TOM Dumoulin passed Tour de France winner Chris Froome with just 50 metres remaining in a steep climb to win the ninth stage and take the overall lead of the Vuelta a Espana.
Froome jumped ahead with less than 200 metres to go but couldn’t hold off the Dutchman’s late charge for his first stage victory in this year’s Vuelta.
Dumoulin crossed the line in four hours, nine minutes, 55 seconds. Froome had his best stage so far and finished only two seconds behind, but the British rider remains more than a minute back in the overall standings.
Former leader Esteban Chaves of Colombia struggled at the end of the climb and finished nearly a minute behind Dumoulin, losing the leader’s red jersey and dropping to third overall. Joaquin Rodriguez of Spain was in the mix near the end of the stage and finished third, moving to second place overall, 57 seconds behind Dumoulin.
Dumoulin and Chaves were involved in an early pile-up nearly an hour into the 168.3-kilometre (104.5-mile) ride from Torrevieja to the Cumbre del Sol, or “Summit of the Sun” peak. Alejandro Valverde also got caught up in the early accident and briefly needed medical assistance before recovering to finish seventh. His team-mate Nario Quintana was sixth.
Jasper Stuyven of Belgium did not race because of an injury sustained on Saturday in a stage he went on to win. Peter Sagan, who was accidentally taken out by a motorbike near the end of Saturday’s stage, also had to withdraw.
Several other riders were injured in that eighth stage, none more seriously than Kris Boeckmans of Belgium, who suffered a concussion, facial trauma and an injured lung. Before yesterday’s stage, Vuelta organisers said Boeckmans underwent surgery overnight and was in a stable condition. Doctors said that they would consider waking Boeckmans from an induced coma today. Chaves also was involved in a pile-up before recovering to retain the lead on Saturday.
The tenth stage of the three-week Vuelta, a 146.6-km (91.1-mile) leg from Valencia to Castellon, has a climb less than 20 km (12 miles) from the finish but should end with a sprint.