Froome leads La Vuelta
GREAT Britain’s Chris Froome took a commanding lead at La Vuelta on Wednesday.
Three-time Tour de France winner Froome (Team Sky) finished second on the 187.5 kilometres route from Lorca to Observatorio Astronomico de Calar Alto, won by Colombia’s Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana).
Froome’s second-placed finish, 14 seconds behind Lopez, was accompanied by six bonus seconds and time gains over many of his rivals as his overall advantage grew to one minute 19 seconds.
Froome is seeking to become only the third person to win the Tour-Vuelta double in the same year and the first since 1978. The Tour of Spain was moved from April to its present post-Tour position in 1995.
Froome had held a 36-second lead over Colombia’s Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) entering the 11th stage of the race, which finishes in Madrid on September 10.
The mountainous route offered an opportunity for Froome’s rivals to claw back some time but the Briton proved strong once again.
Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) accelerated but Froome bridged the gap.
Lopez surged and Froome, aware the Astana rider is not an overall threat, allowed him to push on for the stage win.
Nibali, who won La Vuelta in 2010, was then beaten to the line by Froome as the Italian finished third to gain four bonus seconds.
Holland’s Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) was fourth, also 14 seconds behind but without any bonus time.
Chaves finished 17th on the stage, two minutes and five seconds behind Lopez to fall two minutes and 33 seconds behind Froome overall.