Vuelta a Espana support acts deliver for leading man Chris Froome

Tomasz Marczynski crosses the line first
Credit
EPA

"It's an wonderful feeling to still be the leader and to have survived a stage like today", said Froome, who is aiming to become only the third man to win the Tour de France and the Vuelta in the same season.

A late surge by Froome over the final meters of the punishing ride over two category one and a final special-category ascent allowed him to increase the gap over Vincenzo Nibali from 55 seconds to 1:01. Lopez finished the stage in three hours, 34 minutes and 51 seconds, overtaking Briton Adam Yates on the final climb to reach the 2,510-metre summit of Alto Hoya de la Mora first for his second win of the race.

"For us it's really just about maintaining the position we have. I kept calm until the last climb and there I wanted to see how the others were doing, and when I saw I had good legs I tried to go alone".

The 2017 Giro d'Italia stage victor, who also won a Vuelta stage in 2015, claimed a photo finish over Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) with Italian Elia Viviani (Team Sky) in third in the 190-kilometre ride from Edinburgh to Kelso.

"I knew it was a risk, but I preferred to take it".

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"I nearly got to go home", explained the Polish suffering during the first week.

"They controlled with the correct speed".

"It's an awesome feeling to finish off today and still to be the leader of three competitions - the red, the white and the green jersey as well - and to have survived a stage like today", Froome told Team Sky's official website.

Meanwhile, fellow Orica rider Annemiek van Vleuten wrapped up the Boels Rental Ladies Tour overall victory after taking the leaders jersey with an opening prologue win in the six-day UCI Women's WorldTour event. "Everyone did their job and when the team works like that you have to finish it off", Trentin said.

"If anyone had said to me this would be the situation going into the second rest day I would have definitely taken that". "As a team we deserve it because we've been active". After my first victory I was keeping fresh to try again today.

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