Vuelta a Espana: David de la Cruz takes lead after stage nine win
By Matt Westby
Last Updated: 28/08/16 7:30pm
Chris Froome fell to fourth place at the Vuelta a Espana after David de la Cruz moved into the overall lead by winning stage nine out of the breakaway.
De la Cruz (Etixx - Quick-Step) started the day 2min 46sec down on previous leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar) but was allowed to join a 12-man escape group and went on to beat Dries Devenyns (IAM Cycling) into second place and Moreno Moser (Cannondale-Drapac) into third at the summit finish on Alto del Naranco in Oviedo.
Quintana's Movistar team opted not to chase De la Cruz down and all of the race favourites consequently crossed the line together 2min 56sec behind the Spaniard.
De la Cruz also collected 12 bonus seconds, which means he opens up a lead of 22 seconds over second-placed Quintana at the top of the general classification. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) is now 41 seconds adrift in third and Froome (Team Sky) drops one place to 49 seconds back in fourth.
Allowing De la Cruz to have the red jersey means Movistar now do not have to set the pace on the front of the peloton on Monday's 10th stage, which ends with a super-category summit finish at Lagos de Covadonga and could be one of the most important days of the race.
All of the favourites were happy to play out a ceasefire on stage nine in order to save energy for the Covadonga climb, which is 12.2km long and has a maximum gradient of more than 17 per cent.
De la Cruz will find it difficult to retain the red jersey but was nevertheless delighted to take the lead and claim the first professional win of his career.
He said: "I wasn't thinking about the lead at the end. I was so close to winning the stage, that was my main objective. I am the leader as well, I can't believe it.
"Tomorrow is a very hard stage to Covadonga, but for the moment, we have got the stage and the leadership, so let's see what happens and enjoy ourselves."
De la Cruz attacked out of the breakaway alongside Devenyns with 11km to go and after working together well, he then left the Belgian behind with a decisive acceleration 600m from the finish.
Find out more about stage 10 in our race guide and follow the action with our live blog from 3pm BST.
Stage nine result
1 David de la Cruz (Esp) Etixx - Quick-Step, 3:47:56
2 Dries Devenyns (Bel) IAM Cycling, +27sec
3 Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac, +33
4 Luis Leon Sanchez (Esp) Astana, +51
5 Mathias Frank (Sui) IAM Cycling, same time
6 Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ.fr, +53
7 Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Bora-Argon 18, +58
8 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal, +1:04
9 Pello Bilbao (Esp) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, st
10 Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing, +1:10
13 Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, +2:56
15 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, st
16 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, st
18 Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff, st
1 David de la Cruz (Esp) Etixx - Quick-Step, 33:46:24
2 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, +22sec
3 Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, +41
4 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, +49
5 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-BikeExchange, +1:19
6 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky, +1:38
7 Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff, +2:01
8 Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC Racing, +2:06
9 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step, +2:07
10 Samuel Sanchez (Esp) BMC Racing, +2:08
11 Simon Yates (GB) Orica-BikeExchange, +2:09