Vuelta 2015 stage 16: Fränk Schleck climbs to impressive victory, Purito new leader

Frank SchleckStage 16 totals seven climbs and the toughest are saved for last with one 1st category and one hors catégory climb in the last 30 kilometres. Fränk Schleck is in the break the whole day and he soloes to victory, dropping his companions on the last two climbs. Purito puts 2 second into Aru and is the new leader. (Slideshow route/profile)

Results 16th stage Vuelta

1. Fränk Schleck (lux)
2. Rodolfo Torres (col) + 1.10
3. Moreno Moser (ita) + 1.48
4. Georg Bennet (aus) + 2.42
5. Pierre Rolland (fra) + 2.49
6. Omar Fraille (spa) + 3.05
7. Carlos Verona (spa) + 4.26
8. Larry Warbasse (usa) + 6.02
9. Joaquim Rodriguez (spa) + 8.51
10. Fabio Aru (ita) + 8.53

11. Rafal Majka (pol) + 9.03
12. Nairo Quintan (col) s.t.
13. Mikel Nieve (spa) s.t.
16. Tom Dumoulin (nld) + 9.18
23. Alejandro Valverde (spa) + 10.25

GC after stage 16
1. Joaquim Rodriguez (spa)
2. Fabio Aru (ita) + 0.01
3. Rafal Majka (pol) + 1.35
4. Tom Dumoulin (nld) + 1.51
5. Mikel Nieve (spa) + 2.32
6. Esteban Chaves (col) + 2.38
7. Daniel Moreno (spa) + 2.49
8. Nairo Quintana (col) + 3.11
9. Alejandro Valverde (spa) + 3.58
10. Louis Meintjes (rsa) + 5.22

Race report
It doesn’t take long for five riders to get clear on the first climb of the day: Omar Fraile, Carlos Verona, Pierre Rolland, Fränk Schleck and Rodolfo Torres. Moreno Moser is the first to start the chase, while Larry Warbasse, Cyril Lemoine, George Bennett and Tsgabu Grmay try to bridge the gap also.

Fraile takes most KOM-points and in the drop the chasers join the front-group. The peloton takes it easy and the escapees race to a 22 minutes lead. Fraile makes good use of the situation an at Alto de Piedratecha, Alto de Piedratecha, Alto de Tenebredo and Alto del Cordal the 25-yo KOM leader is first to crest, thus cementing his lead.

At the penultimate climb, Alto de la Cobertoria, the advantage is down to 11 minutes with Schleck and Torres the last remaining escapees upfront. The duo is first to crest and Fraile is fourth, taking even more mountain points.

At the closing climb to Ermita de Alba, Schleck ups the pace on the steepest section, the last 3 kilometres. Torres holds on for dear life, but eventually is dropped, and Schleck powers on to take on of his most impressive victories in his long career.

The peloton is seriously downsized when hiting the steepest section, but all favourites are still aboard. When Landa accelerates with 2.3 km’s left Chaves is dropped and Dumoulin struggles, but survives. However the Dutchman has to let go following a late attack by Purito Rodríguez. With 700 metres to go, he says goodbye to his rivals and climbs to the red jersey with the tiniest margin imaginable over Aru: 1 second.

Vuelta 2015 stage 16: Route maps, height profile, and more

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Fränk Schleck

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