Schleck surprises on Ermita de Alba and Dumoulin lies in wait

On the final climb - Frank Schleck goes for glory.

Frank Schleck put in an exceptional effort to win the Queen Stage - seven categorized climbs with a hell of a steep summit finish. The final climb was the Ermita de Alba, 6.8km at 11.1% max 22%!

In my opinion, there were two winners; Frank Schleck and Tom Dumoulin. The losers: everyone else.  
Dumoulin lost only 28 seconds on the day, a remarkable performance letting his adversaries know that he refuses to go away. Now, he'll only have to make up 1:51 during Wednesday's TT. He's in the driver seat because both Aru and Rodriguez are not gifted time trialists. The Dutchman is certainly capable, winning the bronze in last year's World Championships. 

It was a long time coming for Schleck, his first Grand Tour win since a stage in the 2009 Tour de France.

Purito Rodriguez takes the red jersey over Fabio Aru. But, after Wednesday's TT I predict a new twist is in store to this exciting Vuelta!

Frenzy ending.
photo Graham Watson

Stage 16:

1. Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing in 5-49-56
2. Rodolfo Torres (Col) Colombia at 1-10
3. Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin at 1-48
4. George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo at 2-42
5. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar at 2-49
6. Omar Fraile (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 3-05
7. Carlos Verona (Spa) Etixx-QuickStep at 4-26
8. Larry Warbasse (USA) IAM Cycling at 6-02
9. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 8-51
10. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 8-53
11. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 9-03
12. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at same time
13. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky at 9-05
16. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin at 9-18

Overall After Stage 16:

1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha in 67-52-44
2. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 1 sec
3. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1-35
4. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin at 1-51
5. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky at 2-32
6. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge at 2-38
7. Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha at 2-49
8. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 3-11
9. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 3-58
10. Louis Mentjes (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka at 5-22