Vuelta a Espana 2017: Chris Froome storms to stage 16 time trial win

Red jersey extends overall lead after claiming huge victory on 40.2km course

Chris Froome stormed to victory in the stage 16 time trial at the Vuelta a Espana to stretch his overall lead in the red jersey.

Froome stopped the clock in just a fraction over 47 minutes in a dominant performance on the 40.2km course to Logroño to claim his second stage win of this year’s race.

He was 29 seconds faster than Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb), the second fastest man on the course, and put 57 seconds into Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), his nearest challenger overall, who finished third on the day.

Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) and Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) also made gains overall, as the only other men to finish within a minute of Froome as the GC men dominated the time trial.

Chris Froome extended his overall lead at the 2017 Vuelta a Espana by storming to time trial victory on stage 16 (Pic: Sirotti)

The course featured long, flat, straight sections and always looked likely to suit the time trialling prowess of Froome, but the manner of his victory still took many by surprise.

Ireland’s Conor Dunne (Aqua Blue Sport) was first onto the course, though it was Jelle Wallays (Lotto-Soudal) who set the first time, after over-taking his minute-man to post 51.34.

The first sub-50 minute time was Peter Koning (Aqua Blue Sport), who posted 49.19 to take over the hot seat, meanwhile.

Daniel Oss (BMC Racing) went even better, with a time of 48.49, before 20-year-old German Lennard Kamna (Team Sunweb) – favourite for the under-23 time trial at the Worlds – impressed with a time of 48.30 despite a knee jersey.

FDJ’s Tobias Ludvigsson bettered him, however, thanks to his use of a 58t chain ring – the Swedish champion taking full advantage of the flat course to bring the benchmark down to 48.07.

The effort Ludvigsson put in was evident as he struggled to stand after his beast-mode effort, but once the GC men hit the course it became clear his time was under pressure.

First, however, Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) suffered more time trial disaster, after his Tour de France challenge ended in Marseille against the clock in July, this time he crashed on an early corner.

It was clear Contador was on a good day, in his final career time trial, as he set the fastest time at the first time check, while Kelderman was also flying – bettering Contador’s time and then catching two-minute man Johan Esteban Chaves.

Froome, however, went even quicker through the intermediate time checks as his rivals started finishing in Logroño.

Froome has now won two stages of this year’s race and leads overall by 1’58” over Vincenzo Nibali (Pic: Sirotti)

Team-mate Poels lost just four seconds, showing great strength after the work done for Froome in the last two weeks, while Contador was roared in and smashed the first sub-48-minute time.

His lead was brief, however, as Kelderman took another 30 seconds off the mark – Chaves, who started before Kelderman, ultimately lost three-and-a-half minutes to the Dutchman by the time he rolled in.

Zakarin was a fraction of a second faster than Contador, before Nibali went second fastest, taking risks on the course, including a very tight line around the final corner.

But no sooner had Nibali finished than Froome stormed in to complete a blistering ride and celebrate his second stage win of this year’s race.

He now leads Nibali by 1’58”, with Keldeman a further 42 seconds back in third place overall; Zakarin is fourth at 3’07”, while Contador is the only other man within five minutes of Froome, on 4’58”.

Vuelta a Espana 2017: stage 16 – result

1) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky – 47.00
2) Wilco Kelderman (NED) – Team Sunweb +29”
3) Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) – Bahrain-Merida +57”
4) Ilnur Zakarin (RUS) – Katusha-Alpecin +59”
5) Alberto Contador (ESP) – Trek-Segafredo – ST
6) Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE) – FDJ +1.07
7) Wout Poels (NED) – Team Sky +1.11
8) Lennard Kamna (GER) – Team Sunweb +1.30
9) Bob Jungels (LUX) – QuickStep Floors +1.41
10) Daniel Oss (ITA) – BMC Racing +1.49

General classification

1) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky – 62.53.25hrs
2) Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) – Bahrain-Merida +1.58
3) Wilco Kelderman (NED) – Team Sunweb +2.40
4) Ilnur Zakarin (RUS) – Katusha-Alpecin +3.07
5) Alberto Contador (ESP) – Trek-Segafredo +4.58
6) Miguel Angel Lopez (COL) – Astana +5.25
7) Fabio Aru (ITA) – Astana +6.27
8) Wout Poels (NED) – Team Sky +6.33
9) Johan Esteban Chaves (COL) – Orica-Scott +6.40
10) Michael Woods (CAN) – Cannondale-Drapac +7.06

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