The new top 10, with Quintana up to second, Kelderman in sixth, and both Knox and Teuns into the mix.
Aranda de Duero - Guadalajara
Vuelta a España - 11 September 2019
Vuelta a España – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 19:49 on 11 September 2019. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Lopez sprints ahead to finish just ahead of Valverde, Roglic and Pogacar. They come down around 5'30" down on Gilbert and the other escapees. Time to get the calculators out... What a day!
The small red jersey group - which includes Roglic, Valverde, Pogacar, Lopez and Majka - are still 1km away from the finish, with the clock ticking...
Wilco Kelderman of Sunweb will rise up - perhaps to sixth or fifth - while Nairo Quintana could well be third, even second on GC after today's drama.
The rest of the break arrives in drips and drabs before the Wolfpack descent upon Gilbert after their masterclass out there today. James Knox punched the air as he crossed the line - knowing that he's ridden into the top 10 today.
Sam Bennett went too early and was banking on the road flattening out earlier. He looked quids in, but then the tenacity of Gilbert shone through - and the Belgian veteran had too much in the tank for the final 100m. It was QuickStep's Remi Cavagna who took third ahead of Dylan Teuns of Bahrain-Merida.
Victory for Philippe Gilbert of Deceuninck-QuickStep!
Bennett rides clear! He has Gilbert on his wheel...
Around a corner they go and the road widens. Stybar has the gap still, but it's minimal and he'll surely be caught when Bennett opens up...
Under the flamme rouge for Stybar, whose gap is very small now on this narrow finish straight.
Yes, it's Stybar. He has an Ineos rider in pursuit.
That QuickStep rider has a small gap. They're onto the uphill rise to the line.
Long attack from a QuickStep rider! Is it Stybar?
Boasson Hagen has kept his powder dry - he could be one to watch.
It's looking good for Bennett and a third stage win - but he'll have to freelance here without any teammates.
They're onto that downhill dip - the 'climb' was really just a mound. Still 5'05".
The riders are onto a roundabout ahead of that rise. Still Movistar and Sunweb as they join a highway.
Sunweb and Movistar are driving the tempo in the break, with QuickStep and Ineos with riders behind. There's a punchy climb with 4.5km remaining, followed by a quick descent, then a gradual rise to the line from 3km, so it may not be a regular sprint as such. Ideal terrain for a long pop.
Bora have a rider on the front of the main pack working for Majka. They're not jeopardising Bennett's chances at all because they won't reel them in now. It's all about trying to protect the Pole's position in the top five, which he will lose today.
The gap is growing again: up to five minutes now. Astana and Movistar have men on the front of the red jersey group, but Roglic is isolated - his only ally, his fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogacar.
After four hours in the saddle, the average pace is still a staggering 49.6km/h.
There are so many battles going on out there - with different groups spread out all over the place. QuickStep may have lost their sprinter, Jakobsen, and a nother body in Capecchi, but they still have five riders here in Knox, Gilbert, Cavagna, Stybar and Declercq. Ineos have four, as do Sunweb and Movistar (most notably Quintana). As it is, we're going to see a sprint between Arndt (or Walscheid), Bennett, Boasson Hagen and Molano. Anything could happen after such a tough stage.
QuickStep continue to burn matches. Declercq is stringing things out and has created a split in the break. Behind, Jakobsen has been dropped by the main pack with another QuickStep teammate, Capecchi, who has clearly emptied the tank today.
Luis Leon Sanchez has now dropped back to the main pack for Lopez. It's come back together but Roglic appears to be isolated as he rides in the wheel of Valverde. I say 'back together', this group is about 20-strong max, with no Jumbo-Visma riders remaining except the red jersey. The gap is 4'40".
All over for Jakobsen, who is caught by this reforming but small main pack in disarray. So, QuickStep will have to play another card if they want to beat Bennett and the other fast men out ahead.
Wow! I perhaps spoke too soon... Movistar may have smelt some blood. The reason why they are attacking behind is that Roglic's Jumbo-Visma team may have hit the wall. Because as a result, they have split the main pack to smithereens, with Roglic currently isolated and without any teammates. The gap to the Quintana break comes down accordingly to 4'35".
Movistar also setting the pace on the front of the main pack... for Valverde.
QuickStep may need their power in numbers: Dutch champion Fabio Jakobsen, the Stage 4 winner, has been dropped on a leg-sapping hill that the break are currently tackling, near the Castillo del Cid in Jadraque. Movistar set the tempo. The gap back to the Roglic main pack is 5'28".
So far, so good for Sam Bennett, who has made this crosswind-forced break. But he has no Bora teammates so it will be a big ask for him to sprint to a third win in an hour or so... Here he was at the start of today's stage.
Astana now have Dario Cataldo, Jakob Fuglsang, Omar Fraile and the Izagirre brothers pulling hard on the front. The gap is 5'35" and they're back on rolling roads. No categorised climbs today but there must be well over one thousand accumulative metres of climbing, perhaps more.
It was Cavagna who instigated that move, with teammate Knox following and Movistar's Erviti covering. It looks like it's come to nothing, but that's a reminder how many cards QuickStep hold. The gap has stabilised at 5'28". The last 10 minutes have seen average speeds rise above 62km/h. They have a slight downhill incline to aid that increase, mind.
Uh oh, the break is starting to fight each other. Two QuickStep riders have gone clear with a Movistar man. I guess that's their prerogative, given how many bodies they have in the move - and given the presence of Sam Bennett. The trio went clear with the gap back to the red jersey group down to 5'20".
"It's a sprint that's going to last for 220 kilometres." Carlton Kirby on the comms mic at Eurosport.
Gorka Izagirre is the latest Astana rider to drop back to help the cause behind. The red jersey group have now managed to cut the gap to 5'30" - perhaps because it's now a tailwind, not the crosswind which caused so much carnage.
UAE Team Emirates, Jumbo-Visma and Astana - the potential big losers today - are all on the front of the GC group. But it's hardly any bigger than the break, and they have the unity of seven QuickStep riders pulling. Is there any way this can come back together? Probably not...
We've broken the six-minute barrier. Good golly. Could Quintana be riding himself into red on a 'flat' transitional stage without any mountains??
The average pace has been 49km/h today - and it's been over rolling, exposed roads. And we have gone LIVE now on TV with the gap 5'40" for the 30-odd-man Quintana-QuickStep lead group.
Marco Marcato is the latest UAE Team Emirates rider from the break to sit up and wait for Pogacar and the other GC favourites behind. The gap is now 5'15".
You'll be glad to hear that the race organisers are bringing the TV coverage half an hour earlier today as a response to what's happening. Should kick off at 13:30 UK time.
The devastation is immense today: there are just 30 riders in the GC group now after a split because of the fierce chase. They trail the leading 32 riders by five minutes now. Oliviero Troia (UAE Team Emirates) has dropped back from the move to help out his teammate Pogacar. There are at least five distinct groups on the road now, with two small groups off the back of the main break, and that second peloton behind the GC men.
At the intermediate sprint in Atienza it's Sam Bennett who takes the maximum 4pts and 3 bonus seconds, ahead of Wilco Kelderman (2pts, 2") and Owain Doul (1pt, 1").
And here's the man set to profit the most from today's drama... Did you ever think you'd live to see the day when Quintana, in green, bossed the echelons with Ineos and QuickStep??
The moment the elastic went pop earlier today in the crosswinds on exposed roads shortly after the start of stage 17.
VIRTUAL GC KLAXON!!! Quintana, Kelderman and Knox the big winners today so far...
Back in the actual pack and we're hearing that Bora-Hansgrohe have caused some more damage and some splits. They have Sam Bennett in the break, so it's odd that they should be piling on the pressure behind. Perhaps they're doing so for their man Rafal Majka, who has lost his virtual fifth place to Quintana. In fact, with the gap now 4'30", the Colombian is on the virtual podium at the expense of Pogacar, whom he trailed by four minutes this morning on GC. Scenes!
The leading group is shedding some deadwood. They either can't keep up with the frantic pace, or they're dropping back voluntarily under team orders to lend a hand to some of their teammates in need back with the pack. The 11 riders out of the back are: Pierre Latour, Quentin Jauregui, Clément Venturini (Ag2R-La Mondiale), Heinrich Haussler (Bahrain-Merida), Nathan Van Hooydonck (CCC Team), Daniel Martinez (EF Education First), Ben King (Dimension Data), John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo), Jetse Bol (Burgos-BH), Gonzalo Serrano (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Aritz Bagües (Euskadi-Murias).
According to Radio Vuelta, these are the 47 leaders: Jose Joaquin Rojas, Imanol Erviti, Nelson Oliveira, Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Pierre Latour, Quentin Jauregui, Clément Venturini (Ag2R-La Mondiale), Gorka Izagirre, Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), Heinrich Haussler, Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida), Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe), Jonas Koch, Nathan Van Hooydonck (CCC Team), Philippe Gilbert, Eros Capecchi, Tim Declercq, Fabio Jakobsen, James Knox, Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Lawson Craddock, Daniel Martinez (EF Education First), Tosh van der Sande (Lotto Soudal), Esteban Chaves, Sam Bewley, Damien Howson, Dion Smith (Mitchelton-Scott), Edvald Boasson Hagen, Ben King, Rasmus Tiler (Dimension Data), Owen Doull, Wout Poels, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Ian Stannard (Team Ineos), Wilco Kelderman, Nikias Arndt, Casper Pedersen, Rob Power, Max Walscheid (Sunweb), John Degenkolb, Alex Kirsch (Trek Segafredo), Marco Marcato, Juan Sebastian Molano, Oliviero Troia (UAE Team Emirates), Jetse Bol (Burgos-BH), Gonzalo Serrano (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Aritz Bagües (Euskadi-Murias).
There is some doubt as to who is and isn't in this break - it's so big, it's no surprise there's been a bit of misinformation. We're hearing that Gorka Izagirre (Astana), Nathan Van Hooydonck (CCC Team), Owen Doull, Ian Stannard (Team Ineos) are in the move. But that Hermann Pernsteiner (Bahrain-Merida), Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Mitchell Docker (EF Education First) and Jaco Venter (Dimension Data) are not.
And still it grows! Over four minutes now for this huge leading group. Is this Formigal all over again??
Tenth on GC, Austria's Hermann Pernsteiner (Bahrain-Merida) is in this move with experienced echelon expert teammate Heinrich Haussler. He, too, told LaVuelta.es this morning that this kind of scenario would probably happen: "I think it’s going really well until now. It can be one of the hardest stage of La Vuelta with a long day and the wind. The legs are good. We have to go through today and then we’ll be back in the mountains. My teammates say it can be some racing like there was in Qatar, open roads and it can explode from the start. [Heinrich Haussler] is an expert for this kind of situations. I’m not afraid but the first 150km are always open, with crosswind, so we’ll see what happens."
The gap is now three minutes!! What a coup this could be for Quintana, who has Movistar teammates Rojas, Erviti and Oliviera up the road with him.
You can't say they weren't warned...
Before the start today, Tim Declercq, one of the seven QuickStep riders up the road, told the Vuelta official site: "What I like is full gas racing, as I enjoy suffering. That, I don’t mind. The stress before the echelons, on the other hand, is something I don’t like too much. You have to stay in a good position. I hope we get to race very early and that it is full gas racing until the finish. There is a lot of crosswind for the first 120 kilometres, and tailwind for the last 80 kilometres. It’s likely this is going to be a real war out there today. I am sure this is going to be a chaotic stage on which it won’t be easy to keep the teams tight and together. The one who starts the war will be responsible to carry it to the finish. It is going to be difficult and, 100% sure, very stressful. It is possible we do some damage for the GC today. Most GC riders have strong teams for this terrain, so it’s hard to say who will be in difficulty. But I see this is a stage everyone is excited about: some for the better, some for the worse."
Now Miguel Angel 'Superman' Lopez has ordered his Astana teammates (minus Luis Leon Sanchez, who is up the road) to help out with the chase. Could he be afraid of letting compatriot Quintana back in the fold? The gap is pushing three minutes now.
With the gap now 2'30", Jumbo and UAE Team Emirates have come to the front to pull for their respective Slovenian GC men Roglic and Pogacar.
While QuickStep will be pleased with how things have panned out so far, given Fabio Jakobsen and James Knox's places in the split, they will have noted that the Dutchman's sprint rival Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) is there, as well as John Degenkolb, Heinrich Haussler, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Nikias Arndt, Max Walscheid and Jose Joaquim Rojas, all of whom have a decent kick.
So, so... Deceuninck-QuickStep have SEVEN riders in this 47-man split, which has caught out the entire top-five on GC. The gap is above two minutes now. And it's not as if the peloton weren't warned: the Belgian team made it very clear of their intentions this morning.
Some other names in this lead group which didn't make the cut earlier: Nelson Oliveira (Movistar Team), Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida), Rémi Cavagna, Tim Declercq, Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott, Alex Kirsch (Trek-Segafredo).
Powless has sat up to wait for the peloton. The American has clearly been told by his Jumbo-Visma DS that his efforts would be better spent back with his teammates in support of Roglic as they try to close the gap, which is 1'30".
The break in full, courtesy of the Vuelta official website: Jose Joaquin Rojas, Imanol Erviti, Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Pierre Latour, Quentin Jauregui, Clément Venturini (Ag2R-La Mondiale), Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), Heinrich Haussler, Hermann Pernsteiner (Bahrain-Merida), Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe), Jonas Koch (CCC Team), Philippe Gilbert, Eros Capecchi, Fabio Jakobsen, James Knox (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Lawson Craddock, Mitchell Docker, Daniel Martinez (EF Education First), Thomas De Gendt, Tosh van der Sande (Lotto Soudal), Sam Bewley, Damien Howson, Dion Smith (Mitchelton-Scott), Edvald Boasson Hagen, Ben King, Rasmus Tiler, Jaco Venter (Dimension Data), Wout Poels, Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team Ineos), Neilson Powless (Jumbo-Visma), Wilco Kelderman, Nikias Arndt, Casper Pedersen, Rob Power, Max Walscheid (Sunweb), John Degenkolb (Trek Segafredo), Marco Marcato, Juan Sebastian Molano, Oliviero Troia (UAE Team Emirates), Jetse Bol (Burgos-BH), Gonzalo Serrano (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Aritz Bagues (Euskadi-Murias).
So, back to the explosive start to this stage, and the best placed rider on GC in this strong move is Quintana, who is now 7'43" adrift of Roglic after dropping below Rafal Majka and out of the top five on the Alto de la Cubilla on Monday.
JERSEY RECAP: Roglic (red) holds a 2'48" gap over Valverde (rainbow stripes); third-place Tadej Pogacar (white) is 17" ahead of fourth-place Miguel Angel Lopez in the youth standings; sixth-place Quintana is in green despite being fourth in the points classification, which is led by Roglic, then Pogacar, then Valverde (of all whom have other more important jerseys to wear). And finally, Bouchard is in polka dots after dethroning Angel Madrazo on Monday; the Frenchman has a 6pts lead over the Spaniard.
DANGER! DANGER! HIGH VOLTAGE!! The gap is up to 1'20" for this first group.
Some names from this leading group: Quintana, Kelderman, Knoz, Teuns, Chaves, Sahcnez, Powless, Georghegan Hart, Rojas, Martinez, Gilbert, Poels, Howson, G Izagirre, Erviti, Jauregui, Venturini, Arndt, Declercq, Koch, Marcato, Boasson Hagen, Smith, Pedersen, Bewley, Capecchi, Tiller, Venter, Bagues Kalparsoro, Degenkolb, Haussler, Power, Jakobsen, Bennett, Molano, Troia...
Good golly. Nairo Quintana, of all people, seems to be the only big GC rider who is in the fight side of this split. Around 35 riders have a 40-second gap on the rest of the peloton, which includes the red jersey Roglic, the white jersey Tadej Pogacar and the polka dot jersey Geoffrey Bouchard.
It's been a very fast start and - blimey O'Reilly - there's already been a split in the peloton! There is currently a tailwind of 26 km/h which is set to rise to a crosswind of 40km/h towards the finish. Riders will be on red alert...
They're off! The remaining 158 riders roll through the neutral zone and get this intriguing stage under way.
One non-starter today: Jesus Herrada (Cofidis) is suffering from an illness and does not take to the start. Big set-back there for the Spaniard, who won Stage 6 in the opening week.
Here's what's on the menu for the riders today...
The big news on the rest day was that the red jersey has signed a four-year contract extension with Jumbo-Visma - a huge coup for the Dutch team following the recent signing of Tom Dumoulin.
So, the second rest day - held unconventionally on a Tuesday - is done and dusted, leaving just four days effectively between Primoz Roglic and Vuelta glory. Starting with today, a flat sprinter's stage on paper, but one which could prove fertile ground for a GC ambush - or so we're hearing through the grapevine...
Hola amigos - and welcome to live coverage of Stage 17 of the Vuelta, a rolling and potentially windy 219.6km run from Aranda de Duero to Guadalajara.