Vuelta a Espana: Chris Froome extends lead as Lopez wins stage 11

Miguel Angel Lopez
Wednesday's win was the biggest of Miguel Angel Lopez's career to date

Britain's Chris Froome extended his lead in the Vuelta a Espana as Colombia's Miguel Angel Lopez claimed a solo victory on stage 11.

Team Sky's Froome was second on the mountainous stage which finished in the Sierra Nevada in Andalucia.

The four-time Tour de France winner was 14 seconds behind Lopez and now leads the race by one minute and 19 seconds.

Italy's Vincenzo Nibali was beaten to the line by Froome, but moved up to second in the general classification.

Former winner Nibali accelerated on the final climb of the 187.5km stage, but Froome - bidding to become the first British winner of the third of cycling's three grand tours - bridged the gap.

Astana rider Lopez surged with 2km to go and Froome was content to allow him to push on for the stage win.

Orica-Scott rider Esteban Chaves had started the stage in second, 36 seconds behind Froome, but the Colombian finished 17th, losing more than two minutes on the day to slip to third.

If Froome wins, he will become only the third man after French duo of Jacques Anquetil and Bernard Hinault to have won both the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana in the same season.

"I'm very happy with the outcome today," said Froome, 32. "I think it was a very selective day for the general classification, and to finish second, I couldn't have asked for much more than that other than a stage victory.

"When Lopez went, he was extremely strong and at the top, I figured for me the most important thing was going to be to follow Vincenzo and to stay with the real favourites."

Thursday's stage 12 sees the race stay in the Sierra Nevada, with a 160.1km route from Motril to Antequera.

Thomas returns for Tour of Britain

Froome's team-mate Geraint Thomas has been named in strong Team Sky outfit for this weekend's Tour of Britain, after recovering from a fractured collarbone that ended his Tour de France.

The Welshman has had an injury hit season; he wore the yellow jersey for the first time at the Tour de France having won the opening time trial in Dusseldorf, but the 31-year-old's race ended on stage nine when he was caught up in a crash on the Col de la Biche descent.

He also had to abandon this year's Giro d'Italia after a crash involving a police motorbike.

Fellow Welshman Owain Doull, Italian Olympic omnium champion Elia Viviani, former world champion Michal Kwiatkowski of Poland, who triumphed at this year's Milan-San Remo classic in March, and former world time-trial champion Vasil Kiryienka of Belarus are also in the six-rider line-up.

The race begins on Sunday in Edinburgh, ending in Cardiff on 10 September.

Vuelta stage 11 results

1. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col/Astana Pro Team) 5hrs 05mins 09secs

2. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) +14 secs

3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita/Bahrain-Merida) Same time

4. Wilco Kelderman (Ned/Team Sunweb) Same time

5. Romain Bardet (Fra/AG2R La Mondiale) +31secs

6. Alberto Contador (Spa/Trek-Segafredo) Same time

7. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus/Katusha-Alpecin) Same time

8. Mikel Nieve (Spa/Team Sky) Same time

9. Darwin Atapuma (Col/UAE Team Emirates) +1mins 02secs

10. David De La Cruz (Spa/Quick-Step Floors) +1mins 14secs

General classification

1. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) 45hrs 18min 01secs

2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita/Bahrain-Merida) +1mins 19secs

3. Esteban Chaves (Col/Orica-Scott) +2mins 33secs

4. David De La Cruz (Spa/Quick-Step Floors) +2mins 36secs

5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned/Team Sunweb) +2mins 37secs

6. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus/Katusha-Alpecin) +2mins 38secs

7. Fabio Aru (Ita/Astana Pro Team) +2mins 57secs

8. Michael Woods (Can/Cannondale-Drapac) +3mins 01secs

9. Alberto Contador (Spa/Trek-Segafredo) +3mins 55secs

10. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col/Astana Pro Team) +4mins 11secs

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