediate check points on today's parcours, the first after 10.5km and the second after 20km.

Brandle has hit that 10.5km mark in 13:11. 16 riders have started the time trial thus far, including Alex Edmondson (Mitchelton-Scott) and Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors). Rohan Dennis (BMC), the favourite for today's stage, is the 65th starter, and he will set out at 15:10 local time.

Simon Yates holds a lead of 26 seconds on Alejandro Valverde and 33 on Nairo Quintana as week 3 of the Vuelta begins. "The gaps are still small, the GC is really close, I’m not really dominating,” Yates said on the rest day on Monday. "They are all really close, the differences are only a few seconds. That may continue, and the time trial may well be very important.” Alasdair Fotheringham has the full story here.

Brandle reaches the 20km mark in 29:16. 18 riders have reached the 10.5km mark, and none have bettered Brandle's time. The closest is Jelle Wallays (Lotto Soudal), who went through 20 seconds down on Brandle.

Today's stage finishes in Torrelavega, home of the triple world champion Oscar Freire. The Spaniard, winner of the Worlds in Verona in 1999 and 2004 and in Lisbon in 2001, was the main speaker at a demonstration in Torrelavega calling for more stringent road safety laws. “This campaign is for all the victims of accidents, whether they’re cyclists, pedestrians or in vehicles,” Freire said in his speech. “It’s no longer enough simply to get upset or angry when we see how easy it is to kill in this country when the weapon is some kind of motorised vehicle.” Alasdair Fotheringham was in attendance and has more here.

A new quickest time at the 10.5km mark, set by Kasper Asgreen (Quick-Step Floors). The Dane's 12:54 is 16 seconds quicker than Brandle. Asgreen is making his Grand Tour debut after signing for Quick-Step from Continental outfit Virtu Cycling in March.

Matthias Brandle, meanwhile, has finished in a time of 40:16. The next two finishers, Max Walscheid (Sunweb) and Julien Duval (AG2R La Mondiale) did not trouble his time.

Steve Cummings (Dimension Data) has gone through the 10.5km point in 12:54, a fraction of a second ahead of Asgreen.

Asgreen scorches through the second time check in 28:14, over a minute faster than Brandle.

European champion Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal) is out on the parcours, and another contender for the win - Jonathan Castroviejo (Team Sky) - has just rolled down the start ramp.

Campenaerts has caught and passed his minute man, king of the mountain Luis Mate (Cofidis).

Rohan Dennis (BMC) is in the start house ahead of his time trial. The Australian is favourite for the win today, and this stage also doubles as a crucial pre-Worlds work-out.

Campenaerts is quickest at the 10.5km mark. The Belgian goes through 13 seconds quicker than Cummings and Asgreen. Campenaerts warms down after every road stage on his time trial bike as a means of keeping himself used to the position.

A new quickest time at the finish, meanwhile, as Asgreen is the first man to beat 40 minutes. The Dane's time of 39:07 is 1:09 quicker than Brandle.

Steve Cummings reaches the finish in 39:46, good enough for the second best time to date.

Rohan Dennis is hurtling towards the first time check after catching his two-minute man Jhonatan Restrepo (Katusha-Alpecin). He will set the quickest time by some distance.

Dennis hits the 10.5km mark in 12:11, 20 seconds up on Castroviejo and 30 clear of Campenaerts. The Australian is off to a flyer.

Campenaerts has set a new quickest mark of 28:04 at the 20km mark, but Dennis is eating up the road behind him. The latest unofficial check suggests Dennis is running 50 seconds quicker than Campenaerts and 40 faster than Castroviejo.

Castroviejo's 27:56 is the quickest time at the 20km mark, but he won't last long atop that leaderboard there - Rohan Dennis is scorching around this course and will come by that point around 45 seconds up on Castroviejo.

Rohan Dennis clocks 27:04 at the second time check to put him 51 seconds clear of Castroviejo and 1 minute up on Campenaerts. The Australian looks destined to win today's stage, as he catches his 5-minute man Mikael Cherel (AG2R La Mondiale).

Campenaerts faded slightly down the back end of the course and he hits the finish in 39:14, good enough for provisional second place, 7 seconds down on Kasper Asgreen.

Jonathan Castroviejo (Team Sky) sets the new quickest time at the finish. His 38:47 is 20 seconds quicker than Asgreen, but with Dennis due to finish shortly, Castroviejo won't have long in the hot seat this afternoon.

Rohan Dennis (BMC) sets a new quickest mark of 37:57, some 50 seconds up on Castroviejo. It's hard to see the Australian being denied stage victory this afternoon.

Dennis' teammate Joey Roskopf has the second-best time at the first check, just 14 seconds down. Nelson Oliveira (Movistar) is third quickest after 10.5km, 20 seconds behind Dennis.

Joey Roskopf reaches the finish with the second best time to date. The American time trial champion clocks 38:47, 50 seconds down his BMC teammate Dennis.

It's been a low-key outing for Richie Porte (BMC), who crosses the line in 42:12.

Nelson Oliveira reaches the finish with the fourth best time, albeit some 1:05 down on Dennis. It's hard to shake off the feeling that the battle for stage victory is over bar the shouting, as focus shifts to the GC contenders who are currently warming up at the start in Santillana del Mar.

Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) has started his effort. The Pole dropped out of the top 20 on GC over the weekend, but he seems to remain determined to race day in and day out in this final week as a test for his future possible GC aspirations.

We're into the final 20 starters. David de la Cruz (Team Sky) rolls down the start ramp. Rafal Majka, Jack Haig and Fabio Aru are next up. One imagines that Haig will be ordered to spare himself to help Simon Yates in the high mountains of the final week, though the Australian youngster is riding a fine Vuelta in his own right.

Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) sets off. From here on in, the riders start at two-minute intervals. Here is the start order for the GC contenders:

Kwiatkowski has started strongly - the Pole was just 4 seconds down on Dennis at the first time check after 10.5km.

Rigoberto Uran (EF-Drapac) has begun his time trial. Nairo Quintana has departed for the start house, while his Movistar teammate Alejandro Valverde has just finished his warm-up. 

A reminder of the top 10 on GC before today's stage: 

Thibaut Pinot (Groupam-FDJ) is the next man to start. The Frenchman will rue the time lost in the crosswinds on stage 6, but this time trial gives him a chance to move closer to the podium before the final push in the mountains.

Wilco Kelderman hits the 10km mark in 12:46, some 36 seconds down on Dennis.

Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) lies 5th at 1:29 and today's stage is a big, big opportunity for the Dutchman.

Kwiatkowski has flagged over the middle section of the course, at least relative to Dennis. He is still the second quickest, but now 37 seconds down on the Australian.

Nairo Quintana is third overall, but is the fourth-last starter as he cannot start immediately before his teammate Valverde. The Colombian rolls down the ramp to begin a pivotal stage, one that might finally settle the leadership of Movistar.

Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) is out on the road. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) readies himself in the start house to begin his effort.

Valverde has begun his effort. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) is the next to roll down the ramp. The Briton sets off in pursuit of his two-minute man.

Kruijswijk goes through the first time check in 12:05 - 5 seconds quicker than Dennis. That's a fine start from the Dutchman, who looks set to make big gains this afternoon. He is 29 seconds up on Pinot and 49 ahead of Rigoberto Uran.

Kwiatkowski finished with the 4th best time to date, 53 seconds down on Dennis.

Nairo Quintana goes through the 10km mark some 40 seconds down on Kruijswijk. He risks slipping behind the Dutchman on GC by the finish in Torrelavega.

Valverde reaches the 10km mark with the 4th best time, 17 seconds down on Kruisjwijk. This is a decent start from Valverde, who might be riding himself into the role of Movistar team leader by day's end.

Simon Yates comes through the 10km mark 20 seconds down on Kruijswijk. The Briton rode a fine time trial on the corresponding stage at the Giro in May, and he is on course to hold onto the red jersey here.

The virtual GC after the first time check has Yates 23 seconds up on Valverde, 53 ahead of Quintana, 1:03 up on Lopez and 1:09 ahead of Kruijswijk.

Pinot reaches the second time check 1:26 down on Dennis, though the more relevant points of reference for the Frenchman will come from Kruijswijk, Valverde, Quintana and Yates.

Enric Mas (Quick-Step) is producing a very decent ride. The Catalan hits the second time check with the third best time, 39 seconds down on Dennis. He is looking primed to extend his lead over Pinot on GC.

A struggling Fabio Aru finishes in 41:40, 3:43 down on Dennis. The Italian's hopes of a high finish on GC were already long over following a trying weekend.

Kruijswijk has - liked everybody else - slowed over the second portion of the course in comparison to Dennis. His time of 27:28 is the second fastest to date, 24 seconds off Dennis.

Kelderman finishes in 39:37, the 12th best time to date.

Quintana hits the second check in 29:34 - 1:30 down on Dennis and 1:06 behind Kruijswijk. The Dutchman has already moved ahead of Quintana on GC and he still has 10km left to race.

Miguel Angel Lopez is also struggling on this course. The Colombian is 1:43 behind Dennis and 1:19 behind Kruijswijk at the second time check.

Valverde hits the second check 1:03 behind Dennis and 39 seconds behind Kruijswijk. The Spaniard is on course to gain half a minute or more over Quintana, but he won't divest Yates of red today.

Simon Yates reaches the second time check in 27:52. That's the 6th best time, 48 seconds behind Dennis and just 24 behind Kruijswijk. The Briton will, barring mishap, extend his overall lead this afternoon. 

A tired Pinot loses 2:11 to Dennis at the finish, while a surprising Mas limits his losses to just 1:03 for the provisional 5th best time.

The virtual GC at the second time check has Yates 41 seconds up on Valverde. Kruijswijk moves up to third overall at 1:05. Quintana is 4th at 1:15, Lopez 5th at 1:38.

4th best time at the finish for Kruijswijk. His time of 38:48 is 51 seconds down on Dennis.

There are still four riders left to finish but we can all but confirm that Rohan Dennis has won stage 16 of the Vuelta a Espana. Simon Yates looks likely to retain his red jersey.

Quintana finishes 2:10 down on Dennis in 24th place. He loses 1:19 to Kruijswijk, and thus falls behind the Dutchman on GC.

Miguel Angel Lopez finishes 2:19 down on Dennis, and cedes 1:28 to Kruijswijk.

Alejandro Valverde's time of 39:32 is good enough for 14th, 1:35 down on Dennis. He loses 44 seconds to Kruijswijk, but gains 35 on Quintana.

Simon Yates finishes in 39:25, 1:28 down on Dennis. He gains 7 seconds on Valverde to extend his overall lead, though Kruijswijk has moved up to third overall.

Rohan Dennis (BMC) wins stage 16 of the Vuelta a Espana.

Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) retains the red jersey after placing 13th on the stage.


In the overall standings, Yates is 33 seconds up on Valverde, 52 ahead of Kruijswijk and 1:15 in front of Quintaan. Mas is 5th at 1:30, with Lopez a further 4 seconds back in 6th. There is a considerable gap back to 7th-placed Thibaut Pinot, who is now 2:54 off the pace.

General classification after stage 16:

Rohan Dennis claims his second stage win of this Vuelta and announces that he will leave the race this evening to prepare for the team and individual time trials at the Worlds. "I’m heading home now and just preparing for the time trial and team time trial at Worlds," says Dennis. "Today, I tried to control it at the start and finish and make my move in the middle section and it worked out perfectly. I knew obviously I was on a good one just looking at my power on the Garmin, but really I didn’t what Kwiatkowski and a couple of the later guys could do. All I knew was what Castroviejo was doing at the time and he’s a good indicator of if you’re doing well or not."

Dennis also paid tribute to the efforts of his teammate Joey Rosskopf, who placed second on the stage. "To be honest, the big performance of the day I’d have to give it to Joey Rosskopf. He’s the best teammate, the easiest guy to be in the back of the bus with. He got second and I’m really happy for him."

Thanks for joining our live coverage on Cyclingnews this afternoon. A full report, results and pictures are available here. We'll have more live coverage tomorrow and in the meantime Alasdair Fotheringham and Patrick Fletcher will have all of the news and reaction from Torrelavega.

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