photo credit @ La Vuelta/Twitter
Fränk Schleck (Trek Factory Racing) claimed stage 16 of the Vuelta a Espana today, after jettisoning his breakaway companion, Rodolfo Torres (Colombia), during the final three kilometers of today’s summit finish atop the steep Alto Ermita de Alba.
Schleck and Torres were the only two survivors from day’s breakaway group, which at one point, had established a massive 21 minute advantage over the peloton – along today’s seven challenging climbs.
Today’s victory, marked Schleck’s first win since serving a one-year ban after testing positive for doping during the 2012 Tour de France. And, his previous victory before his ban, dates back to 2011 Criterium International.
By the time the peloton reached the climb of the Alto del Cordal and the Alto de la Cobertoria, the group had been reduced to around 15 riders – with top GC favorites Fabio Aru (Astana), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) still amongst them, as they continued to pursuit the leaders, albeit 10 minutes back.
Dumoulin would later get dropped, as Astana’s Mikel Landa continued to force the pace.
From there, the chase began disintegrating rapidly during the final kilometer.
It was then, that Joaquim Rodriguez decided to attack, quickly gaining two seconds on his arch rival, Aru, to takeover the race lead, and move into the red leader’s jersey by a mere second.
Meanwhile, Majka finished just behind in 11th place, to squeeze out Dumoulin for third spot in the overall GC.
Stage 16 Results
LUX 1 SCHLECK, Frank (TREK FACTORY RACING) 5:49:56
COL 2 TORRES AGUDELO, Rodolfo Andres (COLOMBIA) + 1:10
ITA 3 MOSER, Moreno (CANNONDALE – GARMIN) + 1:48
NZL 4 BENNETT, George (LOTTO NL – JUMBO) + 2:42
FRA 5 ROLLAND, Pierre (EUROPCAR) + 2:49
ESP 6 FRAILE MATARRANZ, Omar (CAJA RURAL-SEGUROS RGA) + 3:05
ESP 7 VERONA QUINTANILLA, Carlos (ETIXX – QUICK STEP) + 4:26
USA 8 WARBASSE, Lawrence (IAM CYCLING) + 6:02
ESP 9 RODRIGUEZ OLIVER, Joaquim (KATUSHA) + 8:51
ITA 10 ARU, Fabio (ASTANA) + 8:53
POL 11 MAJKA, Rafal (TINKOFF – SAXO) + 9:03
COL 12 QUINTANA ROJAS, Nairo Alexander (MOVISTAR)
ESP 13 NIEVE ITURALDE, Mikel (SKY) + 9:05
ESP 14 LANDA MEANA, Mikel (ASTANA) + 9:06
RSA 15 MEINTJES, Louis (MTN – QHUBEKA) + 9:07
NED 16 DUMOULIN, Tom (GIANT – ALPECIN) + 9:18
ESP 17 MORENO FERNANDEZ, Daniel (KATUSHA) + 9:33
ITA 18 POZZOVIVO, Domenico (AG2R LA MONDIALE) + 9:48
FRA 19 JEANDESBOZ, Fabrice (EUROPCAR) + 9:54
COL 20 CHAVES RUBIO, Johan Esteban (ORICA GreenEDGE) + 9:56
BEL 21 DE CLERCQ, Bart (LOTTO SOUDAL) + 10:25
POR 22 CARDOSO, Andre Fernando S. Martins (CANNONDALE – GARMIN)
ESP 23 VALVERDE BELMONTE, Alejandro (MOVISTAR)
General Classification after Stage 16
ESP 1 RODRIGUEZ OLIVER, Joaquim (KATUSHA) 67:52:44
ITA 2 ARU, Fabio (ASTANA) + 1
POL 3 MAJKA, Rafal (TINKOFF – SAXO) + 1:35
NED 4 DUMOULIN, Tom (GIANT – ALPECIN) + 1:51
ESP 5 NIEVE ITURALDE, Mikel (SKY) + 2:32
COL 6 CHAVES RUBIO, Johan Esteban (ORICA GreenEDGE) + 2:38
ESP 7 MORENO FERNANDEZ, Daniel (KATUSHA) + 2:49
COL 8 QUINTANA ROJAS, Nairo Alexander (MOVISTAR) + 3:11
ESP 9 VALVERDE BELMONTE, Alejandro (MOVISTAR) + 3:58
RSA 10 MEINTJES, Louis (MTN – QHUBEKA) + 5:22
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