• Dumoulin limits his losses on Stage 15, but can he repeat the performance tomorrow? (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Giant-Alpecin's Tom Dumoulin may have lost a further minute to Vuelta a Espana race leader Fabio Aru, but he is still being viewed as the main danger man by his general classification rivals.
Cycling Central

7 Sep 2015 - 7:34 AM 

Dumoulin suffered badly on the steep slopes of the Alto de Sotres on Stage 15 of the Vuelta a España, but managed to limit his losses to stay within one and a half minutes of the red jersey.

Time trial specialist Dumoulin needs to lose as little time as possible to mountain men like Fabio Aru (Astana), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and and Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) ahead of Stage 17's 38.7km race against the clock, where he could gain two or even three minutes on his rivals.

From that perspective, Stage 15 was something of a success - and Dumoulin's rivals know it.

"Dumoulin can still be dangerous," said stage winner Joaquim Rodriguez. "He lost time today but rode very cleverly and he will be hard to beat in the time trial."

Race leader Fabio Aru also called Dumoulin "very dangerous", perhaps signalling that he will look to extend his buffer over the Dutchman even further tomorrow - if the Italian's legs let him. Aru's teammate Mikel Landa echoed concerns that Dumoulin is a key rival, potentially moreso that Rodriguez.

All eyes will be on Dumoulin tomorrow as well, with Astana in particular likely to try and work over the Giant-Alpecin rider to put him out of contention - or at the very least deaden his legs before the second rest day and Wednesday's crucial test against the clock.