Nairo Quintana loses Vuelta a España lead as David de la Cruz wins stage nine

David de la Cruz wins stage nine of the 2016 Vuelta a España from an escape, taking the overall race lead as the GC riders finish together

David de la Cruz on his way to winning stage nine of the 2016 Vuelta a Espana
(Image credit: Graham Watson)

David de la Cruz (Etixx-QuickStep) won stage nine of the 2016 Vuelta a España on Sunday to depose Nairo Quintana (Movistar) at the top of the general classification.

Spaniard De la Cruz had attacked from the day's escape group to claim the victory ahead of Dries Devenyns (IAM), and more than make up on his overall time deficit to race leader Quintana. It is de la Cruz's first victory since turning professional in 2010.

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

Behind the break, the GC riders were happy to finish in a group despite the climb to the finish line on Alto del Naranco.

Quintana is now second overall, 22 seconds adrift of de la Cruz. Quintana's Movistar team-mate Alejandro Valverde is third at 41 seconds, with Chris Froome (Sky) in fourth at 49 seconds.

Nairo Quintana during stage nine of the 2016 Vuelta a España

Nairo Quintana during stage nine of the 2016 Vuelta a España
(Image credit: Watson)

The day's original break formed after 15km, with 12 riders managing to escape the grip of the peloton: Jan Bakelants (Ag2r), Pello Bilbao (Caja Rural), Simon Clarke (Cannondale-Drapac), David de la Cruz (Etixx-QuickStep), Dries Devenyns (IAM Cycling), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling), Alexandre Geniez (FDJ), Bartosz Huzarski (Bora-Argon 18), Moreno Moser (Cannondale-Drapac), Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) and Dylan Teuns (BMC).

>>> Chris Froome and Nairo Quintana prepared for two more weeks of Vuelta battles

The dozen riders kept together until the final 40km, with De Gendt launching a move. He was reeled back in, with Devenyns then launching a new attack followed by Bakelants and Teuns.

Obviously unhappy with the split, Sanchez dragged the rest of the escapees back up to the lead trio with 15km to go. At that point, the escapees had four and a half minutes on the peloton.

Over the top of the penultimate climb of the day – Alto de la Manzaneda – Devenyns went off the front again, this time with de la Cruz for company.

The pair quickly opened up a gap on the descent, with de la Cruz attacking within the final kilometre to take the victory and with it the coveted red jersey of overall race leader.

The Vuelta continues on Monday with stage 10, a 188.7km trip from Lugones to Lagos de Covadonga which finishes with a long climb, highlighted as one of the key points of the race.

With the Vuelta's first rest day on Tuesday, the GC riders will put on more of a show – de la Cruz is not expected to retain the overall lead.


Vuelta a España 2016, stage nine: Cistierna to Oviedo Alto del Naranco, 164.5km

1. David de la Cruz (Esp) Etixx-QuickStep in 3-47-56

2. Dries Devenyns (Bel) IAM Cycling at 27 secs

3. Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac at 33 secs

4. Luis Leon Sanchez (Esp) Astana at 51 secs

5. Mathias Frank (Sui) IAM Cycling at same time

6. Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ at 53 secs

7. Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Bora-Argon 18 at 58 secs

8. Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto-Soudal at 1-04

9. Pello Bilbao (Esp) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at same time

10. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Cannondale-Drapac at 1-10

General classification after stage nine

1. David de la Cruz (Esp) Etixx-QuickStep in 33-46-24

2. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 22 secs

3. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar at 41 secs

4. Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky at 49 secs

5. Johan Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-BikeExchange in 1-19

6. Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky at 1-38

7. Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff at 2-01

8. John Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC Racing at 2-06

9. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx-QuickStep at 2-07

10. Samuel Sanchez (Esp) BMC Racing at 2-08

Team Sky, stage nine of the 2016 Vuelta a España

Team Sky, stage nine of the 2016 Vuelta a España
(Image credit: Watson)

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Nigel Wynn
Former Associate Editor

Nigel Wynn worked as associate editor on, he worked almost single-handedly on the Cycling Weekly website in its early days. His passion for cycling, his writing and his creativity, as well as his hard work and dedication, were the original driving force behind the website’s success. Without him, would certainly not exist on the size and scale that it enjoys today. Nigel sadly passed away, following a brave battle with a cancer-related illness, in 2018. He was a highly valued colleague, and more importantly, n exceptional person to work with - his presence is sorely missed.