Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins lost the overall lead of the Vuelta a Espana this afternoon as the Angliru proved a climb too far for the Brit.

Juan Cose Cobo (Geox-TMC), who started the day in fourth overall 55 seconds behind Wiggins, took the stage and the leader’s red jersey after a brilliant performance on the mountains slopes that ramp up to 24%.

The Spaniard attacked with 6km to go, and crossed the line 48 seconds ahead of Wout Poels (Vacansoleil-DCM), Denis Menchov (Geox-TMC) and Britain’s Chris Froome.

Wiggins finished 1-21 behind, so by virtue of his time gains Cobo now leads Froome by 20 seconds, with Wiggins at 48 seconds.

Showdown

Even before Cobo broke clear, Froome once again worked tirelessly for Wiggins, and it wasn’t long before defending champion Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas), Dan Martin (Garmin-Cervelo) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) were dropped from the GC group.

However, the Sky duo could not respond when Cobo attacked, and their pace visibly slowed on the steeper sections.

At the same time, Cobo was putting more seconds into the chasers, although at 4km from the summit he only lead the Wiggins group by half a minute.

By now Wiggins was looking uncomfortable, and it was no surprise when he lost touch with Froome, Poels and Menchov towards the summit.

With a week until Madrid, there could still be a British winner, but Team Sky may be forced to reassess their GC options now that Froome – once again – is their best
placed rider.

Results

Vuelta a Espana 2011: stage 15, Aviles to Angliru, 144km

1.Juan Jose Cobo (Spa) Geox-TMC in 4-01-55


2. Wout Poels (Ned)Vacansoleil-DCM at 48 sec

3. Denis Menchov (Rus)Geox-TMC

4. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky all at st

5. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky at 1-21

6. Igor Anton (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi

7. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Leopard-Trek all at st

8. Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa)Katusha at 1-35

9. Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM 

10. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank all at st

General classification after stage 15

1. Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Geox-TMC in 59-57-16


2. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky at 20 sec

3. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky at 46 sec

4. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank at 1-36

5. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Leopard-Trek at 2-37

6. Denis
Menchov (Rus) Geox-TMC at 3-01

7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard-Trek at 3-06

8. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas at 3-27

9. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto at 3-58

10. Wout Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 4-13

Vuelta a Espana 2011: Related links



Wiggins says he will give it 100 per cent to defend Vuelta lead



Vuelta tackles unknown mountain top finish today



Froome: “This lead is a big milestone”



Wiggins in Vuelta: “We’re in an amazing position”



Dan Martin delighted with King of the Mountains jersey



Sky dominates in Vuelta a Espana



Martin delighted with first ever grand tour stage win



Wiggins: A fantastic finish



Interview: Wiggins looks ahead of crucial three days of Vuelta



Farrar taken to hospital after Vuelta crash



Arvesen quits Vuelta with crash injuries



Anton suffers again but Rodriguez becomes Spain’s top contender



Wiggins pleased with strong ride in Spanish sierras



Cavendish abandons Vuelta a Espana




Vuelta a Espana 2011: Teams, riders, start list 

Vuelta a Espana 2011: Who’s riding?

Vuelta a Espana 2011 team list

Vuelta a Espana 2011
: Stage reports



Stage 14: Taaramae takes stage



Stage 13: Albasini wins as Wiggins holds on to lead



Stage 12: Sagan takes second 2011 Vuelta stage win



Stage 11: Wiggins takes overall lead as Moncoutie wins stage



Stage 10: Brit Froome moves into overall Vuelta lead after time trial



Stage nine: Martin wins as Wiggins moves further up GC



Stage eight: Rodriguez wins again to take overall lead



Stage seven: Kittel wins chaotic bunch sprint



Stage six: Sagan takes Vuelta stage win in controversial circumstances



Stage five: Rodriguez takes second win for Katusha but Chavanel holds on



Stage four: Moreno wins first mountain skirmish at Sierra Nevada



Stage three: Lastras solos to stage and takes red jersey



Stage two: Sutton grabs stage win to set things right for Sky



Stage one: Leopard-Trek win opening TTT to put Fuglsang in front




Vuelta a Espana 2011: Photo galleries

By Graham Watson

Stage 12 photo gallery

Stage 11 photo gallery

Stage 10 photo gallery

Stage nine photo gallery

Stage eight photo gallery

Stage seven photo gallery

Stage six photo gallery

Stage five photo gallery

Stage four photo gallery

Stage three photo gallery

Stage two photo gallery

Stage one photo gallery

Vuelta a Espana 2011: TV guide



Vuelta a Espana 2011: ITV4 TV schedule



Vuelta a Espana 2011: British Eurosport TV schedule



ITV to show 2011 Vuelta

  • Sally Hayes

    What a awesome stage today, pity I had to watch it on a Dutch website, the lack of coverage of Brad and Chris doing brilliant riding in the Vuelta is disgusting, they don’t even mention it on the radio. We’ve got such good riders male and female slogging their guts out on the continent and cycling is more popular now than I’ve ever known it to be and I’ve been following it for years, thank god for eurosport but even they let us down today.

  • arronski

    Omg, cruel climb ! Cobo looked a bit too good ?
    Not over yet, surely Froome must be favourite for sky now….attack attack !!