Rafal Majka climbs to victory as Vuelta heads into final brutal week
Team UAE's Rafal Majka won stage 15 of the Vuelta a Espana on Sunday with a solo break to victory from an epic 85km, while Intermarche's Odd Christian Eiking held on to the overall leader's red jersey
British Ineos rider Adam Yates chipped 15 seconds off all the main contenders on this mountainous slog with Frenchman Guillaume Martin remaining in second overall and defending champion Primoz Roglic of Jumbo holding third with six stages remaining.
It was a first stage win in four years for Poland's Majka, who played a key role in UAE winning the Tour de France with Tadej Pogacar in July.
Norwegian overall leader Christian Eiking defied expectations by holding on to his red jersey over a mountainous weekend where the main contenders for the title largely kept their powder dry.
Enric Mas and Miguel Angel Lopez round out the top five, while Yates and his team leader Egan Bernal are still within touching distance of the 2021 title.
The result means everything will come down to the final five days.
Monday is a rest day and Tuesday a flat stage where Fabio Jakobsen of Deceuninck can seal the green sprint points jersey.
There are then three big mountain stages, a hilly one and a long individual time-trial into Santiago de Compostela next Sunday.
VIDEO: 2021 La Vuelta Stage 15 Highlights
2021 La Vuelta Stage 15 Top 10
1 Rafal Majka (Pol) UAE Team Emirates 04:51:36
2 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 00:01:27
3 Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Team DSM 00:02:19
4 Adam Yates (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 00:02:42
5 Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 00:02:57
6 Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
7 Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
8 Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma
9 David de la Cruz (Spa) UAE Team Emirates
10 Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team
2021 La Vuelta GC after Stage 15
1 Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 59:57:50
2 Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis 00:00:54
3 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma 00:01:36
4 Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team 00:02:11
5 Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Movistar Team 00:03:04
6 Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious 00:03:35
7 Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers 00:04:21
8 Adam Yates (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 00:04:34
9 Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma 00:04:59
10 Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:05:31