Froome attacks late to extend lead

07 Sep 2017

Froome attacks late to extend lead

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Chris Froome extended his overall lead at La Vuelta a Espana with an expertly-timed attack in the final kilometre of stage 18.

Chris Froome extended his lead at La Vuelta a Espana with an expertly-timed attack in the final kilometre of stage 18.

Froome was part of an elite group distanced by breakaway stage winner Sander Armée (Lotto-Soudal) which battled across a stage full of tricky climbs and descents, before the Team Sky leader picked his moment to strike on the final ascent.

Gianni Moscon and Wout Poels created the perfect leadout on the short, sharpAlto de Santo Toribio de Liébana climb which Froome used as a launchpad to distance all his nearest rivals, with only Alberto Contafdor (Trek-Segafedo and Michael Woods (Cannondale-Drapac) able to match his ferocious pace to the line.

The result gives Froome a 1’37” lead over second-placed Vincenzo Nibali who was one of the riders dropped by the Team Sky leader, with Wilco Kelderman in third losing four seconds.

Fabio Aru (Astana) surged away from the chasing bunch with 40km remaining and was able to move up to eighth overall, overtaking Poels in the process, and was the other rider to make progress on his rivals.
Chris Froome

Chris Froome

I think certainly some guys paid for their efforts yesterday and also for their attacks earlier on.”
He said: “We saw a lot of people expend a lot of energy there today, there were attacks on the penultimate climbs from everyone, all the main GC guys. 

“It was only Aru who slipped away, he’s not a threat for us, he’s over five or six minutes away on general classification.

“Once we got into the final and got into the last climb our guys set a really high temp at the bottom and I was feeling a lot better today so it was great to gain a little bit of time that I lost yesterday.

“I think certainly some guys paid for their efforts yesterday and also for their attacks earlier on.”
Froome was full of praise for his teammates

Froome was full of praise for his teammates

Chris Froome

Chris Froome

The morale is good and the team is still strong and looking forward to getting through these last couple of days.”
Despite many attempts to initiate a significant break earlier on, Team Sky were able to mark the moves of many, while pacing the GC group to deter any counterattacks and Froome was quick to praise both the riders and staff for his success.

He said: “It’s a dream scenario for a GC rider like me to have the support of a team like Team Sky, the team’s been amazing, not just on the bike but on the support team too, it’s been amazing.

“The morale is good and the team is still strong and looking forward to getting through these last couple of days.” 
Stage 18 result 

1. Sander Armée (Lotto-Soudal) 4:09:39
2. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana), +31" 
3. Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida), +46" 
4. Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r La Mondiale), +1'02" 
5. José Joaquín Rojas (Movistar Team), +1'06"
23. Chris Froome (Team Sky) +10:08”


Overall standings:

1. Chris Froome (Team Sky) 72:03:50
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) +1’37”
3. Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) +2'17”
4. Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) +2'29”
5. Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) +3'34" 
9. Wout Poels (Team Sky) +6'47”

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