Cycle//Vuelta a España
by Marcus Leach
Chris Froome was denied stage victory at the Vuelta a España today (Thursday) as Italy's Fabio Aru won the eighteenth stage in Galicia.
However, Froome's effort means he has now moved into second place overall and keeps his slim hopes of winning the race alive. However, with Alberto Contador a minute and nineteen seconds ahead the British rider will need to gain large chunks of time, and with only one mountain stage left that now looks unlikely.
Astana rider Aru is now fifth overall after the 157km stage. Most of the leading riders from the general classification were in contention as the field left A Estrada and climbed Monte Castrove twice.
France's Warren Barguil attempted a breakaway on the second ascent but was clawed back as several teams, including Froome's Sky and Joaquim Rodriguez's Katusha, attempted to help their lead riders.
After Aru and Froome raced ahead, cresting the summit together before dashing for the line, Spaniard Contador, battled for fifth place, dropping some potentially vital seconds on Froome.
“The climb itself was not very hard, but we improvised our tactics at the bottom to bring myself to the front and break some legs," said Aru.
Stage Eighteen Result
1. Fabio Aru 3hrs 47mins 17secs
2. Chris Froome +1
3. Alejandro Valverde +13
4. Joaquim Rodriguez - same time
5. Alberto Contador
6. Samuel Sanchez +17
7. Daniel Navarro +33
8. Daniel Moreno +48
9. Damiano Caruso - same time
10. Warren Barguil
1. Alberto Contador 71hrs 38mins 37secs
2. Chris Froome +1min 19secs
3. Alejandro Valverde +1min 32secs
4. Joaquim Rodriguez +2mins 29secs
5. Fabio Aru +3mins 15secs
6. Daniel Martin +6mins 52secs
7. Samuel Sanchez +6mins 59secs
8. Warren Barguil +9mins 12secs
9. Daniel Navarro +9mins 44secs
10. Damiano Caruso +9mins 45secs