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Vuelta: Chris Froome loses ground to Vincenzo Nibali on gruelling 17th stageVuelta: Chris Froome loses ground to Vincenzo Nibali on gruelling 17th stage

first_imgVuelta a España Chris Froome lost a huge chunk of his advantage as the leader of the Vuelta a España when he struggled on stage 17’s steep final climb day, with the Austrian Stefan Denifl claiming victory .The Team Sky rider found the special category climb to Alto de los Machucos tough going and finished 14th, enabling Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali to cut Froome’s lead by 42 seconds to 1min 16sec.Alberto Contador came in second, the veteran Spaniard clawing back more than a minute on the leader to keep alive the race for the red jersey after Froome’s impressive time-trial performance on Tuesday seemed to have ended it.Denifl, of wildcard entrants Aqua Blue Sport, beat Contador by 28sec on the 180.5km run from Villadiego to Los Machucos in dangerous, misty conditions with limited visibility.Despite his poor stage, Froome, who was unable to respond to attacks by Contador and the third-placed Miguel Ángel López, remained confident of winning. “It’s still a great position to be in,” he said. “It was a really tough final climb, especially with the weather conditions. It was a typical Vuelta summit finish and the same for everyone. I don’t think anybody enjoys gradients over 25%. It’s never nice to lose time but I’m confident we can get the job done.”Denifl, who gave Aqua Blue Sport their first stage victory in a major tour, said “We’re at our first Vuelta and winning a stage, it’s just amazing, I’m over the moon. It’s the best day in my cycling life.” It was a timely boost for the Irish team after an alleged arson attack destroyed their team bus following the 11th stage. Tour of Britain: Elia Viviani takes lead despite losing fourth stage to Newark Share on Messenger Share on Twitter Support The Guardian Topics … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Cycling Since you’re here… Share on Facebookcenter_img Team Ineos news Read more Share on LinkedIn Share on Pinterest Chris Froome Share on WhatsApp Share via Email Reuse this contentlast_img read more