Tom Dumoulin of Giant-Alpecin has won back the lead of the Vuelta after a battling performance during today’s Stage 9. He had attacked on the final climb but seemed to have been beaten by Chris Froome with a couple of hundred metres remaining – somehow recovering to overhaul the Team Sky man to cross the line first at Cumbre del Sol. Benitachell.
The Dutch rider launched his initial attack with a little more than 2 kilometres remaining of that final Category 1 ascent. It didn’t stick, but his second effort shortly afterwards did, and despite a counter-attack from Rafal Majka of Tinkoff-Saxo, Dumoulin seemed to be heading to the stage win.
But Tour de France champion Froome, still looking to make up the time he has ceded to his rivals during the opening week of the race, had other ideas, however. His attack, approaching the flamme rouge, put a number of big names in difficulty – including race leader Esteban Chaves of Orica-GreenEdge.
Dumoulin appeared beaten as Froome rounded him, but recovered to come back round Froome ahead of the line as he swapped the white best young rider’s jersey – he is just 24 – for the red of the race leader’s jersey.
Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas was one of an escape group of 14 riders who got away early on during the 168.3km stage from Torrevieja.
Behind them, the peloton slowed for a while to allow riders caught up in a crash to rejoin it. Those included Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde, in the green of points classifcation leader after Peter Sagan’s abandon, as well as Dumoulin.
The remnants of the escape group would be caught on that final climb as the GC battle was joined, with Dumoulin and Froome having most cause for celebration this evening.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.