The third Grand Tour of the season – the Vuelta a España – took place between 20 August and 11 September with Nairo Quintana emerging victorious to take the second Grand Tour of his career having won the Giro d’Italia in 2014.
The Colombian took over the leader’s red jersey on the mountainous eighth stage from Villalpando to La Camperona, Valle de Sabero. He relinquished the jersey the following day to David de la Cruz (Etixx-Quick Step) before taking it over again on the tenth stage to Lagos de Covadonga.
Quintana won alone at the summit finish and led Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) by 57″ with Chris Froome (Team Sky) a further second down.
Froome did gain a handful of seconds back on the following stage from Jurassic Museum of Asturias, Colunga to Peña Cabarga when he won on the summit finish.
However, Quintana cemented his victory on the fifteenth stage when he attacked along with Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) in the opening kilometres. It was a remarkable move which put Froome and his Sky team-mates in trouble. The leaders weren’t caught and Quintana claimed second behind stage winner Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx-QuickStep) on the final summit to Formigal.
Froome ended up losing 2’30” to Quintana which left him 3’37 behind on GC. Despite winning Stage 19, a 37-kilometre time-trial from Xàbia to Calp, Froome could not overcome the deficit. He finished the race 1’23” behind Quintana with Esteban Chaves (Orica–BikeExchange) finishing in third.