Vuelta a España Stage 15: Summit Finish in Sierra Nevada3. September 2017, Sierra Nevada (ESP) — Road Team
Stage 15 of the Vuelta a España was billed as one of the toughest stages of the race with three categorized climbs over 129km and as expected, the General Classification battle ignited before the second rest day.
Alessandro De Marchi was on the lookout for the breakaway once again but despite multiple attacks from the peloton, the group was still together after 30km.
Eventually an 8-rider group went clear but the peloton kept them within 2’30” on the run into the first category one climb, the Alto de Hazallanas.
Nicolas Roche, starting the day in 13th place overall, lost contact on the Alto de Hazallanas inside the final 60km while Tejay van Garderen, who was sitting in 12th place on the General Classification, remained in the group of race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky).
The breakaway started to split up on the climb and early attacks came from the group of favorites which reshuffled the race situation at the front.
On the second category one climb, the Alto del Purche, a four-rider chase group caught solo leader Sander Armée (Lotto Soudal) and behind, Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) and Miguel Angel López (Astana Pro Team) attacked off the front of the group.
With 20km to go, it was Adam Yates (ORICA-SCOTT) who led the race 1’10” in front of Contador, Lopez and Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) and the main group featuring van Garderen was 1’45” behind.
Van Garderen hung on over the Alto del Purche but was distanced on the Alto Hoya de la Mora Monachil with 6km to go, meanwhile up ahead López attacked again and overtook Yates to lead the race in the final 5km.
López managed to hold the attacks off and claimed the solo win as the General Classification contenders slowly made their way across the line.
Van Garderen now sits in 13th place overall and Roche in 17th place with six stages remaining.
Kilian Frankiny and Damiano Caruso were involved in a crash halfway through the stage but were both able to finish the race. Both riders will be evaluated by Dr. Daniele Zaccaria and an update will be provided when possible.
Quotes from the Race Car with Yvon Ledanois
“We knew that stage 15 would be one of the hardest of the whole race. On a stage like this it is hard to predict what will happen as you can gain so much time and also lose so much time. In the meeting we said to the riders that they can take the risk as they have nothing to lose. In the end, we didn’t take any risks as Nicolas Roche dropped early in the first climb and Tejay van Garderen dropped in the last climb. Now, I think we look towards the last six stages and see where we can win a stage. The time trial on Tuesday is definitely the next goal. If we can win the time trial with Rohan Dennis, which would be our second win, this would be a great result. After Tuesday, every rider needs to try and win a stage. They all have the ability and the freedom to do so. For the General Classification, we will try to get Tejay back in the top ten. I think it will be complicated but we will try and if he takes a risk and gains some time back one day, that’s all he needs.”
Dr. Daniele Zaccaria on Damiano Caruso and Kilian Frankiny
“Damiano Caruso and Kilian Frankiny were involved in a crash during stage 15. Both riders were able to finish the stage and initial observations of Caruso suggest he has sustained minor contusions. Frankiny requires further evaluation to determine the nature of his injuries, following which we will decide if he is able to start the stage 16 time trial.”
Vuelta a España
Stage 15 Alcala La Real > Sierra Nevada. Alto Hoya de la Mora (129k)
Top 3: 1. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Cycling Team), 2. Ilnur Zakarin (Team Katusha-Alpecin), 3. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sinweb).
BMC Racing Team top 3: 17. Tejay van Garderen, 54. Nicolas Roche, 66. Rohan Dennis.
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.