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28/08/15 - 11:31
Jódar - Alto de Capileira
Vuelta a España • Stage7

Jódar - Alto de Capileira

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Esteban Chaves finished in the main group of favourites - as did Tom Dumoulin and Dan Martin - and so there's no immediate change at the top of the standings. But Chris Froome drops out of the top ten today.


Froome came home in 17th place at 1:03 and so he lost 35 seconds to Aru and 28 seconds to his other rivals.


Lindeman held on by nine seconds over Koshevoy, with Aru crossing the line for third at 29 seconds followed by Cousin at 34. Majka led the chasing pack of favourites over the line at 36 seconds. The likes of Chaves, Valverde, Quintana, Meintjes, Roche, Martin, Rodriguez, Dumoulin and Pozzovivo.


Aru crosses the line ahead of Cousin, with Majka and then the rest of the pack behind. Froome loses about 25 seconds in the end...


Second for Ilia Koshevoy the neo pro from Lampre-Merida.


The LottoNL-Jumbo rider was in the break in stage 2 and 4, and now has his win.


Victory for Bert-Jan Lindeman!


Now Lindeman is in control... what a ride...


Koshevoy now leads with Lindeman. Cousin has hit the wall. A superb effort from the Europcar man, but he didn't have enough...


Aru has caught Txurruka...


With Froome in trouble, Aru pings off the front...




Koshevoy has rejoined the leaders and now drives the pace!


Jesper Hansen is doing a stirling job for Majka back in the peloton - the Dane totally burying himself.


Fascinating stuff here as Lindeman fights back to the wheel of Cousin, with Koshevoy digging deep 10m behind.


Another attack from Cousin! Lindeman reacts but Koshevoy is struggling...


Lindeman has got back in the groove. The Dutchman has managed to dig deep to rejoin the two leaders. The gap is 1:50 but the hardest ramp of the climb is about to come...


Now it's getting hot back in the pack, with Valverde lingering with intent and the likes of Majka and Martin well positioned near the front. Chaves is still there.


Cousin joins Koshevoy on the front. They still have 2:10 and so should hold on to contest the win. The Belarusian takes one last swig of water then throws away his bidon. He means business.


Cousin is closing the gap on Koshevoy - a superb fight back from the Frenchman, who has dropped Txurruka and Lindeman.


The gap is 2:15 with 4km to go so it's touch and go. Koshevoy or one of the escapees could still win - provided the attacks done start to rain down soon.


All the big guns are here on the front of the pack, including the red jersey of Chaves. Sanchez has done his bit for Astana and it's now Diego Rosa doing the pace-setting for Aru and maybe Landa (the Spaniard is further back).


Koshevoy is reeled in, but then dances on the pedals and stretches clear of Cousin, Txurruka and Lindeman again. Quintero is nowhere to be seen so he's out of the equation.


Koshevoy has a second wind, comes through and overtakes the other escapees. Excellent stuff from the young neo-pro.


Astana are showing some real interest here, with Luis Leon Sanchez setting a strong tempo as the other race favourites gather behind. The gap is 2:30.


Cousin accelerates and that forces a selection. Txurruka and Lindeman can follow, but Koshevoy and Quintero are struggling.


We're onto the steep hairpin section of this climb as Amets Txurruka comes to the front. This is where it will start to get feisty.


Astana have come to the front now. The gap is 3:10 for the escapees, who are combining well together. "I'd love to see the break succeed but it's going to be difficult," says Sean Kelly.


Belgium's Jurgen van den Broeck is right at the back of the peloton. The Lotto-Soudal will join Katusha next year in a bid to kickstart his career after a disappointing year.


Amets Txurruka (Caja Rural) has been awarded the combativity prize today. But can he hold on for the stage win and polka dot jersey?


The rule regarding fresh water bottles has been cancelled today because of the heat. The break has 3:40 now as numerous riders peel off the peloton, including Movistar's Xavier Moreno, his work done, and BMC's Alessandro Di Marchi.


Sky have come to the front alongside Movistar. Thomas is there with his jersey unzipped to reveal a hairless, pasty white chest. Chaves has one Orica team-mate left - Cameron Meyer - and Tom Dumoulin of Giant-Alpecin in his back wheel.


Cousin has been doing most of the work in the break on this first section of the climb.


It's not looking too good for the breakaway: Movistar still drive the pack and the gap has come down to 4:40.


Omar Fraile, the polka dot jersey, has already been dropped. But he'll probably still be leading the KOM competition this evening, provided his team-mate Txurruka doesn't win the stage.


The peloton is already blowing apart on the early section of this climb - the time gaps will be fairly hefty today. This is the easy part of the climb!


We're onto the final climb now - with this five-man break holding an advantage of 6:05 over the pack. The Cat.1 Alto de Capileira is 20km long with a max gradient of 6.5% and a maximum of 9% over the last 8km.


The five leaders are just completing a downhill segment ahead of the final climb. Koshevoy was struggling to keep up on the first part, but the Belorusian managed to fight back on.


It's now down to seven minutes as Katusha and Movistar continue their dual chase of the five-man break. A reminder of the five leaders: Carlos Quintero (Team Colombia), Amets Txurruka (Caja Rural), Ilia Koshevoy (Lampre-Merida), Bert Jan Lindeman (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Jérôme Cousin (Europcar).


Katusha have sent a man to the front as the peloton rides through a water bottle zone. In this heat, it's so important to keep hydrated. On bidon duty for Tinkoff-Saxo is Peter Sagan, who is leading the green jersey competition. The stage three winner has 61 points - five more than Chaves and 14 clear of Valverde.


Frenchman Olivier Le Gac (FDJ) needs a bike change - possibly after a small crash, it's hard to say. Yes, it was a crash - but nothing serious.


Lindeman jumps clear to take the bonus seconds and points at the intermediate sprint. The break has eight minutes now.


Still Movistar drive the pace with all nine of their team now on the front. Yet again it's that man Rory Sutherland, the Australian, setting the tempo. The gap is down to 8:25.


Despite those earlier reports of a gravel / dirt track in the final 500m of today's stage, it appears to have been covered with fresh tarmac. So there will be no Colle delle Finestre-style finish today...


Team Colombia have come to the front to lend a hand, as Movistar take over the reins. Spanish national champion Valverde is currently second in the peloton. The gap is 9:45 now.


The gap is down to 10 minutes now so it's coming down under this pressure by Sky and Astana. We have a zippy downhill coming up ahead of a slight rise to the intermediate sprint ahead of the final climb.


The peloton has strung out from this pace setting by the teams of the big GC riders. Today we should see the likes of Chris Froome, Sergio Henao, Mikel Nieve and Nicolas Roche (Team Sky), Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Fabio Aru and Mikel Landa (Astana), Tejay van Garderen and Samuel Sanchez (BMC), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) come out and play. Then there are the GC outsiders - the likes of Louis Meintjes and Esteban Chaves (Orica), Pierre Rolland (Europcar) and Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo).


Yesterday Chaves was in white and Dumoulin in red; today it's the reverse. The Dutchman trails the Colombian by 10 seconds on GC and has 13 points to Chaves' 7pts in the combined competition. It's worth adding also that the white jersey in the Vuelta is not for the best placed young rider but for the combined competition. Dumoulin trails Chaves here but wears the jersey because his rival is in red.


Orica-GreenEdge have dropped right back and now Sky have come forward to lend a hand alongside Movistar and Astana. The gap keeps tumbling - down to 10:30 now.


The gap comes down to 12 minutes after the Astana team of Fabio Aru and Mikel Landa come to the front alongside Orica-GreenEdge.


Today's final climb concludes with 500m of dirt track. Here you can see some of what the riders will tackle in the last 4km - courtesy of Eurosport's Laura Meseguer.


Movistar team director Jose-Luis Arrieta has played down Alejandro Valverde chances of picking up his second win of the race today. He told the Vuelta's official website: "It's a first test for all the GC riders and it's true that Alejandro knows the area very well as he's been training at altitude in the area. But then many other riders also train in Sierra Nevada and a lot of them know the area very well. Alejandro has won a stage, he's in great shape but there's never a surprise with him. He's always on form. We may not see a great battle today but you never know when the battle comes. And then we could also see a few favourites have a bad day.


The gap has grown to 13 minutes for the five escapees. One more, and Cousin will be the virtual red jersey.


Back in the peloton, yesterday's red jersey Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) has dropped back to the medical car. The Dutchman had a serious crash in the Tour de France which ruled him out of action for a few weeks.


In non-Vuelta news, Etixx-QuickStep have today confirmed the signing of Cannondale-Garmin's Dan Martin on a two-year contract from 2016. The Irishman finished second yesterday to add to his two second-place finishes in the Tour de France. Some are labelling him the uphill Peter Sagan such is his propensity to be the bridesmaid.


Colombian Carlos Quintero may be 29 years old but he only turned professional in 2012 and is making his debut in the Vuelta after two appearances in the Giro d'Italia. He's no stranger to getting in the break having shown a penchant for attacking riding these past few seasons. That said, Quintero is still on the hunt for a maiden pro win.


Belarusian youngster Ilia Koshevoy is riding his debut Grand Tour here in Spain in his first season as a pro for Lampre-Merida. The 24-year-old won a stage in the Tour of Qinghai Lake in China back in July.


It's worth mentioning that Txurruka is moving to Orica-GreenEdge in 2016 and so the team of red jersey Chaves may give the break a bit of leeway provided Cousin is not any threat to the overall lead.


This is the second break Bert-Jan Lindeman has been in after his cameo in stage four. The Dutchman is riding his second Vuelta after finishing 143rd in his debut back in 2012. The 26-year-old LottoNL-Jumbo rider has had a quiet season, his best results coming with second place in the Ronde van Drenth and third in stage four of the Tour of Romandie.


And it's that man Txurruka who takes the maximum three points going over the summit, with Linderman taking two and Koshevoy one for third. The blue polka dot jersey for a fourth day running is Txurruka's compatriot and Caja Rural team-mate Omar Fraile.


The leaders are approaching the summit of the first categorised climb of the day, the Cat.3 Puerto de los Blancares (9km at 3.3%). The lead is up to 12 minutes.


No surprise to see mountain breakaway specialist Amets Txurruka in the break - the 32-year-old Caja Rural rider loves this kind of terrain and has shown fine form this year with wins at the Tour of Norway and the Tour de Beauce. This is Txurruka's eighth Vuelta but he's never finished higher than sixth in a stage. Should this break stay out, he'll improve on that record by at least a place. The Basque rider was the most aggressive rider of the 2007 Tour de France back in his Euskaltel days.


Team Europcar have managed to get someone in the break every day so far - no big surprise given their on-going quest to find a lead sponsor to keep the team going next season and beyond. Jérôme Cousin is the best placed rider on GC in this break - but at 14:06 down on Esteban Chaves, he's no real threat to the red jersey as yet. The 26-year-old Frenchman is riding his second Vuelta and his best result this season has been 14th in the Tour de l'Ain. The former track rider won the Tour de Normandie in 2012 and a stage in the Etoile de Besseges in 2013.


The break rode the first hour today at an average speed of 38.1kmph. This was up to 38.8kmph in the second hour.


We pick up the race with 120km remaining and that five-man group now have a large lead of 10:30 over the peloton. This one could be here to stay...


Five riders managed to open up a gap over the peloton after 12km: Carlos Quintero (Team Colombia), Amets Txurruka (Caja Rural), Ilia Koshevoy (Lampre-Merida), Bert Jan Lindeman (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Jérôme Cousin (Europcar).


An early break of 11 riders was foiled by the Movistar-led peloton.


Early crashes for Vasil Kiryienka (Sky) and Gediminas Bagdonas (Ag2R-La Mondiale) .


The remaining 189 riders roll out of Jodar to get this stage under way - and it's going to be another swelterfest under the cloudless blue sky of southern Spain.


Yesterday, baby-faced assassin Esteban Chaves moved back onto the race summit with his second stage victory of the Vuelta, dancing clear of his rivals - including the red jersey Tom Dumoulin - on the steep final ramp into Sierra de Cazorla. Dumoulin finished third in the wheel of second place Dan Martin, five seconds adrift, meaning Chaves now leads the race by 10 seconds.


Hola and welcome to live coverage of the Vuelta a Espana - and it's the first major mountain top finish of the race in the 191km stage seven from Jodar to La Alpujurra.