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Vuelta a España Stage 17: GC Truce Helps Frank Escape

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Los Bigs keep a close eye on each other; Swiss profit from flurried attacks

IAM Cycling's Mathias Frank held off the hard-charging Robert Gesink of LottoNL-Jumbo and Leopold Konig of Sky to win the 17th stage atop the Vuelta a Espana's most grueling four km track at Penyagolosa, Valencia. Frank, the veteran all-rounder who is off to AG2R next season, slipped away from the two dozen escapees on the day, drawing Dario Cataldo of Astana as they began the grueling ascent, only for Cataldo to fall away, leaving Frank alone all the way to the finish. Gesink, who won on Saturday and who also took second earlier in the race at the Lagos de Covadonga, keeps pecking his way up the KOM classification, but will likely just go home with a couple stage memories and hope for a better 2017. Konig, meanwhile, has been Chris Froome's top domestique, but was allowed to try his hand today, with Froome well capable of managing his affairs on this short, stabby stage. For Frank, it's his first victory since his debut season at IAM Cycling in 2014.

Speaking of Froome, he did little to dent Movistar man Nairo Quintana's solid advantage in the leader's jersey, as the top favorites all spent much of the day together, apart from a few anxious moments -- mostly for Froome -- on the final climb. Froome looked to be conceding a bit of time, but Quintana barely attacked or even changed his tempo, and Froome dug deep to reattach and even come past Quintana on the line. That may have restored a measure of the Englishman's pride, but it did exactly nothing for his current standing, either re Quintana or another Colombian, Esteban Chaves, who tried to close his gap on the second step of the podium. All of them plus Alberto Contador finished together. The most you can say about the stage is that, of all the top guys, Froome probably burnt the most matches in the process of ensuring the status quo.

Results:

1. SUIFRANK Mathias 161 IAM CYCLING 04h 34' 38''
2. CZEKONIG Leopold 26 TEAM SKY 04h 34' 44'' + 00' 06''
3. NEDGESINK Robert 46 LOTTO NL -JUMBO 04h 34' 49'' + 00' 11''
4. ESPBILBAO Pello 202 CAJA RURAL - SEGUROS RGA 04h 34' 52'' + 00' 14''
5. ITACATALDO Dario 62 ASTANA PRO TEAM 04h 34' 54'' + 00' 16''
6. ESPHERRADA Jose 5 MOVISTAR TEAM 04h 35' 07'' + 00' 29''
7. FRADOMONT Axel 105 AG2R LA MONDIALE 04h 35' 26'' + 00' 48''
8. BELDE CLERCQ Bart 121 LOTTO SOUDAL 04h 35' 35'' + 00' 57''
9. CRODURASEK Kristijan 175 LAMPRE - MERIDA 04h 35' 40'' + 01' 02''
10. ESPZUBELDIA Haimar 91 TREK - SEGAFREDO 04h 35' 42'' + 01' 04''

GC:

1. COLQUINTANA Nairo 7 MOVISTAR TEAM 69h 35' 32''
2. GBRFROOME Christopher 21 TEAM SKY 69h 39' 09'' + 03' 37''
3. COLCHAVES Johan Esteban 51 ORICA BIKEEXCHANGE 69h 39' 29'' + 03' 57''
4. ESPCONTADOR Alberto 11 TINKOFF 69h 39' 34'' + 04' 02''
5. GBRYATES Simon 59 ORICA BIKEEXCHANGE 69h 41' 35'' + 06' 03''
6. USATALANSKY Andrew 141 CANNONDALE-DRAPAC PRO CYCLING TEAM 69h 43' 06'' + 07' 34''
7. ESPSANCHEZ GONZALEZ Samuel 37 BMC RACING TEAM 69h 43' 44'' + 08' 12''
8. ITAFORMOLO Davide 145 CANNONDALE-DRAPAC PRO CYCLING TEAM 69h 43' 45'' + 08' 13''
9. ITASCARPONI Michele 61 ASTANA PRO TEAM 69h 44' 00'' + 08' 28''
10. ESPDE LA CRUZ David 133 ETIXX - QUICK STEP 69h 44' 24'' + 08' 52''

stage 17 profile vuelta

Castellon - Llucens. Camins del Penyagolosa 177.5 km

Another day with a gentle, easy climb to end the day. If by gentle and easy you mean totally nuts.

Wall-climber of the Day: Alberto Contadorian

He's contadorian if I'm correctly informed.

Official siteStageinfo,  Startlist

camins del penyagolosa