A late rally for Tom Dumoulin - who comes home 50 seconds down. His dream is still alive.
Comillas - Sotres
Vuelta a España - 6 September 2015
Vuelta a España – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 11:47 on 6 September 2015. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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It's only fifth for Aru, about 15 seconds down. So he holds onto the lead by a slender second - to be confirmed...
Majka takes second place about 12 seconds down.
And with 10 bonus seconds, Rodriguez will be right in the mix tonight.
Victory for Joaquim Rodriguez of Katusha!
Big gap now - and Rodriguez won't be far off the race lead tonight if he continues at this rate.
Rodriguez kicking on now - he will win this stage. Dumoulin is well over a minute back now...
Rodriguez has a small gap over Aru and Majka, with Quintana leading a small chasing group behind.
Majka is back but Quintana is dropping back. Purito leads with Aru just behind.
It's Rodriguez who takes it up on the front, with Quintana in tow. Landa and Aru follow. Dumoulin still just 25 seconds back.
Now Tinkoff-Saxo come to the front for Majka. Dumoulin is 18 second back.
Quintana comes to the front now. Dumoulin has dropped Elissonde. He's not far back and so may not lose too much time.
It's all over for Zubeldia. And Nieve and Valverde have come to the front. Moreno is still there for Katusha - it must have been Losada that blew earlier. We're onto the hairpin section now - and the crowds are bigger and so it will make attacking harder.
There's a split now and Dumoulin has been dropped. He has Kenny Elissonde of FDJ. This could mark the end of his bid to win this Vuelta.
Luis Leon Sanchez and Dani Moreno have hit the wall. They are the latest to be dropped. The pace has suddenly increased. Just 13 seconds for Zubeldia.
All the favourites are playing the waiting game. Zubeldia still has 30 seconds - but it won't be enough.
Katusha duo Rodriguez and Moreno are there amid the Astana and Movistar riders. Tinkoff-Saxo are further back with their man Majka. Neive is there for Sky and Dumoulin and Chaves are still around too. This is a big group still with about 25 riders. The pace is not that fast yet.
They're onto a little flat section ahead of the final slog to the line - which peaks out at 16%. Zubeldia's lead is down to 50 seconds. Amazing scenary here as they rise up through a gorge en route to the village of Sotres.
Astana setting the tempo now with Movistar regrouped behind. And now Visconti comes through for Movistar - they need to do something soon.
Sky's Ian Boswell is digging deep to hold on to the pack in his trademark ungainly style. Zubeldia is still a minute ahead - a super ride from the Basque veteran.
The riders from the break are being caught in drips and drabs. It's just Zubeldia and Berhane out in front now, it seems. The Spaniard has one minute to play with but it won't be enough.
The Astana-led pack reels in Quintana and Sanchez. This pack has been whittled down to about 25 riders. Tom Dumoulin is still there, but rooted to the back. The Dutchman is wearing the white combined jersey.
QUINTANA ATTACKS! The Colombian has gone early - and he has Luis Leon Sanchez of Astana on his hweel, but not Aru, who stays back in the pack with four team-mates.
Now Zubeldia rides clear of Berhane. They have caught and passed Ramirez.
Now it's Ramirez of Team Colombia who rides 10m in front of the other escapees. The 22-year-old is riding his debut Vuelta.
The pack has already blown apart - just 60-odd riders left in the main group now. Amador is back for Movistar, who have six riders there including Quintana and Valverde.
Kadri has a dig and Berhane uses it as a springboard for his own attack.
The leaders are onto the final climb, the Cat.1 Alto de Sotres (12.7km at 7.9%). They have 1:10 to play with.
The entire Movistar team is burying themselves for Messrs Quintana and Valverde. The pressure is on the Colombian to now deliver. Here's some more info on that final climb coming right up...
We're approaching that final climb and the gap has come down to 1:40 now thanks to the effort of Movistar on the front of the pack. It's clear that no one in this break will win the stage, despite their best efforts.
Andrey Amador needs either a wheel or a bike change, and will have to fight back to the peloton on this descent.
This is Haimar Zubeldia's 26th Grand Tour, which is quite astonishing. The Spaniard has never won a stage in that sequence, although he has finished second once in the Tour and once in the Vuelta. The 38-year-old has actually only ridden one Giro - in 2005. Other than that it's 11 Vueltas and 14 Tours.
Over the top of the uncategorised climb goes the break - and that would have been a HC in the Tour Down Under. The pack crests just under three minutes later.
JJ Rojas sets the tempo for Movistar after two successive days featuring in a break. Strong stuff from the Spaniard. Silent assassin Zubeldia is on the front of the break, before Kadri edges ahead.
Nobody is willing to lend Movistar a hand so it's still the team of Quintana and Valverde who set the tempo on a strung-out peloton. The gap is 3:50 as Rolland and Kadri come to the front fo the break for a pull.
The leaders are approaching this 13km uncategorised climb which nevertheless has an average gradient of 5% so it's no mere ridge. The gap is 4:40.
Maes takes the intermediate sprint ahead of Rollin - and oddly enough that was semi-contested, which is a rarity. The gap is now five minutes for the break.
Nairo Quintana is not mincing his words. He's over his illness and is ready to reboot his drive for the red jersey. "I feel much, much better," he told reporters this morning before the start. "If I've got the legs I will attack today - that's the intention. I feel good and I'm going to go for it." The Colombian's Movistar team is still leading the chase on the front of the pack.
Vast swathes of the peloton are taking a comfort break as they reach the foot of the descent. Next up we have the intermediate sprint and then another uncategorised climb ahead of the Cat.1 finale. The gap is 3:55.
The gap is 3:10 for the nine leaders on this descent. Movistar are still leading the chase with Astana tucked in just behind.
Rollin took 5pts over the top of the climb with second-placed Rolland picking up 3pts and Tjallingii 1pt. None of these escapees are a threat to current polka dot jersey, Omar Fraile of Caja Rural. The Spaniard has 55 points with compatriots Ruben Plaza (Lampre-Merida) and Mikel Landa (Astana) in pursuit on 27 and 25 points.
Tom Dumoulin spoke to Eurosport today about the growing number of rivals ganging up against him. "I'm definitely not the strongest on the climbs. They're all scared of me because of the time trial - it's a complement and I try to keep my cool and not to focus on crazy attacks or anything. It will be difficult to control but we don't have to control because Astana have the red jersey. The situation is perfect for me - we don't have to make a hard race, we can just follow. I'm feeling good."
The gap is 3:30 as the riders near the summit of this climb.
Former leader and double stage winner Esteban Chaves is still poised in fourth place, 1:29 down on Aru on GC. His Orica-GreenEdge DS Neil Stephens told lavuelta.com: "The verdict is nearing. We saw yesterday that the leaders did not take a lot of time off each other. Quintana is back. It's good for the interest of the race and it's good for cycling. Today is hard, tomorrow even harder. Obviously the leading teams will have to attack Dumoulin again if they want to win the Vuelta a España. We'll be playing a waiting game. Esteban (Chaves) was there yesterday, he only lost a couple of seconds. He rode a cool-headed race yesterday and that's what we expect from him."
The leaders are onto the irregular Cat.2 Alto del Torno (10km at 3%). The gradient is misleading because it peaks out in three places followed by little descents ahead of the summit.
We're approaching that climb now - or at least, the first of four segments that make up the climb. The finish today is much hardest that yesterday's finish - perhaps one for a rider in the mould of Tinkoff-Saxo's Rafal Majka, currently fourth in the standings?
The gap is up to 3:20 minutes now for the leaders as they ride though the feeding zone.
While we should see a ding dong battle between the climbers today, the likes of Aru, Quintana and Rodriguez will also be hugely concerned with Tom Dumoulin, the revelation of this Vuelta. If the Dutchman holds his own over the next two stages, he could feasibly take back another two minutes on them all in Wednesday's time trial, which would set things up for a nail-biting finish in those last three stages before Madrid. Giant-Alpecin's Dumoulin last 20-odd seconds yesterday but nowhere near as much as the big guns would have hoped.
Now this uncategorised mound has been passed the gap creeps back up to 2:25 for the nine leaders. They're on a slight, gradual rise to the start of the tiered Cat.2 Alto del Torno, which has four mini peaks. Rolland and Zubeldia are the best climbers in this break and so the clear danger men - although neither is showing strong form at this stage in the season.
Two of these escapees - Kadri and Berhane - were involved in the early attempt to break clear today, so they clearly targeted today's stage as a chance to shine.
There's no let up from Movistar back in the peloton, who are setting a fierce pace on the current uncategorised climb the riders are negotiating. This must mean that Nairo Quintana is feeling back to near his best. The Colombian has struggled with flu during the past week but he stole a few seconds back yesterday and now trails Aru by exactly three minutes. With just two more summit finishes on this race - plus the ITT - he will need to claw back some time soon. The break's hap is down to 1:50.
None of these escapees are previous stage winners on the Vuelta although the two Frenchman - Rolland and Kadri - have both won stages on the Tour de France.
We join the race live with 110km remaining - and we're about to hit the rolling terrain. The gap is 2:45 for the nine leaders, who roared along at an average pace of 49.4kmph over the first hour.
The best placed rider in the group is Zubeldia, who is more than half an hour down on Fabio Aru - and so there's no response from Astana, who are happy to let this one roll. A reminder that Aru leads Joaquim Rodriguez by 26 seconds on GC, with Tom Dumoulin dropping to 49 seconds adrift in third.
A new break of nine riders managed to leave the peloton after about 35km or riding: Blel Kadri (Ag2R-La Mondiale), Ricardo Vilela (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Dominique Rollin (Cofidis), Brayan Ramirez (Colombia), Nikolas Maes (Etixx-QuickStep), Natnael Berhane (MTN-Qhubeka), Pierre Rolland (Europcar), Maarten Tjallingii (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Haimar Zubeldia (Trek Factory Racing).
Four riders caught the break - Carlos Verona (Etixx-QuickStep), Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto-Soudal), Antoine Duchesne (Europcar) and Rodolfo Torres (Colombia) - but it came back quickly thanks to the chasing of Movistar.
Seven riders managed to elope from the peloton shortly after the start: Blel Kadri (AG2R-La Mondiale), Maxime Monfort (Lotto Soudal), Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Soudal), Amael Moinard (BMC), Kristijan Durasek (Lampre-Merida), Natnael Berhane (MTN-Qhubeka), Syvlain Chavanel (IAM Cycling).
167 riders took to the start today at the quaint seaside town of Comillas - the Torquay of Cantabria.
Yesterday's foggy finish was won by Alessandro De Marchi of BMC after the Italian dropped his four breakaway companions on the final climb to win atop the Alto Campoo.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of stage 15 of the Vuelta a Espana - a 176km ride from Comillas to Sotres in the Asturian mountains, the second of three back-to-back summit finishes ahead of the second rest day.