Cycling Weekly's photographers at the Vuelta a España have captured moments of pure suffering as the riders struggled up the steep climbs of stage 16

The Vuelta a España route planners are a pretty heartless bunch, giving riders day after day of brutal stages with hills and mountains that are almost too steep to climb.

The riders were spared the infamous Angliru this year but instead, on stage 16, they were treated to its ‘little sister’ in form of the Ermita de Alba (6.6km at 11 per cent).

Needless to say, at the end of a 184km stage a huge climb wasn’t what the riders really wanted and the pain in their faces was clear to see, as our photographers Graham Watson and Yuzuru Sunada captured on Monday.

Fabio Aru lost his red jersey to the green jersey-wearing Joaquim Rodriguez, as Tom Dumoulin kept himself in contention with a courageous ride up the final climbs.

Fabio Aru

Fabio Aru on stage sixteen of the 2015 Tour of Spain (Watson)

Fabio Aru on stage sixteen of the 2015 Tour of Spain (Watson)

Tom Dumoulin

Tom Dumoulin on the final climb of Stage 16 of the 2015 Vuelta Espana in Luarca (Watson)

Tom Dumoulin on the final climb of Stage 16 of the 2015 Vuelta Espana in Luarca (Watson)

Joaquim Rodriguez

Joaquin Rodriguez on the final climb of Stage 16 of the 2015 Vuelta Espana in Luarca (Watson)

Joaquin Rodriguez on the final climb of Stage 16 of the 2015 Vuelta Espana in Luarca (Watson)

Ian Boswell

Ian Boswell on stage sixteen of the 2015 Tour of Spain (Watson)

Ian Boswell on stage sixteen of the 2015 Tour of Spain (Watson)

Esteban Chaves

Esteban Chaves on stage sixteen of the 2015 Tour of Spain (Watson)

Esteban Chaves on stage sixteen of the 2015 Tour of Spain (Watson)

Larry Warbasse

Larry Warbasse on stage 16 of the Vuelta a España (Sunada)

Larry Warbasse on stage 16 of the Vuelta a España (Sunada)

Maxime Monfort

Maxime Monfort (Sunada)

Maxime Monfort (Sunada)