• Michal Kwiatkowski celebrates on the podium after claiming the red jersey on Stage 2 of La Vuelta a Espana (Getty)Source: Getty
A fairly tame looking stage in the road book blew the race somewhat apart and a clearer picture emerged of who may feature in the top 10 come Madrid.
Cycling Central

27 Aug 2018 - 11:03 AM  UPDATED 27 Aug 2018 - 4:52 PM

Although a question remained over their form and neither talked up their chances before the race, noone expected Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) and Richie Porte (BMC) to lose so much time on only the second stage. 

Nibali came home just over four minutes behind stage winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) to sit almost five minutes down on race leader Michal Kwiatksowski (Sky). Porte is over 14 minutes in deficit and it's a similar gap for team mate Rohan Dennis (+13:31). 

Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) managed to contain his losses to just over a minute (now 1:31 behind Kwiatksowski) after crashing earlier on the stage. Later tests showed no signs of fractures and he plans to start Stage 3. 

Dan Martin (UAE) didn't have a terrible day but slipped a little down the general classification after losing one minute and 15 seconds on the stage. 

Nibali's team mate Ion Izagirre improved his position to fifth and riders like Rigoberto Uran and Simon Yates finished strongly to maintain their positions overall, but perhaps the biggest winner today was Nairo Quintana (Movistar) who moved up into ninth from 34th overall while maintaining his 30 second deficit to the race leader.  

The main contenders after La Vuelta a Espana Stage 2:

1. Michal Kwiatksowski (Sky)
2. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +14
3. Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) +25
5. Ion Izagirre (Bahrain Merida) +30
9. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +33
10. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) +35
11. Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL Jumbo) +37
12. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) +37
14. Rafal Majka (Bora) +42
16. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) +43
18. George Bennett (LottoNL Jumbo) +45
19. Fabio Aru (UAE) +47
20. Rigoberto Uran (EF Drapac) +48
24. Jack Haig (Mitchelton-Scott) +50
25. David De La Cruz (Sky) +53
26. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) +54
38. Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) +1:31 
45. Dan Martin (UAE) +38 - +1:53 

Porte, Dennis drop out of Vuelta contention
A combination of sweltering heat and the pace set by Movistar and Sky - with a side of pre-race stomach issues - saw Richie Porte drop out of contention for the Vuelta overall classification, along with team mate Rohan Dennis.
Movistar v Sky: Valverde battles Kwiatkowski for Vuelta stage honours
Movistar and Sky battled for supremacy on Stage 2 of La Vuelta a España, culminating in a two-up sprint finish between Alejandro Valverde and Michal Kwiatkowski.