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Vuelta Stage 11: Lopez Steals away, Chaves Slips Back

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Lopez Vuelta JOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images

Stage eleven was not the biggest mountain stages of this Vuelta, but it may have been one of the most consequential. The rain, present yesterday, returned to drench a peloton who really mustn't have been bargaining for this sort of thing when they signed up for three weeks in Spain. Bardet, Jungels, Di Marchi, Pedrero, Hofstede, Clarke, Tolhoek, Mohoric, Armée, Visconti, Anton, Arroyo, Dunne and Reyes got away, to be kept on a tight leash by the peloton until Simon Yates and Darwin Atapuma attacked on the penultimate climb, driving a reduced group with Armée, Visconti and Bardet quickly enough to open a reasonable advantage by the foot of the last obstacle of the day.

Their chances were soon dashed, however, by Sky's fast pace on the climb, accompanied by Bahrain-Merida. The first attack from the group came from the latter's Nibali alongside Alberto Contador. This didn't succeed, he said with a hint of the word 'obviously,' thanks to the pace of Gianni Moscon. However, it did contribute to the splitting of the group, dropping Esteban Chaves and Nicolas Roche, who held podium positions going into the stage. Also affected were Tejay van Garderen (how organised are BMC? Two GC disasters on the one day is good going) and Fabio Aru.

Up front, Froome didn't look in top condition either, as Franco Pellizotti set the pace for Nibali, but he was equal to Nibali's attack when it came. Nobody was equal to Miguel Ángel Lopéz, however, as he forged clear on the narrow roads near the finish line to win alone. Froome, Nibali and Wilco Kelderman arrived a few seconds later, with Contador slightly further down. Nibali is the big winner of the day, moving into second place under ninety seconds down on the red jersey, while Contador, Kelderman and Lopéz move into the top ten at the expense of Roche (who falls to eleventh), Van Garderen (twelfth) and Adam Yates (twentieth). Chaves did not lose out as badly as those three, but still forfeited two minutes. He is now in a shaky GC third place - sixth place Zakarin is only five seconds behind him, in what looks like a juicy race for the podium.

Stage Rankings

  1. Miguel Ángel Lopéz (COL), Astana - 5:05:09
  2. Chris Froome (UK), Team Sky - 0:14
  3. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA), Bahrain-Merida - st
  4. Wilco Kelderman (NED), Team Sunweb - st
  5. Romain Bardet (FRA), AG2R La Mondiale - 0:31
  6. Alberto Contador (ESP), Trek-Segafredo - st
  7. Ilnur Zakarin (RUS), Team Katusha - st
  8. Mikel Nieve (ESP), Team Sky - st
  9. Darwin Atapuma (COL), UAE Team Emirates - 1:02
  10. David De la Cruz (ESP), Etixx-Quickstep - 1:14

General Classification

  1. Chris Froome (UK), Team Sky - 45:18:01
  2. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA), Bahrain-Merida - 1:19
  3. Esteban Chaves (COL), Orica-Scott - 2:33
  4. David De la Cruz (ESP), Etixx-Quickstep - 2:36
  5. Wilco Kelderman (NED), Team Sunweb - 2:37
  6. Ilnur Zakarin (RUS), Team Katusha - 2:38
  7. Fabio Aru (ITA), Astana - 2:57
  8. Michael Woods (CAN), Cannondale-Drapac - 3:01
  9. Alberto Contador (ESP), Trek-Segafredo - 3:55
  10. Miguel Ángel Lopéz (COL), Astana - 4:11