Froome Dominates 40 Km Time Trial at Vuelta a Espana
Following Monday's second rest day of this year's La Vuelta a Espana, Chris Froome started today's individual time trial determined to dominate the stage and increase his overall lead in the general classification for Team Sky Pro Cycling.
Froome had made good use of the rest day and proved capable of delivering a powerful performance, which would not only secure him his second stage victory in this year's Vuelta, but also further increase his advantage in the general classification. It took Froome exactly 47 minutes to cover the virtually flat 40.2 kilometers from Circuito de Navarra to Logroño.
"I was riding at the speed I felt best. I wasn't really getting that many time checks from the team car, so I didn't really know where I was. I was a bit worried coming into the last 6 or 7 kilometers of the stage, but then I found out I was on track to fight for the stage win," Froome told Roadcycling.com after being celebrated on the podium.
The British rider gained 29 seconds on Sunweb's Wilco Kelderman, who impressed many observers in today's stage, and 57 seconds on Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), still 2nd overall but now 01:58 minutes behind Froome despite delivering a very fast performance initially in today's challenge.
Soon-to-retire Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) appeared keen on leaving professional road cycling on a high note when he showed great willpower and no signs of fading on his time trial bike today - a strong effort was the result and it catapulted him into the top 5 of the general classification for the first time in this year's Vuelta a Espana.
"I think I did a good time trial, but after today I believe reaching the podium will be very difficult. I didn't have the split times of my rivals and preferred to ride only on my sensations. It was not the best time trial I have done in the last years of my career - even recently I have done better, like my time trial at the Tour de France."
Following his victory in the Tour earlier this year, Froome is on a proclaimed mission to become the third rider ever to win a historic Tour de France / Vuelta a Espana double - and the first rider secure the double after the Vuelta was relocated on the pro cycling race calendar to become the last Grand Tour of the season.
"To extend my lead now and to be in this position with four big days of racing left now is obviously a great position for me to be in, but I am going to take it one day at a time. I've got a good time buffer, but the race is not over. I have to keep fighting every day now, but this is one step closer to Madrid," Froome explained.
"Tomorrow will be brutal. Absolutely brutal. From what I can see the final climb is a wall, so it will be a big GC battle," Froome added.
Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) spent 04:01 minutes more than Froome on his time trial bike today and dropped from 5th to 9th in the general classification.
Cannondale-Drapac's Michael Woods, who had delivered impressive and eye-opening performances in this year's Vuelta leading up to today's individual time trial, delivered a mediocre result in his weakest discipline and moved to 10th overall, his performance perhaps influenced by his Cannondale-Drapac team's somber chances of survival following Cannondale's disappointing failure to increase its team funding in order to save the team, despite of the team budget already being small compared with those of competing pro cycling teams.
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2017 Vuelta a Espana - Stage 16 results:
1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky Pro Cycling 00:47:00
2 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:29
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:57
4 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin 0:00:59
5 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Trek-Segafredo
6 Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Team FDJ 0:01:07
7 Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky Pro Cycling 0:01:11
8 Lennard Kämna (Ger) Team Sunweb 0:01:30
9 Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors 0:01:41
10 Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:01:49
11 Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:50
12 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:01:55
13 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors 0:02:07
14 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:02:09
15 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quick-Step Floors 0:02:12
16 Stef Clement (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:02:15
17 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quick-Step Floors 0:02:17
18 Peter Koning (Ned) Aqua Blue Sport 0:02:19
19 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto-Soudal 0:02:25
20 David de la Cruz (Spa) Quick-Step Floors 0:02:27
21 Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Aqua Blue Sport 0:02:30
22 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team 0:02:34
23 Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 0:02:46
24 Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team 0:02:47
25 Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:02:49
26 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:03:03
27 Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis - Solutions Credits 0:03:08
28 Anthony Roux (Fra) Team FDJ 0:03:11
29 Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing Team 0:03:12
30 Lluís Guillermo Mas Bonet (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:03:14
37 Michael Woods (Can) Team Cannondale-Drapac 0:03:40
45 Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-Scott 0:04:01
2017 Vuelta a Espana - General classification following stage 16:
1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky Pro Cycling 62:53:25
2 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:01:58
3 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:02:40
4 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin 0:03:07
5 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Trek-Segafredo 0:04:58
6 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team 0:05:25
7 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:06:27
8 Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky Pro Cycling 0:06:33
9 Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-Scott 0:06:40
10 Michael Woods (Can) Team Cannondale-Drapac 0:07:06
11 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:10:11
12 David de la Cruz (Spa) Quick-Step Floors 0:10:14
13 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:10:17
14 Louis Meintjes (RSA) UAE Team Emirates 0:12:44
15 Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Team Sky Pro Cycling 0:23:20
16 Sergio Pardilla Bellon (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:23:58
17 Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing Team 0:24:52
18 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Movistar Team 0:31:43
19 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:39:04
20 Darwin Atapuma (Col) UAE Team Emirates 0:41:46