Vuelta a Espana 2017: Chris Froome wins stage nine to extend overall lead

Team Sky man powers away from rivals on Puig Llorenca climb

Chris Froome (Team Sky) won stage nine of the 2017 Vuelta a Espana to extend his overall lead in the red jersey.

Froome, who had not won an individual stage of a race since last year’s Vuelta, pulled away from his rivals on the Puig Llorenca climb to win the stage by four seconds ahead of Johan Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott), with bonus seconds meaning he now leads by 36 seconds overall.

Michael Woods (Cannondale-Drapac) was a further second down in third place, swapping places with now ninth-placed Adam Yates (Orica-Scott) in the general classification as a result.

Chris Froome won stage nine of the 2017 Vuelta a Espana in the red jersey (Pic: Sirotti)

Though a break of ten riders, including Irishman Conor Dunne (Aqua Blue Sport), went clear, Cannondale-Drapac – fighting for their future as a team – lined out at the front of the peloton in a show of strength.

It kept the gap around two minutes, and when the break split up on the first ascent of the Llorenca, only Tobias Ludvigsson (FDJ), Lluis Mas (Caja Rural-Seguros) and Ricardo Vilela (Manzana-Postobon) remained at the head of affairs.

Marc Soler (Movistar) bridged across to join them, but Cannondale-Drapac continued their impressive show of strength by controlling the peloton with aplomb, shutting down attacks off the front of the bunch as well as closing the gap to the leaders.

With 18km to go, Soler and Ludvigsson led but only by 30 seconds, and on the final climb that was erased completely as Team Sky seized control of the peloton.

A blistering pace lined the peloton out and forced plenty off the back, alongside shutting down Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) as the Frenchman attacked repeatedly.

The attacks continued thick and fast, meanwhile, before Froome kicked from the elite front group and could not be brought back.

Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) had tracked a previous attack, but this time there was response, apart from a chase by Woods and Chaves.

Froome celebrates his victory – his first stage win of 2017 – on the podium (pic – Sirotti)

Chaves did make contact with Froome, but the Team Sky man motored away again to claim the 40th pro win of his career.

It meant timed gained on his all of his rivals – moderate amounts in truth, but enough to edge him further ahead in the race for the red jersey.

Adam Yates finished 16th, 27 seconds behind Froome, to remain ninth overall but twin brother Simon’s GC challenge – the third string to Orica-Scott’s bow – is over after the Tour de France white jersey ceded ten minutes on the stage.

Froome, meanwhile, now leads by 36 seconds from Chaves, with no other rider within a minute of the red jersey.

Vuelta a Espana 2017: stage nine – result

1) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky – 4.07.13hrs
2) Johan Esteban Chaves (COL) – Orica-Scott +4”
3) Michael Woods (CAN) – Cannondale-Drapac +5”
4) Wilco Kelderman (NED) – Team Sunweb +8”
5) Ilnur Zakarin (RUS) – Katusha-Alpecin – ST
6) Alberto Contador (ESP) – Trek-Segafredo +12”
7) David de la Cruz (ESP) – QuickStep Floors – ST
8) Sam Oomen (NED) – Team Sunweb
9) Nicolas Roche (IRL) – BMC Racing +14”
10) Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) – Bahrain- Merida – ST

General classification

1) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky – 36.33.16hrs
2) Johan Esteban Chaves (COL) – Orica-Scott +36”
3) Nicolas Roche (IRL) – BMC Racing +1.05
4) Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) – Bahrain-Merida +1.17
5) Tejay van Garderen (USA) – BMC Racing +1.27
6) David de la Cruz (ESP) – QuickStep Floors +1.30
7) Fabio Aru (ITA) – Astana +1.33
8) Michael Woods (CAN) – Cannondale-Drapac +1.52
9) Adam Yates (GBR) – Orica-Scott +1.55
10) Ilnur Zakarin (RUS) – Katusha-Alpecin +2.15

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