The race moved back into lumpy territory today, with 159km of ups and downs which smashed and splintered the race like a cheap chair – aside from the yellow jersey group, which stayed together like a sturdy Chesterfield and gave Froome a comfy ride to the finish. Rafal Majka (Tinkoff) rode out of the chaos, picking up plenty of polka-points throughout the day, but had to be satisfied with the King of the Mountains jersey as IAM Jarlinson Pantano’s irresistible charge down the second descent of the Colombier to set up a two-man duel for the stage.
Giant-Alpecin’s Tom Dumoulin rode away from a whittled down breakaway and powered his way up the Arcalis, climbing to victory through the driving rain (with added hail!) that must have left him thinking he was on a driving range. The Dutch powerhouse has now won stages in each of the three Grand Tours, and with his assured ascent of the Arcalis, proved that there’s more to his game than just time trials.
Joaquim Rodriguez smoked his rivals in the dying kilometres of today’s summit finish in Asturias. He crossed the line 12 seconds ahead of second-placed Rafal Majka, but fell short of securing the race lead by a solitary second. More important than distancing leader Fabio Aru, Purito put more time into Tom Dumoulin on day two of the Vuelta’s three-day mountain fest.