No change in the overall standings ahead of tomorrow's rest day with Quintana holding onto his strong 3:37 advantage over Froome. Thanks for joining us and be sure to return on Wednesday for the ninth hilltop finish of the race...
Alcañiz - Peñíscola
Vuelta a España - 5 September 2016
Vuelta a España – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 12:57 on 5 September 2016. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Two Germans beaten there was Rudiger Selig (Bora-Argon18) took second place and Nikias Arndt (Giant Alpecin) third ahead of Gianni Meersman (Etixx-QuickStep).
Drunker followed the right wheel before darting out of Gianni Meersman's slipstream to take the first Grand Tour stage win of his career.
Victory for Jean-Pierre Drucker of BMC! The Luxembourger times it just right...
Bennati sits up...
We're into the last kilometre now... and Bennati is holding on but has Etixx chasing...
A difficult chicane now ahead of the beach and Bennati has a small gap still...
Daniele Bennati has gone for a long one and the Italian opens up a small gap...
LottoNL-Jumbo's Robert Gesink goes for a long one but is reeled in swiftly. Bora-Argon 18 move to the front for Michael Schwarzmann. Everyone looking for their sprinters though - fairly chaotic.
BMC now setting a tempo for Jempy Drucker, himself without a win or even top five yet.
Lotto Soudal near the front now as the pack splits on a roundabout, with Giant Alpecin chosing the right way around to make some ground on those who went the other way.
Giant-Alpecin and Dimension Data are now on the front - both on the hunt for their first wins of the race.
Quite a few riders being tailed off the back of the peloton - in fact, there are numerous groups rolling in... David Lopez of Sky in the back one.
Still a tense 10 kilometres to go and yet another tight pinch of a left-hand turn - which is exactly why Tinkoff and Sky are still right on the front of this peloton.
It's all back together just ahead of a tight right-hand turn and pinch point.
Astana have nudged ahead alongside Sky as the break look at each other and decide to call it a day.
These remaining three escapees continue to deny the break but for not much longer. They're onto a wide highway and the jostling for positions has well and truly begun.
Dillier digs in ahead of the intermediate sprint - which he wins - before taking Bystrom and Mate with him. Costa is the next of the break to throw in the towel. Just 15 seconds now with Tinkoff still on the front.
Giant-Alpecin are near the front too, working for their man Nikias Arndt. They have the break at just 10 seconds now as Villella and Morice call it a day and drop back.
Tinkoff have now come to the front - not just to protect their man Alberto Contador but, probably, to help tee up their veteran sprinter Daniele Bennati. Tinkoff are without a win in this race despite their aggressive riding - as seen yesterday in the move pulled off by Contador, Rovny and Trofimov.
Just 40 seconds now for the break, who seemed resigned for getting caught before the finish. It's just a question of who tries to stay out the longest in a bid to win the combativity award.
It's a second day off for many riders so after tomorrow's official rest day there are going to be some fresh legs for the penultimate summit finish at Mas de la Costa on Wednesday.
The gap is coming down fast now: just one minute for the six leaders to play with now as the peloton prepares itself for the expected bunch sprint. It's a hectic finale though - with a downhill roundabout and some twisting turns - and so don't discount some late drama.
The gap for the six escapees is down to 1:45. Villella and Mate have been fairly busy in this Vuelta with numerous breakaways between then, while Morice was involved in a break in the opening week alongside Tiago Machado, a day after his Direct Energie team-mate Lilian Calmejane won stage 4.
Should Fabio Felline win today's stage the Italian could well move into the green jersey at the expense of Alejandro Valverde, who's been in green since taking over from Gianni Meersman at the end of the first week - despite the Belgian's two wins. Valverde is currently on 93 points with Quintana in second on 86. Felline, however, is third on 76 so poised to make a statement perhaps.
IAM Cycling, Dimension Data and Etixx-QuickStep have moved to the front of the pack to lead the chase - thinking in advance for their sprinters Jonas Van Genechten, Kristian Sbaragli and Gianni Meersman.
The break has crested the top of the extra climb and have started the long, spectacular descent to the coast - it starts with a series of hairpins that twist down a valley. Stunning stuff from the aerial camera. The gap is 2:10.
The approaching feed zone is followed by another climbs, this one uncategorised, ahead of the long descent towards the coast and the finish. The gap is down to 2:15 but it could well stretch out once the peloton tucks into the contents of their musettes.
Joe Dombrowski of Cannondale-Drapac - who has tailed off since the race entered the second week - has a puncture and needs a wheel change. The six leaders have 2:38 over the pack.
It's Luis Angel Mate who takes the maximum 3pts over the summit of the climb on the hilltop town of Morella alongside the castle and city walls. David Villella takes 2pts and Sven Eryk Bystrom 1pt. No big change in the KOM standings except that Mate moves up to 9th place above Chris Froome and Gianluca Brambilla on 18 points. The current leader in the polka dot standings is Kenny Elissonde (FDJ) who has 56 points to Omar Fraile's 48.
We're approaching that climb now - the Cat.3 Alto Castillo de Morella (3.4km at 5.2%). The road has been rising steadily for the past 20-odd kilometres but this is the actual official climb about to start.
As for the argument against kicking them out - well, quite simply, the race would lose over half the field ahead of the final week. It would lessen the spectacle, aggravate sponsors and fans, and see one team (Direct Energie) totally eliminated from the race. it would set a dangerous precedent and unsettle the foundations of a sport seeking stability and investment. It would also effectively crown Nairo Quintana the winner with six more stages left to race.
The argument for enforcing the rules and kicking out the 91 riders who didn't make the time limit is that they effectively soft-pedalled and had a day off - and these same riders may go on to play an important role in the outcome of the race. They may deny someone else a stage win, or in the case of Team Sky, they may pull off the same kind of coup performed by the likes of Movistar, Tinkoff and Orica-BikeExchange over the weekend, and that move may be the one that turns things round for Chris Froome. Definitely food for thought.
The big talking point from yesterday's stage was the race jury's decision to not enforce the time limit yesterday after 91 riders came home in a peloton/gruppetto almost 54 minutes down on the stage winner - well outside the time limit. Tellingly, every Team Sky rider besides Chris Froome technically finished outside the time limit - whereas Quintana's Movistar team had eight riders finishing within the limit, and Contador's Tinkoff team had six. Many have voiced their dismay that the rules were bent to allow the riders to continue, most notably the Belgian rider Jan Bakelants...
Etixx-QuickStep are on the front of the pack working for their sprinter Gianni Meersman, who is looking to secure a hat-trick of wins today. If he does it will be his team's fifth win following his earlier brace and individual wins for both David de la Cruz and, yesterday, Gianluca Brambilla.
It's a very hot day today with temperatures in the mid 30s and not a cloud in the blue sky. The initial move today came from Diller, Bystrom, Mate and Morice from kilometre zero - and they were then joined by Villella and Costa. The gap was up to two minutes before the 10km mark with Astana leading the chase back in the pack. IAM Cycling also helped in the chase but a tailwind helped the leaders increase their advantage to three minutes. Yates fell after team-mate Sam Bewley hit the deck as well - they must have touched wheels. The Briton received treatment to his left knee and thigh before rejoining the pack. And that's the round-up complete!
CRASH: Simon Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) touches wheels with someone in the middle of the pack and hits the deck. It's nothing too serious but he's got a torn jersey and needs a bit of medical attention. The Briton dropped to fifth yesterday after Contador's coup.
The six leaders are: Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac) and Mario Costa (Lampre-Merida), Silvan Dillier (BMC), Sven Erik Bystrom (Katusha), Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis) and Julien Morice (Direct Energie).
We pick up the race LIVE with 110km remaining and there's a break of six riders holding a three-minute lead over the peloton as they approach the only climb of the day before dropping down to the coast.
Yesterday, Colombia's Nairo Quintana opened up a commanding lead over Britain's Chris Froome after a daredevil early attack alongside Spaniard Alberto Contador in stage 15 of the Vuelta a Espana, deservedly won by the Italian Gianluca Brambilla.
Hola and bienvenido to stage 16 of the Vuelta a Espana - a 156.4km ride from Alcaniz to Peniscola which, at least on paper, looks a relatively relaxed affair compared to the Pyrenean fireworks we witnessed over the weekend... One for the sprinters or a plucky breakaway, perhaps?