1st – Tom Dumoulin, Giant - Alpecin
2nd – Maciej Bodnar, Tinkoff - Saxo
3rd – Alejandro Valverde, Movistar
General Classification – Tom Dumoulin, Giant - Alpecin
Points Classification - Joaquim Rodriguez, Team Katusha
Best Climber – Omar Fraile, Caja Rural Seguros RGA
Combined Jersey - Joaquim Rodriguez, Team Katusha
Most Combative Rider - Tom Dumoulin, Giant - Alpecin
Team Competition - Team Sky
A lot was expected of Giant - Alpecin's Tom Dumoulin on the stage 17 individual time trial, and he did not disappoint. Dumoulin rode the time trial of his life to not only take the stage victory but retake the red leader's jersey.
Dumoulin completed the course in 46:01, clocking a remarkable average speed of 50.5kph, which was over 1kph faster than the next best rider.
The rolling parcours suited the Dutchman, who was able to put three minutes into overnight leader Joaquim Rodruguez of Team Katusha, and almost two minutes into Fabio Aru of Team Astana. The result created a mouth-watering final week with only three seconds separating Dumoulin and Aru, with Rodriguez still in touch, 1:15 back in third place.
Dumoulin said after the stage, “I am very happy with this victory and with taking the red jersey again. My legs were great and I was able to concentrate on my performance. I wasn't thinking about the intermediates, just focusing on my own effort to see what it would bring.
“I have been feeling better by the day, and even now I am still feeling relatively fresh. There are still some difficult days to come, though, which will mean a good show for the fans. There are some important competitors close behind me in the GC, and I hope they will attack each other as well.
“The Vuelta is already a success for me and the team with two stage wins. And we will do our best to make it even better.”
The stage also caused a shake up among the top ten. Rafal Majka of Tinkoff - Saxo dropped to fourth, Movistar duo Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde moved up to fifth and sixth respectively, and despite a great ride Orica-GreenEDGE's Esteban Chaves dropped to seventh.
Stage 18 is 204km in length and includes a category one climb 20km from the finish, which is sure to spark some hot racing.
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Thanks Graham Watson for yet another great pic!