Stage 19 ticked off for Froome

08 Sep 2017

Stage 19 ticked off for Froome

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Chris Froome enjoyed a trouble-free stage 19 at the Vuelta a Espana to carry the red jersey into Saturday’s decisive test.

Crossing the line in Gijon flanked by five Team Sky team-mates, Froome was able to conserve some valuable energy on the penultimate mountain test and finished surrounded by all his main GC rivals.
 
That ensured he retained his race lead of one minute and 37 seconds going into a brutally tough 20th stage, which is set to decide the race.
 
Team Sky were equal to the task, happy to let a breakaway head up the road to contest the stage win, and stepping up on the final climb of the Alto de San Martin de Huerces. It was there that Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafedo) launched yet another attack off the front. Despite a reaction from Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin), Sky held firm and helped ride down the move on the run-in with 2.5km to go.
 
Up ahead two groups combined to create a 27-man breakaway on a stage that lent itself perfectly to an escape. After an exciting late battle two sets of attackers came back together in the final kilometre, with Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) staying cool to win the sprint.

Chris Froome

Chris Froome

For us today it was about trying to save as much energy for tomorrow and get through the day with any big issues.
Froome was happy to put another stage behind him on the road to Madrid, but has his sights firmly fixed on Saturday's final GC test, which features the fearsome Alto de l'Angliru.

He said: “For us today it was about trying to save as much energy for tomorrow and get through the day with any big issues. I’m happy to put today behind us and focus everything on tomorrow now.
 
“It’s an extremely hard climb and I don’t think it’s just going to be about the final tomorrow, it’s a very short stage, just 120km and we’ll expect fireworks from the start tomorrow and some other tough climbs as well before Angliru. The whole stage we have to be ready for anything.
 
“Everyone is tired at this point, but I’m good and the team is good so hopefully we can finish it off tomorrow.”

Stage 19 result:

1. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) 3:35:46
2. Jarlinson Pantano (Trek-Segafredo) s.t.
3. Ivan Garcia (Bahrain Merida)
4. Rui Costa (UAE Emirates)
5. Floris De Tier (Lotto Soudal)
29. Chris Froome (Team Sky) +12:15"

Overall standings:

1. Chris Froome (Team Sky) 75:51:51
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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