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No rest day leader's jersey for Team Sky
Sep 5th, 11. Team Sky have been leading the Vuelta Espana for five stages, but they had to give up the coveted red leader's jersey today when Bradley Wiggins was outridden up the famed Angliru mountain top finish.
It was Team Geox's Juan Jose Cobo who took the Stage 15 win, the 20sec time bonus and the overall lead after attacking up the day's 12.5km Hors Category mountain top finish.
Geox were dominant from the start of the climb with Grand Tour winner Carlos Sastre launching the first attack to keep the pace high.
Other attacks followed from Carlos Barredo (Rabobank) and Igor Anton (Euskaltel Euskadi), but with 7km to ride, it was Cobo who exploded from the front of the select front group at one of the steepest ramps - 21%.
Behind him, no one had an answer and the Spaniard continued to increase his lead to finish 48sec ahead of the chasers.
Before Cobo jumped, Team Sky were again looking strong with both Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins climbing well.
When the pace turned up a notch, however, Wiggins struggled to hold on to the group, while Froome kept strong.
Froome at first tried to help his leader back, but was then allowed the freedom to continue at his own pace. The winner of the Vuelta TT finished the stage 4th, in the +48sec group behind 2nd placed Wouter Poels (Vacansoleil) and 3rd placed Denis Menchov (Geox).
"The plan for today was to try and keep Bradley right up there going into that final climb," said Froome.
"With those gradients it was basically a time trial from the bottom to the top and both of us were poised in really good positions on the road. We gave all we had all the way up there but today Cobo proved to be stronger than both of us."
Wiggins finished +5th, a further 33sec back and has dropped to 3rd on GC +46sec. Froome is 2nd +20sec behind Cobo.
While the day was not perfect for Team Sky, they did manage to put time on most of the other GC contenders.
Tomorrow is the second rest day of this year's Vuelta Espana.
"We've lost the jersey, which never leaves you with a nice feeling, but there's still a week of racing to go and we'll do everything in our power to keep battling and keep right up there in the standings," Froome added.
"This second rest day couldn't come at a better time for me, just like the first one couldn't, because I'm absolutely shattered and tomorrow will be a welcome time to take things easy and recharge the batteries."
There are six stages remaining in this final Grand Tour of 2011. Although three are mountain stages still to go, two have a long flat run to the finish line and the third has just a 6km mountain top finish, providing little opportunity for another GC shakeup before the final podium in Madrid.
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