Froome wins Vuelta time trial, extends his overall lead
LOGRONO, Spain (AP) Chris Froome won Tuesday’s individual time trial to increase his Spanish Vuelta lead and remain in position to win the race for the first time.
The Tour de France winner had a dominant performance in the flat 40.2-kilometer (24.9-mile) stage from the Navarra Circuit to Logrono in northern Spain, finishing 29 seconds ahead of Dutch rider Wilco Kelderman and 57 seconds in front of Italian rider Vincenzo Nibali.
In the overall standings, the British rider’s lead over Nibali increased to 1 minute, 58 seconds following the 16th-stage time trial. Kelderman moved to third overall, 42 seconds behind Nibali.
”It’s a big relief and obviously I’m super happy to be in this position,” Froome said. ”That’s an amazing feeling to extend my lead. The race is not over. I’m gonna have to fight every day.”
It was Froome’s second stage win in the Vuelta. He had not won any stages on his way to victory in the Tour de France earlier this season.
The Team Sky rider has been wearing the leader’s red jersey since the third stage in the Vuelta, a race in which he finished second three times, including last year.
Froome is trying to become the third rider to complete the Tour-Vuelta double in the same season.
Three-time Vuelta winner Alberto Contador, who is retiring from cycling after this year’s Vuelta, finished fifth in the time trial to move to fifth overall, nearly five minutes behind Froome.
”Now we have four very hard days ahead,” the Spaniard said. ”We will see what we can do.”
Riders will travel 180.5 kilometers (112.1 miles) on Wednesday in what is expected to be one of the most challenging stages in this year’s Vuelta. They will face steep descents and ascents, including a difficult climb near the end.
The Vuelta ends Sunday in Madrid.