photo credits @ Giant-Alpecin
An extraordinary performance from Tom Dumoulin saw the Giant-Alpecin rider move back into the overall race lead of Vuelta a España today, after nixing Chris Froome hopes for victory in stage nine at Cumbre del Sol.
Dumoulin put in a series of stinging attacks on the decisive climb of the Alto de Puig Llorença at the conclusion of today’s 168km stage from Torrevieja, finally rounding Tour de France champion Froome in the last 50 meters to take the biggest win of his career.
Team Sky’s Froome looked destined to open up his account on the Vuelta after his steady tempo riding saw the British rider nullify Dumoulin’s efforts and shred the group of main favourites on the punishing 4.1km climb on the Costa Blanca.
However, Dumoulin – wearing the white combined jersey – dug deep into his reserves, swinging from the slipstream of Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) to deny Froome what looked like a certain victory at the line.
Dumoulin had time to look over his shoulder once, before crossing the line two seconds ahead of Froome, with Rodriguez taking third place five seconds in arrears. With overnight race leader Esteban Chaves of Colombia struggling on the 25% maximum gradient of the final climb to finish the stage almost a minute down, Dumoulin returned to the top of the overall standings in style.
Bouyed by an extra 10 bonus seconds at the finish, Dumoulin now leads veteran Rodriguez by 57 seconds on GC as Orica-GreenEdge’s Chaves drops to third place a further two seconds back.
“I’m gutted – I thought I had it for a second,” said Froome, whose second-place saw the 30-year-old rise back into the top ten.
“Dumoulin has shown incredible form in this race – hats off to him, he’s a young rider who has been amazing.”
Froome himself looked to be struggling with the constant accelerations of his rivals on the final climb as the likes of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Fabio Aru (Astana) and Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) all tried their luck in between Dumoulin’s searing salvos. But the double Tour winner kept his cool as he rode back into contention before launching his own attack to ride clear inside the final kilometre.
Froome looked odds-on to win his first stage on the Vuelta since 2011 before his Dutch rival’s last throw of the dice turned the race on its head.
“I gave it everything today,” added Froome. “I did try to ride conservatively towards the bottom of the climb to keep something back for the finish but I just didn’t have enough.”
Stage 9 Results
NED 1 DUMOULIN, Tom (TEAM GIANT – ALPECIN) 4:09:55
GBR 2 FROOME, Christopher (SKY) + 2
ESP 3 RODRIGUEZ OLIVER, Joaquin (KATUSHA) + 5
ITA 4 ARU, Fabio (ASTANA) + 16
POL 5 MAJKA, Rafal (TINKOFF – SAXO) + 18
COL 6 QUINTANA ROJAS, Nairo Alexander (MOVISTAR) + 20
ESP 7 VALVERDE BELMONTE, Alejandro (MOVISTAR)
IRL 8 ROCHE, Nicolas (SKY) + 31
ITA 9 POZZOVIVO, Domenico (AG2R LA MONDIALE) + 33
RSA 10 MEINTJES, Louis (MTN – QHUBEKA) + 34
COL 11 HENAO MONTOYA, Sergio Luis (SKY) + 49
ITA 12 ROSA, Diego (ASTANA) + 55
ESP 13 NIEVE ITURALDE, Mikel (SKY) + 56
POR 14 GONÇALVES, José (CAJA RURAL-SEGUROS RGA) + 59
COL 15 CHAVES RUBIO, Johan Esteban (ORICA GreenEDGE)
ESP 16 MORENO FERNANDEZ, Daniel (KATUSHA) + 1:08
ESP 17 SANCHEZ GONZALEZ, Samuel (BMC RACING) + 1:14
BEL 18 DE CLERCQ, Bart (LOTTO SOUDAL) + 1:18
ITA 19 BRAMBILLA, Gianluca (ETIXX – QUICK STEP) + 1:21
FRA 20 JEANDESBOZ, Fabrice (EUROPCAR) + 1:31
NZL 21 BENNETT, George (LOTTO NL – JUMBO) + 1:37
FRA 22 ELISSONDE, Kenny (FDJ) + 1:48
COL 23 TORRES AGUDELO, Rodolfo Andres (COLOMBIA) + 1:52
POR 24 CARDOSO, Andre Fernando S. Martins (CANNONDALE – GARMIN)
FRA 25 COPPEL, Jerome (IAM CYCLING)
FRA 26 SICARD, Romain (EUROPCAR)
USA 27 WARBASSE, Lawrence (IAM CYCLING)
FRA 28 ROSSETTO, Stéphane (COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS) + 2:06
ESP 29 NAVARRO GARCIA, Daniel (COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS)
AUT 30 ZOIDL, Riccardo (TREK FACTORY RACING) + 2:16
POR 31 SANTOS SIMOES OLIVEIRA, Nelson Filipe (LAMPRE – MERIDA) + 2:17
FRA 32 HARDY, Romain (COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS) + 2:30
ITA 33 VISCONTI, Giovanni (MOVISTAR) + 2:45
LUX 34 SCHLECK, Frank (TREK FACTORY RACING) + 2:49
SVK 35 VELITS, Peter (BMC RACING)
ESP 36 ARROYO DURAN, David (CAJA RURAL-SEGUROS RGA)
ESP 37 ZUBELDIA AGIRRE, Haimar (TREK FACTORY RACING) + 3:01
FRA 38 BOUET, Maxime (ETIXX – QUICK STEP) + 3:03
ESP 39 TXURRUKA, Amets (CAJA RURAL-SEGUROS RGA)
FRA 40 LEMOINE, Cyril (COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS) + 3:21
General Classification after Stage 9
NED 1 DUMOULIN, Tom (TEAM GIANT – ALPECIN) 35:22:13
ESP 2 RODRIGUEZ OLIVER, Joaquin (KATUSHA) + 57
COL 3 CHAVES RUBIO, Johan Esteban (ORICA GreenEDGE) + 59
IRL 4 ROCHE, Nicolas (SKY) + 1:07
ESP 5 VALVERDE BELMONTE, Alejandro (MOVISTAR) + 1:09
ITA 6 ARU, Fabio (ASTANA) + 1:13
COL 7 QUINTANA ROJAS, Nairo Alexander (MOVISTAR) + 1:17
GBR 8 FROOME, Christopher (SKY) + 1:18
POL 9 MAJKA, Rafal (TINKOFF – SAXO) + 1:47
ITA 10 POZZOVIVO, Domenico (AG2R LA MONDIALE) + 1:52
ESP 11 NIEVE ITURALDE, Mikel (SKY) + 2:17
RSA 12 MEINTJES, Louis (MTN – QHUBEKA) + 2:25
ESP 13 MORENO FERNANDEZ, Daniel (KATUSHA) + 2:26
COL 14 HENAO MONTOYA, Sergio Luis (SKY) + 3:13
ITA 15 BRAMBILLA, Gianluca (ETIXX – QUICK STEP) + 3:46
ESP 16 SANCHEZ GONZALEZ, Samuel (BMC RACING) + 4:04
BEL 17 DE CLERCQ, Bart (LOTTO SOUDAL) + 4:28
POR 18 CARDOSO, Andre Fernando S. Martins (CANNONDALE – GARMIN) + 4:43
FRA 19 SICARD, Romain (EUROPCAR) + 4:47
ESP 20 NAVARRO GARCIA, Daniel (COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS) + 5:07
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