Tineo - Puerto del Acebo
Vuelta a España - 8 September 2019
Vuelta a España – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 12:18 on 8 September 2019. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Nairo Quintana comes home alongside Wilco Kelderman around 3'52" down.
In the end, it's Lopez who leads Pogacar over the line three minutes down. So, the Slovenian will retain the white jersey and his place on the podium.
Roglic comes home ahead of Valverde, 2'13" down on the winner Kuss. So, Roglic won't extend his lead over Valverde, but he will do over everyone else in the top five.
Further back, it's the Slovenians who are going for it - Roglic attacking Valverde in the final kilometre, and Pogacar doing the same to Lopez.
Ruben Guerreiro (Katusha-Alpecin) kicks clear to take second place just ahead of Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team Ineos) around 40 seconds in arrears. Fourth for Oscar Rogriguez of Euskadi-Murias.
Victory for the American Sepp Kuss of Jumbo-Visma! He's all smiles as he savours the occasion before crossing the line, his arms aloft.
The American is showboating now - high-fiving the fans behind the barriers. Magnificent stuff.
This will be Kuss's fifth career win - but a first outside America and the Tour of Utah.
Under the flamme rouge for Sepp Kuss, who looks assured of a maiden Grand Tour stage win.
Oscar Rodriguez is about to catch the two pursuers, TGH and Guerreiro. But they trail the lone leader by 40 seconds now. Further back, Lopez and Pogacar have dropped Majka.
Soler is now riding with Valverde and Roglic, the Spaniard pacing his world champion teammate with more vim and vigour than he paced Quintana last week...
Just 2km to go now for lone leader Kuss, who is on the cusp of a Grand Tour breakthrough. The American still has 30 seconds on TGH and Guerreiro.
The Roglic-Valverde group are three minutes down but 30 seconds ahead of Majka, Lopez and Pogacar, with Fuglsang peeling off after doing his work for his Colombian teammate from Astana. Quintana, in green, leads the chase group behind.
It looked like Geoghegan Hart had been dropped - but that's far from the case. He's dropped Soler and Rodriguez and has now caught Guerreiro. But they trail Kuss by 30 seconds.
Kuss, the whippet American, is reaching the small downhill section in the climb. He has Guerreiro chasing him, then Soler and Rodriguez.
Kuss is approaching the 4km banner. Back with the GC chasers, Quintana has been dropped as Majka rides clear with Lopez, Pogacar and Fuglsang.
Pogacar, Lopez and Quintana are in a chase group about 20 seconds down on their GC rivals Roglic and Valverde. Fuglsang is setting the pace for his Astana teammate Lopez.
Padun has hit the wall now. Guerreiro takes up the chase ahead of TGH, Soler and Rodriguez.
Kuss has 27 seconds on the chasers and 3'22" on his teammate Roglic and Valverde.
Padun has a small gap on the other chasers, with Geoghegan Hart leading the chase with Rodriguez and Guerreiro, with Soler just a bit back.
Try as he might, Valverde cannot shake Roglic. Jumbo-Visma could be on to a double win today - for Kuss in the stage, and Roglic in the GC.
It's not Navarro with Soler, Padun and Rodriguez, but Guerreiro. Oh, and back with the favourites there's an attack from Valverde! Roglic marks the move from the veteran world champion - but no one else can follow!
Samitier is grimacing like a Munch painting. He's about to be joined by Kuss. Behind, there's a chase group of Padun and Soler. And Kuss is on a stormer - the American rides past the former leader, who drops back and offers a bottle to Euskadi teammate Rodriguez, who's there with Soler and Navarro.
Samitier rides under the 7km banner with a 15 seconds gap on Kiryienka. But Kuss is leading the chase behind for the break - or those of the break who are still holding on. Behind, Movistar and Astana take it up in the pack, who are onto the start of the climb.
Meanwhile, back with the pack there's the fierce race ahead of that pinch point. Astana and Movistar have come to the front to crowd out Roglic, who only has two Jumbo teammates with him now.
The first attack comes from Samitier who zips clear ahead of the 15% ramp upon which he almost grinds to a halt.
Here we go - the Cat.1 Puerto del Acebo (7.9km at 9.7%).
The leaders have done that narrow dog-leg which caused the peloton to bottleneck when the riders first passed through town at the start of the stage. But they then continue along the road up a different route to a different summit. Still 45 seconds for the duo.
Kiryienka catches Samitier so we have two out ahead. Navarro and O'Connor must have been reeled in. The Belarusian takes on a gel from a roadside carer. They have 38 seconds over the other escapees, who are being led by Jauregui and Soler.
Lone leader Samitier enters the town of Cangas del Narcea for the third time today. The locals are getting their money's worth.
Kiryienka attacks! Paving the way for Geoghegan Hart, the Ineos rider zips clear to spark a response by Frenchman Jauregui. Further up, Samitier still leads with Navarro and O'Connor almost caught by the chasers.
I think the break will hold on. The pack is still five minutes back and there are too many riders here who will try to win it, which will nullify the bridging threat posed by the likes of Izagirre, Soler and Kuss. So, my money is on Rodriguez, with Padun or Geoghegan Hart as outsiders.
Samitier is on to a hiding to nothing. He's just attacked Navarro and O'Connor just as the break looks set to reel them in. Still, the more he does on the front now, the easier it may be for teammate Rodriguez later on.
Only 20 seconds now for the three leaders - that's one second for each kilometre remaining. In short: they won't hold on.
The long, gradual descent continues with O'Connor driving the pace on a flat segment. Just 55 seconds now for the three leaders. Jumbo still front the pack, 5'35" down, but they have yet to really throw down the hammer. It's still touch and go whether today's winner will come from the break or the break. There are some decent climbers out ahead in the form of Rodriguez, Izagirre, Soler, Geoghegan Hart, Kuss and Navarro. A lot will depend on whether the likes of Izagirre, Soler and Kuss are bring used as relays for their GC men Lopez, Valverde/Quintana and Roglic, or have been given the blessing to target the win themselves.
That's another 10pts for Samitier over the top, so the Spaniard has suddenly made himself a factor in the KoM standings. They're on the long descent now, the trio's lead down to 1'15" over the chasers but up to 5'35" now on the pack.
Behind, there's a dispute between Jauregi and Guerreiro, who refuses to work because he has teammate Navarro up the road, which is fair enough. Grmay zips past them both. In any case, this trio were just off the back of the chasing group.
Samiter leads the trio over the top ahead of Navarro and O'Connor.
The leading trio now have 1'30" over the rest of the break and 4'50" over the Jumbo-led pack, so the gaps are growing. 1.5km from the summit now.
Here's Juan Antonio Flecha's recon from today's final climb.
Jumbo, Movistar, Astana and UAE Team Emirates front the peloton in that order for their respective leaders Roglic, Valverde/Quintana, Lopez and Pogacar. It looks like it's all going to come down to the final climb for the GC battle - and a brute of a final climb it is, with a persistent double-digit gradient and an early ramp that pushes 15%.
Samitier is about to be joined by O'Connor and Navarro. They have a minute over the rest of teh break and 4'20" over the main pack.
It's the kind of time that we usually see Angel Madrazo get dropped - and look there, yonder, it's the polka dot jersey drifting off the back. He may keep hold of it today, but I'd be amazed if Madrazo is still the leader of the climbers' classification come the second rest day.
Dani Navarro (Katusha-Alpecin) has taken the bait and zipped clear of the break in pursuit of Samitier. He's joined by Ben O'Connor of Dimension Data.
One of the Euskadi-Murias riders has decided to roll the dice early. It's Sergio Samitier, who looks to be preparing the way for his teammate Oscar Rodriguez, who won a stage last year but has had a quiet race so far.
The break is now on the Cat.1 Puerto del Pozo de las Muejeres Muertas, which translates as something something of the Dead Women, which is highly evocative. It's a 11.3km climb at 6.8%.
Six of the 17 escapees are Spanish: Soler, Samitier, Navarro, Rodriguez, Izagirre and Herrada. Can one of them snare a fifth Spanish stage win today? Next up in that list is Slovenia, with three stage wins, but no riders in this break.
Mechanical issue for Katusha's Steff Cras, who stops in the middle of the pack to put his chain back on. It's that quiet that the TV director has to focus on something like this.
The break are on a little leg-stretcher climb ahead of the third climb proper. We're hearing that Brian Van Goethem (Lotto Soudal) has also abandoned, so we're down to 159 riders.
The race is passing through the feed zone. The gap is 3'55" ahead of the third of four climbs. Portugal's Guerreiro, one of our escapees, is with the medical car having his under vest scissored off so he can remove it. Must be warmer than he'd bargained for. Odd move; you'd think it easier to stop and remove it instead of going through that whole dangerous rigmarole.
How the Bora boys celebrated Bennett's second win yesterday...
Jumbo-Visma leading the pack as it goes downhill just as it was on the way up. That's the thing about some of these mid-length stages with multiple climbs: often, once the break goes, very little happens until the final climb. This is the case today.
The peloton aren't taking any chances on this descent, allowing the lead of the break to extend to 3'45".
We're hearing that Jesper Hansen (Cofidis) has abandoned the race. We're down to 160 now I think.
It's a long 20km descent through trees. Let's hope everyone stays up on two wheels.
It was Sergio Samitier of Euskadi-Murias who took the points over the top ahead of fellow Spaniards Herrada and Navarro. Despite what I said earlier, Madrazo could hold on to the polka dot jersey again - unless it comes back together and either Valverde or Pogacar pick up maximum points on the final climb by winning the stage.
The break has gone over the summit but it was hard to see who scooped the points because the motorcycle cameraman was following, not preceding, the riders. Anyway, we'll update you on that when we get confirmation. The gap is 3'10".
Today's route is one of those that you'd love to be riding yourself. And with the sun out in a cloudless blue sky, with clement temperatures around 20 degrees, it's perfect cycling conditions.
Things have definitely quietened down now with the gap a stable 2'50" for the 17 leaders. Jumbo-Visma still leading the pack ahead of Movistar and Astana. 4km to the summit.
There's a touch of wheels near the back of the pack with Luis Leon Sanchez and Viacheslav Kuznetsov's bikes tangling up a little. No biggie and they're soon on their way.
Amazingly, Willie Smit - who has those stitches in his knee after yesterday's pile-up (see earlier - and quite graphic - tweet) - is still hanging on to the back of the peloton. He was dropped on the first climb but fought back on the descent.
Some mechanical issues for Ben King at the back of the pack. Roglic, meanwhile, has five Jumbo-Visma bees tapping out tempo for him on the front. The break are sharing out pacing duties. They have 2'30" on the field with 9km of this climb still remaining.
Right, it's the second climb of the day now, the Cat.1 Puerto del Connio (11.7km at 6.2%). The gap for the 17-man break back to the Jumbo-Visma-led peloton is 2'40". The best placed rider in the break is Marc Soler, who is 15'27" down on Roglic on GC.
Third-place Pogacar was affected by that crash yesterday - will that stop him winning a third successive summit finish on this race?
Those disparate groups have all come together so we now have 17 riders out ahead with a gap of 3'15" on the pack. They're riding up a valley on a false flat ahead of the second climb of the day, with Jumbo-Visma setting the tempo on the reformed peloton, which is back to its usual size after fragmenting on the first climb.
Right, it seems like the break has been given leave from the peloton. They now have two minutes to play with ahead of the second climb. Five riders - Quentin Jauregui (Ag2R-La Mondiale), Lawson Craddock (EF Education First), Tsgabu Grmay (Mitchelton-Scott), Dani Navarro (Katusha-Alpecin) and Jose Herrada (Cofidis) - are about 30 seconds down, with another two riders - Pawel Poljanski (Bora-Hansgrohe) & Ben O’Connor (Team Dimension Data) - closing in on them.
The two groups came together but the 10 riders - Soler, Izagirre, Padun, Armee, Geoghegan Hart, Kiryienka, Kuss, Guerreiro, Rodriguez and Samiter - only have 20 seconds. In betweem, there are around half a dozen riders trying to bridge over.
Padun has been pushing it the hardest on the descent, channelling his inner Vincenzo Nibali. But all these various groups seem to be coming back together as they ride back through Cangas del Narcea for the second of three visits this afternoon.
The leading sextet have 12 seconds on the chasing Izagirre quartet (the fourth rider being Sergio Samiter, who's alongside Euskadi-Murias teammate Rodriguez) and 30 seconds on the pack.
It would be a surprise if Angel Madrazo, the Stage 5 winner from Burgos-BH, keeps hold of the polka dot jersey today. His lead is down to 2pts with Frenchman Geoffrey Bouchard piling on the pressure. Also, Tadej Pogacar is 7pts back and could easily pick those up by finishing today's stage well.
Two riders from EF Education First zip clear on a small uphill rise that cuts up the descent. They join a rider from Mitchelton-Scott and one from Sunweb. Others are trying to bridge over. In fact, we have a group of four - including Ion Izagirre and Oscar Rodriguez, and Sepp Kuss - who are further ahead between the six leaders (Kiryienka is back with them) and the pack.
Ineos have been busy so far with two men on the attack. Here's one man from Ineos who won't be joining that duo any time fast.
Armee is back with the front-runners so we have five out ahead now. The chasers must have been caught because the peloton really isn't far away - and the peloton, in all fairness, is hardly a peloton: we're talking 35 riders maximum.
Soler, Padun, Geoghegan Hart and Guerreiro now lead after dropping Arme, Kiryienka, Pedersen and Ezquerra. And then it's Soler who leads the quartet over the summit - but the gap is very small so expect more changes on the descent.
Soler and Geoghegan Hart catch Ezquerra and then, as a trio, they catch the leaders. Rubern Guerreiro of Katusha is also there. So we have eight riders out ahead. But the gap is just 15 seconds as they approach the summit.
Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team Ineos) and Marc Soler (Movistar) zip clear of the thinning pack.
Ezquerra is the first rider from the break to be dropped.
I mean, imagine just going about your day with a deep cut like that - let alone cycle up four mountains in a professional bike race...
Already we have a gruppetto off the back. In there is the South African Willie Smit of Katusha-Alpecin, who went down heavily in yesterday's pile up. So heavily that he needed stitches to a cut in his knee - as you can see here. Not for the squeamish...
Just 55 seconds now for the break thanks to the pacing of Movistar behind. The Spanish boys in blue have Roglic's Jumbo-Visma team behind. It will be interesting to see how Valverde goes today - the Spanish veteran went down in the pile-up, although not as bad as Tadej Pogacar. How will they react to those spills?
Just FYI: none of these escapees are a threat on GC with the best placed rider being Sander Armee of Lotto Soudal, who is a huge 1hr 36min 11sec down in 68th position.
I'll drop feed you with some interviews conducted with riders ahead of today's stage, starting with the young Briton James Knox, who was quite active at the start of the stage as he looks to consolidate his position in the top 20.
There's a severe dog-leg onto the climb where the road narrows dramatically. For the break it's a simple task but for the mass of the peloton, it's a serious obstacle - and that strings everything out. That's why Movistar are on the front - because many riders will have lost a lot of ground while unclipping to wait for things to filter out.
The break is onto the first ascent of the Cat.1 Puerto del Acebo (8.2km at 7.1%). Today's fourth climb is also the Puerto del Acebo, but they tackle it from a different approach and finish at the Santuario del Acebo, so it's essentially only the same climb in name.
Here's what's on the menu today. The fifth summit finish of the race comes at the end of a stage that features four first-category climbs. Climbed twice, the Puerto del Acebo bookends the day, with the second and final ascent via the harder approach where the gradient consistently hits double-figures, with a maximum tilt of 15%.
The break now has 1'30" on the pack as they approach the first climb of the day, which starts in Cangas del Narcea. Movistar are setting tempo behind.
It looked like the peloton was happy to let this move go but there's a counter attack from a Movistar rider - Jorge Arcas - who looks to get in the move. This is covered by Jumbo-Visma's Tony Martin before another Movistar man, Imanol Erviti, ups the tempo. The Spanish team clearly want to get men ahead for their leaders to bridge over to later on.
We have five men out in front now ahead of the first climb of the day. They are: Mark Padun (Bahrain-Merida), Sander Armée (Lotto Soudal), Vasil Kiryienka (Team Ineos), Casper Pedersen (Team Sunweb) and Jesus Ezquerra (Burgos-BH) .
A flurry of attacks from the outset with the likes of James Knox (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Nelson Oliveira (Movistar) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) particularly active.
Two non-starters today, taking the peloton down to 161 riders: Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott) and Patrick Becin (CCC Team).
The top 10 on GC going into today's stage with Primoz Roglic sitting pretty in red.
And the crash which ended Luka Mezgec's Vuelta and threatens - we're hearing - to force his Mitchelton-Scott teammate Esteban Chaves out of the race...
Here was how Bennett bagged his brace...
Yesterday, Ireland’s Sam Bennett took his second win of La Vuelta at a relative canter after a huge pile-up inside the final kilometre put paid to the hopes of his big sprint rivals in Stage 14 to Oviedo. It was a subdued celebration for Bora-Hansgrohe’s Bennett, who raised a single finger as he crossed the line with a healthy gap over Argentina’s Max Richeze of Deceuninck-QuickStep. Belgian Tosh van der Sande (Lotto Soudal) attacked on the final rise towards the finish but was reeled in by the in-form Bennett and had to settle for third place.
Hola and welcome to live coverage of Stage 15 of La Vuelta - the 154.4km schlep from Tineo to Santuario del Acebo, a GC showdown featuring four first-category climbs.