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.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.