Froome extends Vuelta lead, Lopez climbs to second win

Cycling: Froome cedes ground to Nibali in difficult stage

Chris Froome increased his overall lead on another tough day in the mountains at the Vuelta a Espana as Miguel Angel Lopez impressively won stage 15.

Froome countered Vincenzo Nibali's move on the final climb and widened his advantage over him by six seconds.

Nibali, who did not compete in this year's Tour, waited his turn to attack while Alberto Contador, Romain Bardet (AG2R) and Lopez formed a group ahead of Froome's bunch. 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.

Lopez eventually triumphed by 36secs from Ilnur Zakarin [Katusha-Alpecin], with Wilco Kelderman a further nine seconds behind, then Esteban Chaves [Orica-Scott] and Froome at 47secs.

"I tried my best so I can't be disappointed with that", he said.

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'That (when Contador and Lopez attacked) was really the danger moment for us. Niki Terpstra drove the pace with 3 kilometres to go, as the race's main favourites made it into the "same time zone", and he pulled off to let Bob Jungels drive the field.

But he showed great stamina and climbing power to stay away from a stellar cast of chasers for his first Vuelta stage win.

On one of the brief sections of respite, Stage 5 victor Alexey Lutsenko attacked and slipped the field, although he did the same with his gears at just the wrong time, whilst the main group was now about 30 thanks to the relentless work on the front of Quick-Step's aforementioned riders, with a split between the two sections of the peloton.

Trentin's hat trick of stage wins gave his Quick-Step Floors team its fifth stage win. "It's fantastic. The race is not over for the team".

"I knew that at 10k I need to go at full gas like a time trial", said Majka. Four bonus seconds to Nibali that's alright - I'll take that for today and safe my legs for tomorrow.

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