Froome leads La Vuelta

Evening Telegraph (Late Extra Edition) - - SPORTS -

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.

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