Sander Armee claims stage 18 as Froome extends Vuelta lead

Sander Armee vuelta 2017 stage 18

Sander Armee (Lotto Soudal) claimed stage 18 of La Vuelta. The Belgian was one of the two survivors of the day’s escape and arrived to the finish line on his own after leaving Alexey Lutsenko behind in the last metres.

Over 10 minutes back on Armee, Froome staved off a series of attacks in the chasing group with the help of his Sky teammates before accelerating himself in the final 600m to leave Nibali trailing.

The Briton picked up 21 seconds on the Italian to stretch his overall lead with just two competitive days of racing to go before Sunday’s parade around central Madrid.

Froome is now a huge favourite to become just the third rider ever to win the Tour de France and Vuelta in the same year, and the first since the Vuelta was moved to after the Tour in the cycling calendar back in 1995.

The four-time Tour winner had lost 42 seconds to Nibali on Wednesday as he paid for his efforts in winning the only individual time trial of the race a day earlier.

However, Froome made amends as only Alberto Contador and Michael Woods could stay with his attack on a category three climb to the finish.

In his final race before retirement, Contador remains fifth overall but edged four seconds closer to a place on the podium, 1min 17sec behind Wilco Kelderman.

Fabio Aru, the 2015 Vuelta champion, gained 12 seconds on the Froome group to move up to eighth overall.

Another undulating route awaits in Friday’s 149.7km 19th stage from Caso to Gijon before Saturday’s decisive mountainous queen stage that finishes with a climb up the Alto de l’Angliru.

Vuelta a Espana 2017 – stage 18 results (Suances – Santo Toribio de Liébana):

1Sander Armée (Lotto Soudal)


2Alexey Lutsenko (Astana)


3Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain Merida)


4Alexis Gougeard (AG2R)


5Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar)


6Alessandro De Marchi (BMC)


7Matteo Trentin (Quick-Step Floors)


8Sergio Pardilla (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA)


9Antwan Tolhoek (LottoNl-Jumbo)


10Anthony Roux (FDJ)


11Patrick Konrad (Bora-hansgrohe)


12Aldemar Reyes (Manzana Postobon)


13Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors)


14Matej Mohoric (UAE Team Emirates)


15Stephane Rossetto (Cofidis)


16Marc Soler (Movistar)


17Toms Skujins (Cannondale-Drapac)


18Jeremy Maison (FDJ)


19Clement Chevrier (AG2R)


20Fabio Aru (Astana)



General classification after stage 18:

1Chris Froome (Team Sky)


2Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida)


3Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb)


4Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin)


5Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo)


6Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana)


7Michael Woods (Cannondale-Drapac)


8Fabio Aru (Astana)


9Wout Poels (Team Sky)


10Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNl-Jumbo)


11David De La Cruz (Quick-Step Floors)


12Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott)


13Tejay Van Garderen (BMC)


14Louis Meintjes (UAE Team Emirates)


15Sergio Padilla (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA)


16Mikel Nieve (Team Sky)


17Nicolas Roche (BMC)


18Daniel Moreno (Movistar)


19Romain Bardet (AG2R)


20Darwin Atapuma (UAE Team Emirates)



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