Chris Froome wins Vuelta a Espana stage 11 to move second

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Chris Froome wins Vuelta a Espana stage 11 to move second overall

Tour de France champion bags second Vuelta stage win, narrowly beating Nairo Quintana on Pena Cabarga climb

Chris Froome (Team Sky) won stage 11 of the Vuelta a Espana, outsprinting red jersey Nairo Quintana (Movistar) on the Pena Cabarga to claw back a few seconds overall.

The two accelerated clear on the final steep pitch of the day’s final climb, catching and passing Esteban Chaves to go mano-a-mano for the stage win.

And it was Froome who prevailed, jumping to second overall ahead of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and taking four bonus seconds out of the 58-second lead Quintana had taken into the first rest day.

Froome’s second career Vuelta a Espana stage win, on the same climb as he earned his first in 2011, served as a warning shot to the diminutive Colombian as the Team Sky man targets a Tour-Vuelta double.

Chris Froome outsprinted Nairo Quintana to win stage 11 of the Vuelta a Espana and claw back a few seconds overall (pic: Sirotti)

Having taken advantage of the first rest day to recharge the legs, the peloton set off at an average speed of just shy of 50km/h for the first hour’s racing, with a sizable break up the road.

Pierre Rolland (Cannondale-Drapac), Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-QuickStep) and Jan Bakelants (Ag2r-La Mondiale) were among the many interested parties in the 24-strong front group but the peloton was happy to bide its time.

Movistar led the way, keeping the break at a manageable distance as the pace eased in anticipation of the shoot-out to follow on the final climb.

Tinkoff also contributed to the pace-setting, stringing the peloton out on the orders of Alberto Contador as he looked to restore his own GC ambitions.

Stybar led the way through the intermediate sprint, but Tinkoff’s efforts and the end of the break’s co-operation meant their time up the road was numbered.

It was all back together in the front group as they approached Pena Cabarga, however – but the advantage was just 18 seconds ahead of the peloton as the climbing started.

Gradients close to 18 per cent saw the front men falter as Movistar regained control of the bunch and began to pick off the stragglers.

The bunch continued to thin out, but the GC men tucked in safely behind the Movistar train as they kept a close eye on proceedings – all seemingly content to wait for the final part of the climb.

Chaves was first to attack when the climb ramped up for a second time, with Valverde leading Quintana, Froome and Contador in pursuit.

Leopold Konig was alongside his Team Sky leader, too, and it was the Czech’s efforts which closed the gap to Chaves as the gradient approached the one-in-five mark again.

 

Nairo Quintana remains the overall leader, 54 seconds clear of Froome (pic: Sirotti)

Quintana sensed an opportunity when Konig swung off, but Froome stuck resolutely to his wheel in the wake of continued attacks as they passed Chaves.

Froome’s own acceleration helped stretch their advantage over the remaining chasers, and Quintana was left needing to dip deep just to hang on.

Another kick up the final ramp to the line brought victory for Froome, and ten bonus seconds, while Quintana took second and six bonus seconds.

Alejandro Valverde followed at six seconds, while stage six winner Simon Yates was also in the GC group, finishing sixth on the day to jump back up to seventh overall.

Froome was the man of the hour, however, with the Tour de France champion issuing a warning to Quintana that this race is far from over yet.

Vuelta a Espana: stage 11 – result

1) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky – 3.44.47hrs
2) Nairo Quintana (COL) – Movistar – ST
3) Alejandro Valverde (ESP) – Movistar +6”
4) Leopold Konig (CZE) – Team Sky – ST
5) Alberto Contador (ESP) – Tinkoff
6) Simon Yates (GBR) – Orica-BikeExchange +13”
7) Michele Scarponi (ITA) – Astana +14”
8) Johan Esteban Chaves (COL) – Orica-BikeExchange +19”
9) Pierre LaTour (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale +22”
10) Samuel Sanchez (ESP) – BMC Racing +30”

General classification

1) Nairo Quintana (COL) – Movistar – 42.21.48hrs
2) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky +54”
3) Alejandro Valverde (ESP) – Movistar +1.05
4) Johan Esteban Chaves (COL) – Orica-BikeExchange +2.34
5) Alberto Contador (ESP) – Tinkoff +3.06
6) Leopold Konig (CZE) – Team Sky +3.09
7) Simon Yates (GBR) – Orica-BikeExchange +3.25
8) Michele Scarponi (ITA) – Astana +3.34
9) David de la Cruz (ESP) – Etixx-QuickStep +3.45
10) Samuel Sanchez (ESP) – BMC Racing +3.56

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