Vuelta a España

Where: Spain and Andorra
When: August 22 – September 13, 2015
Rank: Grand Tour

Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) regained the Vuelta a Espana lead on a thrilling summit finish on stage nine.

The big Dutchman withstood a determined chase from Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) to claim the stage win, in the process wresting the leader’s red jersey from Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge).

The story at the beginning of the day was the withdrawal of Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo), who was involved in a collision with a motorbike on the previous day’s stage.

A large crash on the same stage left Belgian rider Kris Boeckmans (Lotto-Soudal) in a coma and also forced the withdrawals of Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing), Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin) and Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis).

The general classification of the 2015 Vuelta currently sees Dumoulin with a 57s advantage over Rodriguez, and 59s over Chaves. Less than ten seconds separate the big-hitting quartet of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Fabio Aru (Astana), Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Froome, who fill the positions from fifth to eighth, respectively.

The spotlight at this year’s Vuelta was first on an ill-advised opening team time trial, for which the route was so unpopular with riders that it was eventually removed from the general classification.

Then, on day two of the race, Astana team leader Vincenzo Nibali was disqualified for holding onto a team car. The only consolation for the Kazakh team is that it has two strong riders in Fabio Aru and Mikel Landa who can target the GC instead — but it completes a miserable year for the 2014 Tour de France champion.

This year’s Vuelta route appears to favour the climbers, but the inclusion of a relatively long, flat time trial could see riders such as Quintana losing time to the likes of Froome.

The Vuelta will also ride through Andorra in this year’s edition, with an extraordinarily hard stage 11 just after the rest day that takes in six categorised climbs; including an especial category climb and a first category summit finish.

The 21 stages of the 2015 Vuelta take place between August 22 and September 13.

Key info: Route/stages | Start list | Where to watch: live television and highlights | Race preview

Key riders: Chris Froome | Nairo Quintana | Joaquim Rodriguez | Vincenzo Nibali | Alejandro Valverde