Vuelta Stage 17: Dumoulin demolishes the field, but Aru hangs tough

Giant-Alpecin’s time trial giant Tom Dumoulin did what we all expected him to do today and stormed through the 38.7km individual time trial to take the red jersey back from Joaquim Rodriguez and put serious time between him and his rivals. Except for one. Fabio Aru (Astana) rode the TT of his life to lie just three seconds behind the Dutchman in the GC. It’s still all to play for. 

Stage 17 profile: Vuelta a Espana 2015

Stage 17 profile: Vuelta a Espana 2015

It was Tinkoff-Saxo’s Maciej Bodnar who had to sit in the hot-seat for most of the day, posting up a brilliant time of 47:05, with only Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde coming close to him (just four seconds off the pace) before the Dumoulin Express came screaming down the start ramp. Dumoulin put in a magnificent performance, passing lesser riders on his way to victory, including Rafal Majka who finished 2:38 down in the stage to the flying Dutchman, dropping to fourth in the GC, 2:22 behind the red. And let us spare a thought to possibly the unluckiest grand tour rider ever, Purito. His cushion of 1:51 over Dumoulin going into today’s stage seemed to be lost before he even got a kilometre in and he ended the day 3:06 behind the stage winner and dropping to third in the overall with a 1:15 deficit.

Rider of the day

For me, picking the rider to honour was possibly the easiest in the Vuelta. While Tom Dumoulin has been putting in gutsy rides over the past two weeks, keeping himself in contention in anticipation for today, he did what everyone expected of him on this stage. But it was Fabio Aru who, in my opinion, deserves the praise for today.

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He might have finished tenth on the stage, 1:53 behind Dumoulin, but he rode out of his Marge Simpson skin to keep this spicy Vuelta as hot as ever. By the time the dust settled, he retained his second place in the overall and miraculously is only three seconds behind Dumoulin. Three seconds. How easy is that to make up? A few sneaky seconds here and there with a finish-line gap would do it, but I think this really does set up Saturday’s last big climbing stage to be full of fireworks.

Three things we noticed

1. Those damn nasal strips won’t go away

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2. Sometimes autocorrect is poetic 

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3.  A good luck handshake 

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Stage 17 result

1.  Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) 46:01

2.  Maciej Bodnar (Tinkoff-Saxo) +1:04

3.  Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +1:08

4.  Vasili Kiryienka (Sky) +1:31

5.  Jerome Coppel (IAM) +1:32

General classification

1. Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) 68:40:36

2. Fabio Aru (Astana) +0:03

3. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) +1.15

4. Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) +2:22

5. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +2:53

6. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +3:15

7. Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEDGE) +3:30

8. Daniel Moreno (Katusha) +3:46

9. Mikel Nieve (Team Sky) +4:10

10. Louis Meintjes (MTN-Qhubeka) +6:51

Points leader: Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha).

King of the Mountains leader: Omar Fraile (Caja Rural).

Combined classification leader: Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha).

Team classification leader: Sky.

Link: Official race website

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