Astana's Fabio Aru has ridden himself into the lead of the Vuelta on a day when Tour de France champion Chris Froome of Team Sky struggled after an early crash during a stage regarded by many as one of the toughest ever to feature in a Grand Tour. On a terrific day for Astana, Mikel Landa took the stage win.
Behind him, Aru, the only one of the race favourites not to have ridden the Tour de France in July, had attacked on the final climb of the 138km stage from Andorra La Vella to Cortals d'Encamp, crossing the line around a minute and a half behind his team mate, and well ahead of third-placed Ian Boswell of Team Sky.
It was the fourth Category 1 climb of a brutal day that also featured a Category 2 ascent and a Hors-Categorie climb as well, and it proved to be a tough day for Froome who crashed just 10 minutes into the stage.
He would rejoin the peloton but was dropped on the third last climb, the hors categorie Coll de la Galina and despite seeking treatment from the medical car for an injury to his left shoulder continued to lose time as he in all likellihood fell out of contention for the overall.
Out of the race is Tinkoff-Saxo's Sergi Paulinho, hit by a TV motorbike - the second time in this year's Vuelta that a race moto has taken out one of Oleg Tinkoff's team's riders following the departure of Peter Sagan last week.
Astana's Fabio Aru, new race leader
The team worked a tactic today to be together when we could and to coordinate our actions - this shows we have a strong, thinking team with 10 more stages to go - to defend the red jersey is now our main objective.
Team Sky's Geraint Thomas, who helped nurse Chris Froome during the stage
Froomey obviously had a heavy crash and he said his foot was quite bad. He said his legs were okay but on the especial category climb he started to suffer when Astana really lit it up. He got dropped then, and I was about to get dropped myself anyway so I sat up and waited for him.
He seemed to come round on the last climb but we just had to keep going. Froomey always keeps fighting and that's what we did. It's unfortunate because obviously Nico [Roche] was suffering from his crashes as well. Not the ideal day but it was nice to see Boz [Ian Boswell] get up there and get a result for himself.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.