Vuelta a Espana: Chris Froome extends lead as Sander Armee takes stage 18

Chris Froome widened his overall leading at the Vuelta a Espaa after a devastating late breaking on stage 18 as Sander Arme took victory on the road to Santo Toribio de Libana

Chris Froome took advantage of growing fatigue among his main contenders as the Team Sky rider moved to a step closer to securing a Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana double. The day after “hes losing” 42 seconds to Vincenzo Nibali, a devastating late infringe on the road to Santo Toribio de Liebana watched Froome widen his leading over the Italian to 1min 37 sec while Sander Armee took the stage 18 victory.

” We saw a lot of people expend a lot of energy today, there were attacks on the penultimate climb from everyone, all the main GC guys ,” Froome said.” It was merely Fabio 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 last climb our guys set a really high temp at the bottom and I was feeling a whole lot better today so it was great to gain a little bit of hour that I lost. I believe certainly some guys paid for their efforts on Wednesday and also for their attacks earlier on. It’s good to bounce back again and morale is still good and the team still strong. We’re just looking forward to getting though these next couple of days .”

Having acknowledged he had struggled to cope with gradients up to 25% in the difficult climbing of Los Machucos the previous day, Froome broke clear of the depleted peloton 600 m from the summit finish, with only Alberto Contador and Michael Woods able to stick with him. The move took 21 sec from Nibali as Froome attempts to become the first rider to win the double in the same year since 1978 and the first Briton in history to take the title.

Only three stages remain but Friday’s 150 km trek from Caso to Gijon in Asturias features the treacherous San Martin mountain pass.

Wilco Kelderman( Team Sunweb) is third overall, 2min 17 sec down but 12 sec ahead of Ilnur Zakarin( Katusha-Alpecin) in fourth. Trek-Segafredo’s three-times Vuelta winner Contador, in his final professional race, is fifth, 3min 34 sec behind.

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