Team Dimension Data’s Omar Fraile scored valuable points for the KOM classification on stage 15 of the Vuelta a Espana yesterday.
But it didn’t take long for better news to break when Fraile again managed to get into the break of the day.
With only 118km of racing and three categorised climbs it was always going to be a fast stage.
Few would have imagined, though, that Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) would be the one to open the fireworks.
He attacked from the gun and dragged race leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar) along. Both had a few team-mates around them and quickly forged clear.
Their move forced Chris Froome (Sky) and Esteban Chavez (Orica-BikeExchange) to chase.
However, they couldn’t close the gap. Instead Froome and Chavez were to lose time towards the finish.
Fraile was alert and quick enough to jump on to Quintana’s wheel when the Colombian accelerated.
Sitting second in the KOM classification, he was eager to score points for the blue polka dot jersey.
However, classification leader Kenny Elissonde (FDJ) also rode attentively and got into the break.
Fraile earned the maximum points on the first two climbs before the race headed into the final 14km drag to the finish.
With 7km to go the break’s gap over the Froome group was still at two minutes and it was then that Quintana decided to increase the pace.
Fraile had to let go, while Elissonde managed to hang on.
Crossing the line in fourth, the Frenchman scored points on the line as well.
Fraile’s fighting spirit over the first part of the stage meant that he was able to get closer to Elissonde. The gap between the two riders is now down to eight points.
Besides the battle for the KOM classification, the day first and foremost saw a race for the GC.
Quintana and Contador worked well together and managed to start the final climb solidly ahead of Froome.
When Quintana attacked, only Contador and Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx-QuickStep) were able to keep up with the pace.
But with 1.5km to go the Spaniard had to give in. Brambilla, however, held on to win the stage, while Quintana extended his lead in the GC.