Vuelta a Espana 2016: Chris Froome wins stage 19 time trial

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Vuelta a Espana 2016: Chris Froome wins stage 19 time trial

Nairo Quintana holds 81-second lead over Team Sky man ahead of final mountain stage

Chris Froome won the stage 19 individual time trial at the Vuelta a Espana to consolidate his second place overall, but Nairo Quintana still leads by one minute and 21 seconds with one mountain stage remaining before the processional finale in Madrid.

The Team Sky man won his second stage of this year’s race, taking his tally to four Grand Tour stage wins this season, with a time of 46.33.

With Quintana stopping the clock 2’16” slower, the Movistar man held onto the red jersey, however – the time he gained on stage 15 proving vital as the 2014 Giro d’Italia winner closes in on a second Grand Tour.

Chris Froome won stage 19 of the 2016 Vuelta a Espana, but still trails Nairo Quintana by 1’21” overall (pic: Sirotti)

Since missing Quintana’s break on that stage – a day when all seven of Froome’s remaining Team Sky team-mates would have been outside the time limit, alongside a further 86 riders, were it not for the commissaires making a special exception – Froome knew even a strong performance in the stage 19 time trial might not be enough to claim the red jersey.

But the Team Sky man gave everything he had, smashing the benchmarks at the intermediate time checks to knock Quintana’s team-mate Jonathan Castroviejo, off top spot for the stage.

As Quintana’s time checks were coming through, it was apparent he would be – as expected – conceding a big chunk of time to Froome.

But as he approached the Calp finish line, the Colombian’s overall lead was never in doubt – his time of 48.49 good enough for 11th on the day.

Only Castroviejo finished within a minute of Froome, with Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) 1’57” slower and Johan Esteban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange) losing a big chunk of time as he finished 3’13” slower to drop off the overall podium.

Samuel Sanchez (BMC Racing) suffered a crash-affected ride and was the biggest GC casualty – as he finished 93rd on the day and dropped five places to 12th overall.

Froome’s fellow Brit Simon Yates also lost a place overall, but remains comfortably inside the top ten in sixth place, 7’32” behind Quintana.

Quintana will now wear the red jersey out of Benidorm for the final mountain stage of the 2016 Vuelta a Espana, needing to defend his 1’21” lead overall on a climb-heavy stage.

Quintana’s time gap on stage 15, where he attacked Froome early in the stage and stayed away, has proved pivotal (pic: Sirotti)

Four second-category ascents – the Coll de Rates, Alto de Vall de Ebo, Alto de Tollos and Puerto de Tudons – serve as appertifs before the last rites are read in the battle for the Vuelta on the Alto de Aitana.

The 21km climb features an average gradient of 5.9 per cent, with a steep 13.3 per cent pitch early on and a nasty one-in-ten kick at the end.

Quintana will start the day, on a climb which should – on paper at least – be well suited to him, knowing he is just one stage away from riding into Madrid as Vuelta a Espana winner.

Vuelta a Espana 2016: stage 19 (individual time trial) – result

1) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky – 46.33
2) Jonathan Castroviejo (ESP) – Movistar +44”
3) Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE) – Giant-Alpecin +1.24
4) Yves Lampaert (BEL) – Etixx-QuickStep +1.26
5) Victor Campenaerts (BEL) – LottoNL-Jumbo +1.47
6) Leopold Konig (CZE) – Team Sky +1.51
7) Andrew Talansky (USA) – Cannondale-Drapac +1.54
8) Alberto Contador (ESP) – Tinkoff +1.57
9) Fabio Felline (ITA) – Trek-Segafredo +1.58
10) Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP) – Astana +2.10

General classification

1) Nairo Quintana (COL) – Movistar – 75.18.52hrs
2) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky +1.21
3) Alberto Contador (ESP) – Tinkoff +3.43
4) Johan Esteban Chaves (COL) – Orica-BikeExchange +4.54
5) Andrew Talansky (USA) – Cannondale-Drapac +7.12
6) Simon Yates (GBR) – Orica-BikeExchange +7.32
7) Michele Scarponi (ITA) – Astana +10.01
8) Daniel Moreno (ESP) – Movistar +10.07
9) David de la Cruz (ESP) – Etixx-QuickStep +10.11
10) Davide Formolo (ITA) – Cannondale-Drapac +11.14

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