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Vuelta a España stage 15 - Live coverage


Good morning and welcome to our live coverage from stage 15 of the Vuelta a Espana.

We are about a five mins from the roll out but there's a hefty neutralized zone so the official start isn't for another 20 minutes or so. That means you've got time to make a cup of tea, feed the cat, make your excuses to the family (and the cat) and tell them you have some important work to catch up on, and then join us for another mountain stage at this year's Vuelta a Espana.

Stage preview

This is another critical day for the GC contenders and another that is treading on new ground in the mountains. There are four first-category climbs on the menu, with the Puerto del Acebo as the main focus because it is tackled twice, the second time continuing beyond the pass to reach the monastery that lies 200 vertical metres above it.

The stage starts in western Asturias in Tineo and heads south-west to Cangas del Narcea for the first ascent of the Acebo. Averaging seven per cent for 8km, there are frequent changes of gradient, with long stretches close to double figures. After descending very quickly back to Cangas del Narcea, the route heads south-west again to start a big loop at La Regla.

Two of the region's best known climbs feature on this loop, both regular features in the Tour of Asturias stage race. First up is the Puerto del Connio, almost 12km at 6.2 per cent, with the gradient only a fluctuating a little either side of that mark, which will suit the grimpeurs-rouleurs like Primoz Roglic. At 1,315 metres, this summit is the stage's highest point.

Stage preview 2/2

After dropping into the valley beyond, the riders soon start to ascend the intriguingly named Puerto del Pozo de las Mujeres Muertas, which has nothing to do with dead women but is actually a mistranslation into Castilian Spanish of an Asturian phrase describing local rock formations. Similar in distance and gradient to the Connio, it's much more irregular, steep at the bottom and again near the top, with a plateau in the middle.

The riders will drop down to La Regla and continue back to Cangas del Narcea to climb to the finish at the Santuario del Acebo. They come at it from the much steeper side of the pass that they descended earlier in the day. Averaging 9.7 per cent for 8km, it begins fiercely, eases off after 1,500 metres, then kicks up steeply again for 2.5km before evening out to a steady nine per cent for the final 3.5k.

(Image credit: Vuelta)

So the peloton have rolled out from the start and they've begun the long neutralized section of the today's route. We should be racing, racing in about 20 minutes or less. Roglic is there at the front in his red jersey, while Quintana and Valverde are there too. No sign of Lopez who must be further back in the pack. Yesterday was all about the sprinters, well Bennett really, but today it's the GC and climbers who will decide the stage. 

Here's how the GC stacks up heading into today's stage. Roglic has a healthy lead at this point and it's catch up for everyone else. Another dominant ride from the Jumbo Visma rider and this Vuelta could be wrapped up  - bar disaster - by the end of the day.

(Image credit: Daniel Benson)

Still a while before the flag drops and we've officially racing on stage 15 of the Vuelta a Espana but here's our report, images and results from yesterday's action. It was a pretty dull stage - lets be honest - until the final few kms. Don't worry the report isn't very long.

And today we're asking who do you think is the best sprinter of the year so far. We could only fit four options in the poll and it would have been a waste to have 'D. An other', so no complaining. Just vote. Fingers crossed the Tweet below shows up...

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It worked. How genuinely exciting. About ten minutes until the flag drops and the stage starts.

By the way there are no wrong answers to the question below but there are three answers, that if you picked, would leave me very disappointed in you. No pressure.

Two non-starters to report today with Luka Mezgec out due to that terrible crash at the end of yesterday's stage, and Patrick Bevin out as he preps for the Worlds later in the month. Our report on yesterday's huge crash is just here.

The first phase of the stage is relatively flat but we'll still see a number of early attacks before we reach the first climb of the day of the Puerto del Acebo, which is is cat 1 at 8.2km in length. It's the same climb the riders will do before the finish in a few hours time.

It will be interesting to see what UAE do today with Pogacar up to third overall. He was involved in the fall yesterday but he's third on GC and arguably the second strongest rider in the race on present form. Will his team fire men up the road in order to draw a reaction from Jumbo Visma? We'll see.

Wow. An electric start to the stage with a flurry of attacks off the front of the bunch. We've now got 14 riders clear with a small gap on the peloton.

Knox, King and Navarro are three of the riders on the attack. King won two stages in last year's Vuelta but hasn't taken a win since then. Can he break that duck today?

Not on this evidence, as the peloton react and are about to close the gap to the early attackers. It's been a frightfully quick start to the stage already. 147 of 154km to go.

Fuglsang is the next rider to go on the attack and once more Knox, who is riding well on GC, goes with the move. Movistar look intent to get in on the action as well. It's non-stop attacking at the moment. 

Five riders try their luck this time and the gap moves out to around 10 seconds but the bunch are hot on their heels. We've already covered 10km of the stage. 

Puerto del Acebo

(Image credit: Vuelta)

Below, that's where we're heading and we have five leaders clear. Mark Padun (Bahrain-Merida), Sander Armée (Lotto Soudal), Vasil Kiryienka (Team Ineos), Casper Pedersen (Team Sunweb) and Jesus Ezquerra (Burgos-BH) have 1'09  over the chasing field with 138km to go.

Movistar are taking the race by the scruff of the neck. First they fire a rider up the road, that's marked by Jumbo Visma but then the Spanish team try again. Even with the break up the road the peloton haven't eased off as Movistar look to isolate Roglic as quickly as possible. We're not even on the first climb of the day.

The break have just hit the first climb, and the peloton are at 1'24. It's all Movistar on the front right now and they're going at full throttle. This is gripping stuff. 

Movistar are drilling the pace and we've still  got 131km to go. They've reduced the gap to the break to just 1'15 but their real aim is to put Roglic under pressure and to try and isolate him as quickly as possible. The Spanish team have set a pace that has caused panic at the back of the bunch with a number of riders already dropped. One of them is Jakobsen.

It looks as though the bunch is about to split in two and we've only really just started the first climb. 6km to go until we reach the summit as rider after rider slips off the back of the main field. 

Jakobsen is pedalling squares and he doesn't have a teammate in sight. He can still see the main field up ahead so he should be okay if he can just ride at a steady tempo and then try and close the gap on the descent. At the moment we have six Movistar riders on the front and there's no let-up at all.

Smit is the next rider to slip back as even the break start to struggle. Kiryenka, who used to ride for Movistar, leads the five-man move as they continue to lose time. The gap is down to 55 seconds with 130km to go.

Movistar lose a rider from the front so they're down to five and that includes Valverde and Quintana but they've dropped a couple of Jumbo Visma riders too. Boasson Hagen has been dropped and he's in a big group that has just been detached from the peloton.

Soler has gone clear of the main field with 128km to go and a couple of riders have gone with him. 

We're just over 2km from the summit and it looks like the five-man break are about to joined by the Soler group. In fact there are just four riders at the front as the Soler group swells to four. Movistar have of course eased up and now it's Jumbo Visma who are called into action at the head of the peloton.

Ineos have two riders in the lead group now with Geoghegan Hart having followed Soler. So we now have about eight riders at the front of the race and they have 18 seconds but there are still riders attacking Jumbo Visma. At least Roglic has four men with him. 

All the work at the front is being done by Soler who has clearly learned from his antics earlier in the race. 1.1km for the leaders but it looks from the blimp that this race could come together on the descent. 

Riders all over the road as Soler crests the summit with just two riders on his wheel. He's burnt everyone else off. The bunch head over the climb around 15 seconds later. 125km to go.

We have a new group of five at the front. Soler and Geoghegan Hart are both there as we see several teams help Jumbo Visma with the chase. There are only about 30 riders in the Roglic group due to carnage we saw on the first ascent of the day.

Lightening quick descent for the riders as we see Soler try and get the rest of the break to contribute. Roglic is down to just two men at the moment as more and more riders attack him on a brief uphill section that breaks up the descent. Roglic should be concerned even though there's still a long way to go. 

Kuss has been sent up the road to mark a four-man move that includes a rider from Astana. 120km to go with just 11 seconds between the Soler group and Roglic.  

The second group on the road contains: Ion Izagirre (Astana Pro Team), Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma), Óscar Rodríguez, Sergio Samitier (Euskadi-Murias).  Kuss is just at the back and marking the move. He'll be hoping they bridge to the leaders and he can just sit at the back of that group for as long as possible.

And the merger between the Kuss group and  the Soler group is about to happen with 117km to go. The gap  is just a handful of seconds. 

The six riders at the front of the race are: Mark Padun (Bahrain-Merida), Marc Soler (Movistar Team), Sander Armée (Lotto-Soudal), Tao Gheoghegan Hart (Team Ineos), Ruben Guerreiro (Katusha-Alpecin) and Vasil Kiryienka (Team Ineos).

Padun leads the break on the long and technical descent. He looks class on a bike and the rest of the break are struggling to keep in touch. Meanwhile, a few more riders  have managed to come back to the Roglic group.

112km to go

Mark Padun (Bahrain-Merida), Marc Soler (Movistar Team), Sander Armée (Lotto-Soudal), Tao Gheoghegan Hart (Team Ineos), Ruben Guerreiro (Katusha-Alpecin), Vasil Kiryienka (Team Ineos), Ion Izagirre (Astana Pro Team), Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma), Óscar Rodríguez, and Sergio Samitier (Euskadi-Murias) lead the race with 112km to go but their advantage is just 15 seconds. 

Kuss knows the score and just sits at the back of the group and refuses to take a turn. He takes on some food as we see another counter attack with five more riders looking to jump clear. Craddock is there for EF Education First. 

We're on a flat section at the moment but we're heading to  the Puerto del Connio. The leaders of ten have 21 seconds with the five chasers just behind.

104km to go and the pace has dropped at the front of the peloton. That means that the break can push on and  they have 1'57. There are several riders trying to bridge however.

Roglic has four men on the front of the main field as we see Valverde coming back through the cars. The gap to the ten leaders is now at 3'10 with 101km to go.

A level of normality has been restored with Jumbo Visma on the front with Astana, Movistar and UAE all gathered behind them. Out front all the leading groups have come together just before we start the first climb of the day. The full list of riders at  the front of the race courtesy of ASO are:

Marc Soler (Movistar Team), Quentin Jauregui (AG2R La Mondiale), Ion Izagirre (Astana Pro Team), Mark Padun (Bahrain-Merida), Pawel Poljanski (Bora-Hansgrohe), Lawson Craddock (EF Education First), Sander Armée (Lotto-Soudal), Tsgabu Grmay (Mitchelton-Scott), Ben O’Connor (Team Dimension Data), Tao Geoghegan Hart, Vasil Kiryienka (Team Ineos), Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma), Dani Navarro, Ruben Guerreiro (Katusha-Alpecin), José Herrada (Cofidis), Oscar Rodriguez, Sergio Samitier (Euskadi-Murias) 

Tony Martin probably won't make it over the next  climb so Jumbo Visma have him on the  front right now and setting a brisk pace. He's cut about 30 seconds off the break's lead already. It's down to 2'37  with 93km to go.

The next climb is around 12km in length so Martin's role here is crucial. He need to keep the break in check for as long as possible and if can limit the break to around two minutes it would be job done. And just  like that the break hit the Connio. 11.7km and an average of 6.2 per cent. 

At the back of the bunch it looks as though Ben King cant' change gears, so he sits up and waits for the Di Data team car. T Martin then gets a break as another Jumbo Visma rider takes over with 91km to go. 

Navarro takes a pull on the front. He constantly has a look of man who has just been held up in traffic by some terrible parallel parking - you know, a mix of confusion and frustration that teeters towards full on anger. 

89km to go

Marc Soler (Movistar Team), Quentin Jauregui (AG2R La Mondiale), Ion Izagirre (Astana Pro Team), Mark Padun (Bahrain-Merida), Pawel Poljanski (Bora-Hansgrohe), Lawson Craddock (EF Education First), Sander Armée (Lotto-Soudal), Tsgabu Grmay (Mitchelton-Scott), Ben O’Connor (Team Dimension Data), Tao Geoghegan Hart, Vasil Kiryienka (Team Ineos), Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma), Dani Navarro, Ruben Guerreiro (Katusha-Alpecin), José Herrada (Cofidis), Oscar Rodriguez, Sergio Samitier (Euskadi-Murias) 

 with the peloton at 2'49.

A touch of wheels on the climb and LL Sanchez might need a new bike but nothing too serious. T Martin is still at the front of the peloton as we continue to climb the second ascent of the day with the gap to the leaders back to around 3'00.

86km to go and the pace is steady in the Jumbo Visma controlled peloton as the break have 4.2km to go.

Away from the race briefly and latest on Chris Froome is that his latest surgery - stemming from an accident involving a kitchen knife - will not hamper his long-term recovery. He's still basing his training on the home trainer, according to his team. Story is here.

The Puerto del Connio has been ridden at a far steadier and manageable pace than we saw on the first climb but this has already been a grueling day in the saddle for those involved. We've still got over 80km to go as well, as the gap between the break and the peloton holds at around three minutes. 

The break are about to crest the top of this second climb with the peloton at 3'06. Tony Martin has survived the climb, contrary to my earlier prediction. 

75km to go

75km to go and the break have 3'21 over the peloton. A reminder of the riders out front: Marc Soler (Movistar Team), Quentin Jauregui (AG2R La Mondiale), Ion Izagirre (Astana Pro Team), Mark Padun (Bahrain-Merida), Pawel Poljanski (Bora-Hansgrohe), Lawson Craddock (EF Education First), Sander Armée (Lotto-Soudal), Tsgabu Grmay (Mitchelton-Scott), Ben O’Connor (Team Dimension Data), Tao Geoghegan Hart, Vasil Kiryienka (Team Ineos), Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma), Dani Navarro, Ruben Guerreiro (Katusha-Alpecin), José Herrada (Cofidis), Oscar Rodriguez, Sergio Samitier (Euskadi-Murias). 


In other news Caleb Ewan has ended his season after winning yesterday in Brussels. Read his reaction to his tenth and final win of the year, right here.

The break have found some more time, and the gap to the peloton has extended to 3'41 with 71km to go.

The race continues to descent towards the next climb. The break probably need around 4-5 minutes to ensure they contest the win for the stage but saying that, someone like Soler could probably do it with three minutes. Tony Martin continues to set the pace on the descent for the peloton. So far, so good for Roglic and hist team.

We have a stage winner and an overall winner over in the Boels Ladies Tour. All the information can be found just here.

Jesper Hansen has quit the race. The Cofidis rider hasn't had the best first year with the team, although he did crack the top ten at the Tour of California in May. 65km to go in the stage.

A reminder of how things stand coming into the stage in the GC.

(Image credit: Daniel Benson)

The 17-rider break have found about 40 seconds on the peloton since the top of the last climb but there's no panic from Tony Martin and the rest of the Jumbo Visma ranks. They still have that long valley road before the next climbs even starts. Still a long way to go.

Through the feedzone for the break as we race through the valley road before the next climb begins. 59km to go and the gap is at 3'55.

Guerreiro is back with the medical car and asking to be cut out of jersey or his vest. It takes an age but he's finally done and chasing back to the rest of the break. 

Quintana and Movistar have to try something on GC today. They showed real intent earlier in the race and have Soler up the road for later. However, on this climb, or thee final one they'll need to attack Roglic and see if they can put him under pressure. Same goes for Lopez really because if they don't gain time today then they could be fighting for the final podium positions and not the win. 

At the front we see Craddock come through with another turn with O'Conner then taking over. There's Navarro again, looking like you've just made him a cup of team by adding the milk last (that's not acceptable). 

Back with the bunch it's still Tony Martin who is basically riding a 150km time trial today. He checks out his musette and picks out something he likes, all while being asked to sit on the front and tap out a reasonable pace. Thee gap is at 3'33 with 57km to go.

Roglic wisely has his lunch handed to him by other rider and slings the bag over his shoulder. The break aren't on the next climb yet but the road is already rising slightly. 

Meanwhile, Quintana takes on a bottle from a teammate as he drifts  to the back of the Movistar train. Behind Movistar we have line of Astana riders, and then it's UAE Team Emirates, who do not have a rider in the break.

50km to go

50km to and the gap is at 3;01 as we start the third climb of the day. 

A reminder of the riders in the break, all 17 of them: Marc Soler (Movistar Team), Quentin Jauregui (AG2R La Mondiale), Ion Izagirre (Astana Pro Team), Mark Padun (Bahrain-Merida), Pawel Poljanski (Bora-Hansgrohe), Lawson Craddock (EF Education First), Sander Armée (Lotto-Soudal), Tsgabu Grmay (Mitchelton-Scott), Ben O’Connor (Team Dimension Data), Tao Geoghegan Hart, Vasil Kiryienka (Team Ineos), Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma), Dani Navarro, Ruben Guerreiro (Katusha-Alpecin), José Herrada (Cofidis), Oscar Rodriguez, Sergio Samitier (Euskadi-Murias).


Jumbo have started the climb and they immediately cause a number of sprinters to slip out the back, including Gaviria, who is still in the race. 

Kuss sticks to the back of the break, meanwhile, and is just holding his position. Samitier  has attacked from the break with 49km to go in order to try and get a reaction from the rest of the riders in the break. Team Ineos with Kiryienka set the pace, who always looks like he can ride for another 400km. 

Still 8.5km of this climb to go but no real scares in the main field at the moment with Roglic's rivals willing to let Jumbo Visma do all the work and set a steady pace. Navarro has just countered from the break so we could have two riders clear of the break in a moment or two.

There are some really strong climbers in the break but with just 3'14 over the peloton their chances of taking the stage are slim at this stage. Hence the attacks as O'Connor joins Navarro up the road.

There are around 70-80 riders in the main field but one or two riders are dropping back every now and then. We've still got 7.1km to go until we hit the summit of the Puerto del Pozo de las Mujeres Muertas.

Samitier is doing a good job out there and he's still on his own, effectively sacrificing his chances for his teammate in the break. There's Docker at the back of the peloton.

Roglic will be more than content with the situation right now. He has four men around him, one up the road marking Soler and we've about 1 and a half climbs left in today's stage. Of course the most crucial climb is still to come. 46km to go and the gap is at 4'08.

Madrazo has just been dropped. He waves goodbye to the TV crews and possibly the jersey's he's leading at the moment. 

At the front of the bunch Tony Martin gets a breather as a teammate takes over with the pace setting duties. 

45km to go

We're around half way up the climb and we're about to have three leaders of Samitier, Navarro and O'Connor. They have 1'00 on the chase group with the Roglic group at 4'17. The break contesting the stage win is perhaps back on...

It's still all of Martin on the front who is doing a tremendous job today. Some questioned his move to Jumbo Visma after two fallow years at Katusha but he's matured and refined his role as a super domestique. 

There's a slight headwind on the climb and that makes Martin's work today even more impressive. 43km to go on the stage.

At the head of the race we still have three leaders working well together. They have 1'36 over the rest of the break with the bunch at 4'30. A few riders in the second group will be kicking themselves for letting the three leaders go. 

Jakobsen has ridden well. He was off the back on the first climb this morning but he's held it together and come back. He's currently at the back of the peloton but he'll get through today. 

Just under 2km to go until we hit the summit of this climb of the Puerto del Pozo de las Mujeres Muertas as Quintana flanks Valverde at the end of the Movistar train.

Some action from Astana as we see one rider accelerate but it's not an attack, he's simply moving up to Lopez to give him a few works. Up ahead the three leaders hold 1'23 over the rest of the breakaway with 42km to go.

Over in the Tour of Britain, Matteo Trentin has won stage 2. You can find our report, results and images, right here. The Italian leads the race now too.

The three  leaders of O'Connor,  Navarro and Samitier have 1'45 now  as  they crest the top of the climb. Samitier takes  the points as  they stretch their legs on the long descent towards today's final climb.  Roglic, meanwhile, just sits behind his yellow and black train and waits. He knows what's coming but he's probably confident of taking on Lopez, Pogacar and Movistar if it comes to it on the final climb.

Navarro is tearing down the descent and O'Connor struggles around one right hand corner but makes it back without too much trouble. The peloton are still climbing but they're almost at the summit of the penultimate climb.

O'Connor again loses ground on the descent as the leaders take a corner. He should be fine. The bunch are now at 5'18, the biggest gap we've had all day with 35km to go.

This final climb that's coming up, it was the first climb of the day and it's a real brute. 

(Image credit: Vuelta)

We're still some way off the climb itself but there's no easing in pace as the peloton tackle the descent. They've drifted back to 5'30 on the leaders, which means the stage win is really up for grabs but it could all change in the valley if Movistar and Astana take up the pace setting.

It's still Tony Martin on the front of the main field. 30km to go. 

The three leaders  are being kept in check by the chase  group, who are at 1'15. That can disappear very quickly on the final climb. Inside  the final 30km now.

O'Connor has made it back to  the lead group as the road levels out. Katusha and Di Data have had poor seasons so a win here would do wonders for confidence and morale. 

And the seconds tick down with  the three leaders' advantage down to 56 seconds  as Team Ineos with their two riders in the break, lead the chase. Looks like Kiryienka is doing most of the work as O'Connor looks to respond. 

5'27 now for the three leaders over  the peloton. Guess who is  setting the pace for the peloton? You've guessed it: Tony Martin. 

We're now inside the final 25km. We have three leaders of Navarro, Samitier and O'Connor with the rest of the break at 49  seconds. The peloton are at 5'16 so it's slowly coming back together. The tension is certainly rising.

Soler is now on the radio... the plot thickens. He's now back with the Movistar team car. 

We're close to the final climb now and the gap to the three leaders is just 33 seconds. They're going to be caught. It's just a matter of time. That said, what do I know? I predicted Martin would have sat up on the second climb of the day and he's still going strong.

Navarro looks back as he's told that the chase are just 25 seconds down. He's raises the pace once more but he has a teammate in the break too.

20km to go

20km to go. The three leaders have 18 seconds, with the main field that includes the GC contenders at 5'08. If they start the final climb with that level of a lead then they should take the stage win. Still nothing from  Astana and Movistar.

Still a lot of riders in the Roglic group. It was down to around 30 riders on the first climb but it's swelled throughout the day and there are even a  number of sprinters in there. That will all change once we hit the final 8,7km  climb. 

Just 13 seconds for the three leaders at the moment.

Samitier wants to push on alone but it looks like the other two riders are going to sit up and take the chance to recover. 16.7km to go.

Samitier is intent on dragging this one out for as long as possible so that his teammate doesn't need to take a turn on the front. The Jumbo Visma group are at 5'09.

Samitier on the bars as if he's riding a TT bike. He looks good as he drags himself clear by another few seconds. The gap between him and the chase is at 20 seconds. Rodriguez his teammate needs to finish this off.

14km to go and there's an attack and it's from Team Ineos.

That's bold, we're still quite far from the final climb. Looks like that was Kiryienka who is being chased by the rider from AG2R. 

Tony Martin... still. 

Kiryienka is still chasing but Samitier still leads with just a shade under 12km to go. The peloton are at 5'12 as we see Samitier and Kiryienka join forces.

I say join forces but Kiryienka goes right by the Spanish rider and has no intention of sharing the pace. 

Not on the climb proper but we're already going uphill with 11km to go.

Kiryienka looks  back but he has 34 seconds on the rest of the break. Soler is now  seconds wheel  and he knows that  he can fight for the stage win. He's probably the  favourite at this stage but he can't give Kiryienka too much room.

As soon as the climb starts Tony Martin sit up and start to recover... as he climbs an 8km summit finish.

Our two leaders have 41 seconds now with 9.6km to go.

And here come Movistar, Astana and Bora as the GC riders are moved up and into position before the final climb starts. 

And the two leaders start the final climb. It's hardest at the bottom and they have 45seconds on the chase. It's all Kiryienka on the front with 8.2km to go.

And the chase hit the climb and they look a lot faster as they rise out the saddle one at a time and then wrestle with the gradient. 

Kiryienka  has been attacked by Samitier and the Ineos rider doesn't respond. 7.9km to go.

The gap isn't huge but Samitier is slowly pulling clear.

Samitier is now putting time into the rest of the early break too. 

When  are the counter attacks going to come?

Jauregui is doing a lot of the chasing but he's not doing much in terms of bringing the leader back as  the gap holds at 30 seconds.

Martin sits up and the  bunch are about to hit the final climb of the stage.

It's a really battle on the front of the bunch as they take the final corner before the climb.

Samitier is still 26 seconds clear and he looks fresh. Incredible ride as we now see Movistar almost sprint up the lower slopes of the climb. Roglic is perfectly placed. 

Now it's LL Sanchez who sets the pace as we see Sunweb well placed as well. Roglic is 4th wheel  with one man left. 

Quintana and Valverde are just behind the race lead as we see Kuss attack with 6.7km to go. He's about to catch  Samitier. 

Kuss is with him, so we have two leaders but where is Soler? As we see Kuss attack once again and now go clear with 6.6km to go.

Still a really long way to go as we see Soler lead a counter attack with a few riders grimly holding on for dear life.

Kuss has about 10 seconds at the moment as Soler continues to lead the chase. 

Back in the bunch and  we're down to around  25 riders as Valverder attacks and Roglic responds with 6.1km to go.

And these two are clear and Roglic is just marking the move. No Lopez, no Pogacar,  no Quintana.

The riders from the break have 3'59 with 5.8km to go  so a winner will come from this group as we see Valverde push on and only take Roglic with him. The race leader doesn't need to do any work here.

Still nothing from Lopez and Quintana probably won't attack if he has a teammate up the road. Soler has cracked or is he waiting? Either way he's going backwards.

Roglic is just sitting on Valverde's wheel as we see the Quintana group drop to less than a dozen riders. And now Roglic comes through and starts to take turns. Meanwhile, Kuss still leads.

It looks like Astana have responded through Lopez but he's still around  10 seconds down on the Roglic/Valverde tandem. Kuss has 26 seconds on the chase from the remnants of the break. Still 4.6km to go.

Soler is coming back and he's picking his way through dropped riders as Roglic and Valverde trade turns. Knox is riding well, and hanging at the back of the Quintana group.

Lopez has a teammate  setting the pace but he continues to lose time to Roglic and Valverde.

Guerreiro appears to be the closest rider to Kuss on the road as the American rider continues to climb. 

4.1km to go and Quintana has been dropped. End of the line.

Guerreiro still leads the chase of Kuss as we see Lopez, Fulgsang, Pogacar and Majka in the next group.

Kelderman is with Quintana as Roglic takes over and he looks back at Valverde. I think the world champion is starting to fade.

Jumbo Visma are on course to take the stage and extend the lead on GC.

3.3km to go. and Roglic and Valverde have 30 seconds  on the Lopez group. 

3.1km to go and Geoghegan Hart has blown through the chase and he's now second on the road. Kuss is over the worst part of the climb and he has 29 seconds. 

No time check yet on Quintana but he's taking another battering in the mountains today.

Less than 3km for Kuss as Geoghegan Hart attacks again and tries to lift the pace.

Roglic and Valverde are cutting through the early breaks as Fuglsang pulls over with 2.5km to go.

Quintana has about ten riders on his wheel but none of them are helping the Colombian who cuts a lonely figure. Kuss looks good for the win with 2.2km to go. He's got 33 seconds on Geoghegan Hart.

Roglic and Valverde  are on course to put around 40 seconds in their rivals today. 

Kuss isn't going to crack. He takes a corner out of the saddle and holds his lead at 33 seconds with 1.8km to go. He's almost there.

Soler has now linked up with Roglic and Valverde. 

Quintana is already a minute down on the race leader.

Lopez and Pogacar are with two Bora riders, one of them Majka, but it's Kuss who is leading this race and heading towards a maiden Grand Tour stage win.

It looks like the fight has gone out of the three man chase that sits around 38 seconds behind the lone leader.

Lopez and Pogacar are alone now having dropped the rest of their rivals as Kuss has just 1km to go before taking a huge win in his young career.

Roglic is holding on as Soler drives on for Valverde as Majka comes back to the Lopez group. The big loser today is Quintana, surely. 

Pogacar hasn't taken a turn which is frustrating Lopez. 550m to go for  Kuss.

The last part really kicks up the American is on track to take the win.

Kuss wins stage 15 of the 2019 Vuelta  a Espana.

He takes some high-fives, he's already smiling. Huge win.