New Vuelta a España leader Joaquim Rodriguez says that winning the race will be 'complicated'

Spaniard Joaquím Rodríguez took over the Vuelta a España race lead by one second today in a tug-of-war fight with Italian Fabio Aru. It is not the Italian, however, that team Katusha’s captain is worried about with less than a week to race, but Dutchman Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin).

Dumoulin, third in the time trial world championships behind winner Bradley Wiggins, could shake up the race overall standings Wednesday in the 38.7-kilometre time trial around Burgos in Spain’s northwest. After two heavy mountain stages, and with a rest day tomorrow, he sits fourth overall at 1-51 minutes behind Rodríguez.

Team Astana’s Aru is one second back at the end of stage 16 and Pole Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) is in third place at 1-35.

“It’s going to be very complicated to win the Vuelta a España,” Rodriguez said at the top of Ermita de Alba before taking a helicopter ride to Burgos.

>>> Five talking points from stage 16 of the Vuelta a España

“Dumoulin was looking good today, better than he was yesterday. We got a little time back, but he will have tomorrow to recover, and I think he will have a very good time trial.”

Dumoulin hung with the best climbers until the final kilometre. As Fränk Schleck (Trek) celebrated his solo victory from an escape group, Dumoulin motored up the climb behind the Rodríguez group and managed the gap.


At the line 1185 metres up in Spain’s northwestern mountains, and after 5010 metres of climbing, Dumoulin only trailed by 27 seconds. His new 1-51-minute deficit is enough to worry Rodríguez, who is trying to claim his first grand tour win after finishing second or third in all three grand tours. In 2012, he lost 47 seconds, and the Giro d’Italia overall lead, in a 28.2-kilometre time trial to Ryder Hesjedal on the last day.

“I will try to have the best time trial I can, but the differences between everyone for the podium are going to be close,” Rodríguez added. “I hope to be able to finish on the podium.”

  • Hugi

    Lol. You are right it sounded very patronising. As you said Aru won it anyway. What I meant was I think, but might be wrong, that they could have done him earlier if working together. Nevertheless next year’s grand tours should be quite exciting with 5 – 6, maybe more, GC contenders.

  • J1

    Don’t be so patronising. Aru won it anyway, it was that last stage in the mountains that Dumoulin ran out of reserves, one stage shorter and it would’ve been his, shame.

  • Hugi

    As I said before, working together and Dumoulin is in trouble. “None of them could drop… “, boys you still have to learn a bit about cycling.

  • SeanMcCuen

    you really have nothing here.

  • Martin Leon

    I have been enjoying the Vuelta. There were enough sprints and the GC guys are showing enough weakness to make you believe that they are riding on natural ability!

  • martinus1959

    What is really sad in here: your negativity. Get buried man!

  • dourscot

    Sad to say but the Vuelta is dying on its feet.

    The sprinters no longer go, the best riders treat it as a warm down, and only the Spanish seem to take it seriously. They should make it a race for youngsters and be done with it.

  • RobTM

    Certainly looks like Froome’s crash robbed him of a great double opportunity, close to best on climbs with a good TT expectation.
    Dumoulin just isn’t that easy to drop, they’d need some domestiques up the road first who fall back and help on flat, going into red by attacks on climbs has caused so many blow ups, where TD’s smart controlled pace gets him back on.

  • J1

    None of them could drop Dumoulin though, he’s just been super strong. He must’ve lost a few kilos and really focused on his climbing recently.

    It would be good to see Purito win, but he can’t ride a good TT and it’s hard to win a Grand Tour without being good against the clock usually.

  • Hugi

    Well gentlemen, if Dumoulin wins Vuelta, and everything looks like he will, the question will be asked. Not how he has won it but how the others lost !? And the answer is : greed and selfishness. The climbers have asked for trouble by not working together and make a break well before the last climb and decide between themselves on the final climb who is worth the crown. For that reason , as much as I do not fancy riders like Dumoulin, he will be the most worthy winner. He showed a spirit, courage and wisdom.