Alberto Contador of Tinkoff-Saxo, who arrived at this year's Vuelta a Espana targeting stage wins, this evening finds himself leading the race after finishing fourth in today's individual time trial, won by the world champion in the discipline, Tony Martin of Omega Pharma-Quick Step.
Contador, twice a winner of his home Grand Tour, decided to ride the race after crashing out of the Tour de France, as did Chris Froome, who this evening finds himself 5th overall, 1 minute 18 seconds off the lead.
The Team Sky rider put in an uncharacteristically poor time trial on today's 36.7km stage from Real Monasterio de Santa María de Veruela to Borja, finishing in tenth position, 1 minute 32 seconds down on Martin and - more importantly - 53 seconds behind Contador.
Overnight leader Nairo Quintana of Movistar lost more than four minutes today after crashing and drops to 11th overall, meaning the Spanish team's focus is likely to shift to Alejandro Valverde, 8th today and 2nd on the general classification, 27 seconds behind Contador.
Martin, seeking a fourth consecutive rainbow jersey, beat rival Fabian Cancellara of Trek Factory Racing into second place, and on a great day for Omega Pharma-Quick Step the German's team mate Rigoberto Uran came home third, and rises to third overall, 59 seconds behind Contador.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.