Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) won stage 19 of the Vuelta a Espana after a sprint finish from the remnants of a large break group that finished well clear of the peloton.
Froome, bidding to become the first rider in 39 years to win the Vuelta and the Tour de France in the same season, finished the 19th stage along with Vincenzo Nibali and 28 other riders.
There were no major changes in the general classification, with only one mountain stage on Saturday remaining in the 21-day race, which ends with Sunday’s procession into Madrid.
Thomas de Gendt finished strongest in the bunch sprint at the front of a nine-man breakaway group to take his first Vuelta stage win, completing his set of victories from each of the grand tours.
De Gendt outlasted Jarlinson Pantano and Spaniard Ivan Garcia Cortina at the finish line, meaning no home rider has won a stage on this year’s Vuelta with two days to go.
The last time a Spaniard failed to win a stage on the Vuelta was in 1996, Spanish cycling great Miguel Indurain’s last race.
Home favorite Alberto Contador, who is also in his last race as a professional, staged another brave attack as he continued to chase a podium place.
He led the general classification group of riders by over 20 seconds toward the end before being hovered up by the group with 2.5km remaining.
Saturday’s penultimate stage is a short, sharp 117.5 km ride ending on the notorious Alto de l´Angliru, regarded as one of the toughest mountains in Spain.
Contador sealed his first Vuelta victory thanks to a stage win on the Angliru in 2008, while the mountain also decided the 2011 and 2013 editions of the race.
If Froome can stave off Nibali there, he will almost certainly become the first rider since French great Bernard Hinault in 1978 to win the Vuelta and the Tour de France in the same season.
Vuelta a Espana 2017 – stage 19 results (Caso. Parque Natural de Redes – Gijon):
|1||Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal)|
|2||Jarlinson Pantano (Trek-Segafredo)|
|3||Ivan Garcia Cortina (Bahrain Merida)|
|4||Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirate)|
|5||Floris De Tier (LottoNl-Jumbo)|
|6||Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors)|
|7||Romain Bardet (AG2R)|
|8||Nicolas Roche (BMC)|
|9||Daniel Navarro (Cofidis)|
|10||Koen Bouwman (LottoNl-Jumbo)|
|11||Simon Clarke (Cannondale-Drapac)|
|12||Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-hansgrohe)|
|13||Antonio Pedrero (Movistar)|
|14||Matteo Trentin (Quick-Step Floors)|
|15||Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar)|
|16||Laurens De Vreese (Astana)|
|17||Matej Mohoric (UAE Team Emirates)|
|18||Antwan Tolhoek (LottoNl-Jumbo)|
|19||David Arroyo (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA)|
|20||Juan Jose Lobato (LottoNl-Jumbo)|
General classification after stage 19:
|1||Chris Froome (Team Sky)|
|2||Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida)|
|3||Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb)|
|4||Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin)|
|5||Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo)|
|6||Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana)|
|7||Michael Woods (Cannondale-Drapac)|
|8||Fabio Aru (Astana)|
|9||Wout Poels (Team Sky)|
|10||Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNl-Jumbo)|
|11||David De La Cruz (Quick-Step Floors)|
|12||Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott)|
|13||Tejay Van Garderen (BMC)|
|14||Louis Meintjes (UAE Team Emirates)|
|15||Nicolas Roche (BMC)|
|16||Sergio Padilla (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA)|
|17||Mikel Nieve (Team Sky)|
|18||Romain Bardet (AG2R)|
|19||Daniel Moreno (Movistar)|
|20||Darwin Atapuma (UAE Team Emirates)|