Dramatic Day at the Vuelta a Espana Shakes up GC4. September 2016, Sallent de Gállego. Aramon Formigal (ESP) — Road Team
Stage 15 of the Vuelta a Espana may have only been 118.5km but it served up the most dramatic day of racing so far for the General Classification contenders, which saw Samuel Sánchez move up to sixth overall.
It was a case of explosive racing from KM 0 with attacks playing out immediately, but it was a move from Alberto Contador after 6km that saw a 14-rider breakaway, including race leader Nairo Quintana, split from the main bunch.
With the main field unable to react due to the tricky parcours and splits in the peloton, Quintana’s group managed to build an advantage of more than two minutes over the group that contained Sánchez, Ben Hermans, Dylan Teuns and Danilo Wyss.
The gap started stabilized as the stage progressed but it all came down to the summit finish to Aramon Formigal for the riders who hoped to claw back some of the lost time.
Sánchez did just that and managed to cross the line in 13th place, 2’10” behind stage winner Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx-QuickStep), with Hermans crossing the line less than a minute behind Sánchez and move into 15th overall. BMC Racing Team continue to lead the team classification.
More than 90 riders finished 22 minutes outside the cut off time. The UCI and race organizers have allowed the riders to start stage 16.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“There’s nothing more to say other than today it was a survivor’s day. It was a crazy start and then I just had to concentrate on staying on the wheel of the favorites when the Quintana group was up ahead. On the final climb I went full gas to try and gain some time back and stay in a good position on the GC, and I’ve moved up one place to sixth overall.”
Valerio Piva, Sports Director:
“It was a really fast start. The first 10km was really up and down with a really step part, with a steep descent and a little bit narrow. There was a big attack from Tinkoff and Movistar with Contador and Quintana. We had Danilo Wyss and Ben Hermans in the main group, and later Samuel Sánchez and Dylan Teuns, and Froome was also in there which was a chaotic moment as nothing was clear. In the end 14 riders went in this descent and there was a gap of 15-20 seconds but Team Sky didn’t have the power as Froome only had two guys with him. A lot of Orica-BikeExchange riders were also there, but in front it was full gas and behind the big group was losing time fast. All of the leaders except Konig were in the second group and it was a clear that it was a race to the end. We had four riders and for us it was important to stay calm, to focus on our objectives of team GC and keeping Sánchez in a good position. The guys, especially Teuns who was our third guy, did an amazing job. He was up there with the group until 4-5km to go and then he was not far behind, so we will keep our lead in the team GC and Samuel has jumped up one place in the GC, so it’s very good.”
Vuelta a Espana
Stage 15: Sabiñánigo › Sallent de Gállego. Aramon Formigal (118.5km)
Top 3: Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx-QuickStep), Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 13. Samuel Sanchez, 22. Ben Hermans, 31. Dylan Teuns
BMC Racing Team Top 3 on GC: 6. Samuel Sanchez, 15. Ben Hermans
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.