Vuelta 2017: Ángel López wins in Sierra Nevada, Froome retains in lead

The altitude gain in the 15th stage of La Vuelta is 3,305 metres, while the route amounts to merely 130 kilometres. Miguel Ángel López solos to victory in the Sierra Nevada, while Chris Froome retains in the overall lead. Ilnur Zakarin comes in second and climbs to third place overall. Vincenzo Nibali still sits in second, although the Shark loses 6 seconds to Froome. (Slideshow route/profile)

Results 15th stage 2017 Vuelta

1. Miguel Ángel López (col)
2. Ilnur Zakarin (rus) + 0.36
3. Wilco Kelderman (nld) + 0.45
4. Esteban Chaves (col) + 0.47
5. Chris Froome (gbr) s.t.
6. Michael Woods (can) + 0.50
7. Vincenzo Nibali (ita) + 0.53
8. Wout Poels (nld) s.t.
9. Louis Meintjes (rsa) s.t.
10. Pelle Bilbao (spa) + 1.02

11. Fabio Aru (ita) s.t.
13. Alberto Contador (spa) + 1.27
15. Steven Kruijswijk (nld) + 2.17
17. Tejay van Garderen (usa) + 3.19
24. David de la Cruz (spa) + 5.23
54. Nicolas Roche (irl) + 16.18

GC after the 15th stage
1. Chris Froome (gbr)
2. Vincenzo Nibali (ita) + 1.01
3. Ilnur Zakarin (rus) + 2.08
4. Wilco Kelderman (nld) + 2.11
5. Esteban Chaves (col) + 2.39
6. Miguel Ángel López (col) + 2.51
7. Fabio Aru (ita) + 3.24
8. Michael Woods (can) + 3.26
9. Alberto Contador (spa) + 3.59
10. Wout Poels (nld) + 5.16

11. David de la Cruz (spa) + 7.47
12. Steven Kruijswijk (nld) + 8.08
13. Tejay van Garderen (usa) + 8.16
14. Louis Meintjes (rsa) + 9.02

Race report
High pace from the start and it takes 35 kms for the break to take shape. Rossetto, Oliveira and Perez are the first to break clear, while Mas, Theuns, Van Asbroeck, Trentin and Armée chase them down.

When hitting the lower slopes of the Hazallanas the peloton is more than 2 minutes behind, but the gap falls below 2 minutes on the climb itself. Stéphane Rossetto goes alone and Sander Armée joins him before the Belgian rider heads out on his own.

In the peloton Adam Yates and Romain Bardet go on the attack, while Steven Kruijswijk chases them down. Attacker Nelson Oliveira hooks up.

Armée crests the top 1’20” ahead of the group Yates and more than 3 minutes ahead of the main group, but on descent the two chasing groups close in on the leader in the race. Moments after tackling the two-barrelled ascent Armée is joined by Yates et al with the peloton 1 minute behind. With 27 kms remaining Armée is dropped, while López and Contador go on the attack.

Yates leaves Bardet and Kruijswijk behind. López and Contador rejoin Bardet and De la Cruz gets dropped from the group with GC contenders.

Yates is first to crest the Alto de Purche, 45 seconds ahead of Kruijswijk and 1 minute ahead of Contador, López and Bardet. De Gendt leaves the GC group just before the top and 1’46” behind the leader in the race.

With 15 kms remaining the group Contador chases Kruijswijk down. On the lower slopes Nibali attacks, but Sky (Nieve) brings him back. De Gendt is reeled in, too.

When López speeds up Kruijswijk, Bardet and Contador can’t follow the pace and with 4.2 kms left to climb the Colombian chases Yates down. He pushes on and solos to the win at Alto Hoya de la Mora in the Sierra Nevada.

Meanwhile, the group Froome reels is the other attackers before Contador gets dropped. Zakarin attacks in the last 2 kilometres and comes in second with Wilco Kelderman third. Froome finishes fifth and puts 6 seconds into Vincenzo Nibali, who is now 1’01” down.

Zakarin’s attack moves him up to third overall, while Kelderman falls to fourth.

Read also: route 15th stage 2017 Vuelta

Vuelta 2017 stage 15: Route maps, height profiles, and more

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Miguel Angel Lopez

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