Froome extends Vuelta lead, Lopez wins Stage 11

Froome extends Vuelta lead, Lopez wins Stage 11”

The Brit is seeking to become only the third person to win the Tour-Vuelta double in the same year and the first since 1978.

Juan Jose Lobato (LottoNL-Jumbo), Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), Valerio Agnoli, Domen Novak (Bahrain-Merida), Arnaud Courteille (FDJ), Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (Dimension Data), Rafael Reis, Diego Rubio (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo), Tim Declercq, Matteo Trentin (Quick-Step Floors), Alessandro De Marchi (BMC), Daniel Moreno, Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar), Nico Denz, Alexandre Geniez (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Michael Morkov (Katusha-Alpecin) were the hardy souls who eventually got away, and to their credit they quickly built a lead of three minutes.

Trentin sealed his second stage win by beating Rojas in a sprint, despite the Murcia-born rider's desperation to win on home soil. All the action caught up Atapuma and Bardet with 7-km to go.

For the first half of this Vuelta a España, Esteban Chaves and Nicolas Roche have looked like two of the biggest threats to Chris Froome in the GC; the former able to match him on the climbs, and the latter picking up time through canny moves such as his attack on the final descent of stage 11.

Nibali, who won La Vuelta in 2010, was then beaten to the line by the Team Sky rider as the Italian finished third to gain four bonus seconds.

"It was a good day".

Chris Froome increased his lead, while Vincenzo Nibali took over second place from Esteban Chaves, who faltered.

The Briton made up time in the gruelling stage from Lorca to Calar Alto in Andalusia - which featured 3,490 metres of climbing and finished 2,120 metres above sea level - with a late dash from the back to the front of the chasing pack behind Lopez.

The road rose even before the Velefique proper began, and the break's gap was 4:30.

Thursday's 12th stage is a hilly 160.1-kilometer (99.5-mile) ride from Montril to Los Dolmenes. Nibali then took a rip, with Froome's teammates working to bring him back. It wasn't really a plan to go on the descent until I saw Vincenzo (Nibali) open up a small gap.

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