91 riders finish outside of time cut in Vuelta a Espana stage 15

Stage 15 of the Vuelta a Espana may have only been 118.5km but it served up the most dramatic day of racing so far for the General Classification contenders.

It was a case of explosive racing from KM 0 with attacks playing out immediately, but it was a move from Alberto Contador after 6km that saw a 14-rider breakaway, including race leader Nairo Quintana, split from the main bunch.

With the main field unable to react due to the tricky parcours and splits in the peloton, Quintana’s group managed to build an advantage of more than two minutes over the group that contained Chris Froome (Sky) and Esteban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange).

91 riders finished 22 minutes outside the cut off time, including most of Froome’s teammates and the whole Direct Energie squad to name just a few. This enlarged grupetto had a race speed almost 10km/h slower than the stage winner with most coming in 53-54 on stage winner Gianluca Brambilla.

Froome will need his domestiques more than ever after his woeful ride on stage 15, and they’ll probably be under strict instructions to make up for their tactical mishap on the Vuelta’s key mountain stage.

The UCI and race organizers have allowed the riders to start stage 16.