Quintana cracks Froome as Brambilla wins epic stage 15 at the Vuelta

A surprise attack by Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) helped Nairo Quintana (Movistar) boost his lead over Chris Froome (Sky) to more than three minutes after Sunday’s 15th stage of the Vuelta a Espana.

After yesterday’s queen stage, there were more mountains on the menu on stage 15 which was a short intense affair of just 118.5km that brought the rides from Sabinanigo to the top of the Aramon Formigal climb. After a rolling start, the riders tackled a category 3 and a category 3 climb in the middle section before they got to the bottom of the final climb. It averaged just 4.6% over 14.5km but was a bit steeper in the final 3km.

An audacious move by Contador’s Tinkoff team caught the peloton off guard with an attack at the start of the short 118.5-kilometer (74-mile) ride in the Pyrenees.

Quintana quickly joined Contador’s small breakaway that surprised Froome and isolated him from his Sky teammates who were even further behind.

Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx – QuickStep) took the win at Aramon Formigal after out-sprinting Quintana on the home straight, while Contador faded in the final kilometres to come home 33 seconds down on the Italian.

With the gains, Quintana now leads Froome by 3’37” while Chaves is 5 seconds further back in third. He hopes for an easier day tomorrow on stage 16 which should be one for the sprinters. After a gradually ascending start, there’s a single category 3 climb at the midpoint before the peloton descends for 50km to the flat finish

Vuelta a Espana 2016 – stage 15 results (Sabiñánigo – Sallent de Gállego):

1 Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx – Quick-Step)


2 Nairo Quintana (Movistar)


3 Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo)


4 Kenny Elissonde (FDJ)


5 David De La Cruz (Etixx – Quick-Step)


6 Alberto Contador (Tinkoff)


7 Davide Formolo (Cannondale-Drapac)


8 Matvey Mamykin (Katusha)


9 Esteban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange)


10 Michele Scarponi (Astana)


11 Louis Meintjes (Lampre-Merida)


12 Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Drapac)


13 Samuel Sanchez (BMC)


14 Daniel Moreno (Movistar)


15 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)


16 Egor Silin (Katusha)


17 Omar Fraile (Dimension Data)


18 Chris Froome (Sky)


19 Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2R)


20 Jan Bakelants (AG2R)


General classification after stage 15:

1 Nairo Quintana (Movistar)


2 Christopher Froome (Sky)


3 Esteban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange)


4 Alberto Contador (Tinkoff)


5 Simon Yates (Orica-BikeExchange)


6 Samuel Sanchez (BMC)


7 Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Drapac)


8 Davide Formolo (Cannondale-Drapac)


9 David De La Cruz (Etixx – Quick-Step)


10 Michele Scarponi (Astana)


11 Daniel Moreno (Movistar)


12 George Bennett (LottoNl-Jumbo)


13 Sergio Pardilla (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA)


14 Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2R)


15 Ben Hermans (BMC)


16 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)


17 Egor Silin (Katusha)


18 Maxime Monfort (Lotto Soudal)


19 Kenny Elissonde (FDJ)


20 Jan Bakelants (AG2R)