The Tour Take | Vuelta a Espana Stage 16
1st – Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing Team)
2nd – Joey Rosskopf (BMC Racing Team) @ 0:50
3rd – Jonathan Castroviejo (Team Sky) @ 0:51
Red - Simon Yates (Mitchelton- SCOTT)
Green - Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)
Polka Dot - Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis)
1st - Simon Yates (Mitchelton - SCOTT)
2nd - Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) @ 0:33
3rd - Steven Kruijswijk (Lotto- Jumbo) @ 0:52
4th - Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) @ 1:15
5th - Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors) @ 1:30
6th - Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) @ 1:34
7th - Thibaut Pinot (Groupama - FDJ) @ 2:53
8th - Ion Izagirre (Bahrain - Merida) @ 3:04
9th - Rigoberto Uran (Team EF Education First - Drapac p/b Cannondale) @ 3:15
10th - Tony Gallopin (AG2R La Mondiale @ 4:43
Starting in Santillana del Mar and finishing in Torrrevelaga, Stage 16 was a 32km time trial. On slightly rolling roads, there was around 500m of climbing, with the last part of the stage being the only truly flat section. The majority of the day was spent on small climbs though, as it was a tough course that was set to produce time gaps despite the shortish distance.
The Winning Ride
Rohan Dennis started early and set the quickest time of the day. Nobody even got close to the Australian Champ, who’s also looking like the best TT man in the world at the moment. His teammate Joey Rosskopf was the best of the rest in second place, with Team Sky’s Jonathan in third.
3 - Simon Yates. The big obstacle’s done now for Yates, and he’s still in red. He can focus on racing now.
2 – Rohan Dennis. Two stage wins means its mission accomplished for Rohan Dennis who’s a red hot favourite for the stripes in Innsbruck.
1 – Alejandro Valverde. The possibility of a military coup is Team Movistar edges loser as Valverde edges further away
Leaders: S Yates (10), Valverde (7), Dennis, King (5), Herrada, Mate, Viviani, Kwiatkowski (4), Bouhanni, Clarke, De Marchi, Gallopin, Geniez, Mollema, Pinot (3) Quintana, Sagan (3) Kruijswijk (2) De Plus, Mollard, Postlberger, Rodriguez, Rhestrepo, Campenaerts, Cortina, Lopez, Majka, Porte, Rolland, Van Baarle, Woods (1), De Gendt (-1)
The Movers and Shakers
There were four big movers on the day; Yates, Valverde, Mas and Kruiswijk. Yates was expected to lose the Red Jersey today to Valverde, who he only held a small gap over at the start of the day. The fact he’s still in Red is huge, as he can play defence for the remainder of the race (you know he won’t though). It’s hard to see a repeat of the Giro occurring, where he imploded in the final days, but Movistar will throw everything at him.
Valverde didn’t take red, which would have been disappointing, but he’s getting closer to featuring as Movistar’s main man now. He lost 0:07 to Yates, but gained another 0:35 over Quintana to put him 0:42 ahead of his teammate. Valverde has looked stronger than his Colombian understudy, while doing a mountain of work too, it mightn’t be the worst idea in the world to shift plans.
Enric Mas has flown under the radar in the first two weeks of the race, but announced himself on the finish the Lagos de Covadonga when he was riding with (and attacking) Yates and co. He backed that ride up with a great TT to move into the Top 5. You wonder if he can hang tough in the final few days, but his ride has been a sight for sore Spanish eyes wondering where their next GC hope lies.
Steven Kruiswijk hasn’t been in the same form here as he was at the Tour, just off the back of the Yates group at most summit finishes, but a stunning ride in the TT where he finished fourth has him back in the race. Losing only 0:51 to Dennis, and gaining 0:37 on Yates, he’s now up to third on GC.
The Next Stage
This Vuelta has been backloaded with it’s toughest days, and now we’re in the final week, there’s not just hellish finishes, but entire days in the saddle that make you feel like the devil has something out for you.
Stage 17 sees the peloton crest six climbs, including the finishing Alto del Balcon de Bizkaia. Though it’s only 7.5km long, the gradient reaches 24% with 2km to go, before easing off slightly, and then ramping back up to 15% in the final kilometre.
Lopez lost a little time today and slipped down to sixth on GC. With 1:34 to make up on Yates, you can bank on him being aggressive over the next few days now that we’re back in his favoured territory
See you back at the social club,