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.
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.