Vuelta a Espana: Degenkolb wins as Contador leads race

John Degenkolb wins the 17th stage of the Tour of Spain
Degenkolb has won stages four, five, 12 and 17 of the Vuelta a Espana

Germany's John Degenkolb won the 17th stage of the Tour of Spain as home rider Albert Contador retained the overall lead.

Degenkolb narrowly beat Australian Michael Matthews on the 190.7km leg to win his fourth stage of the race.

Great Britain's Chris Froome rode in with the pack and is third overall behind Contador and Alejandro Valverde.

Froome is 99 seconds behind Contador and three seconds behind Valverde ahead of Thursday's mountainous 157km route.

Alberto Contador and Chris Froome
Contador (left) is a two-time Vuelta winner

The race resumed after a rest day on Tuesday and Froome suffered a setback with Team Sky team-mate Christian Knees, of Germany, having to withdraw because of illness.

Contador, 31, is aiming for a third Tour of Spain crown.

"The feelings have been pretty good and, well, it's one day fewer," he said.

"Thursday's stage is completely different and we have to get the motor running at top speed again.

"Let's hope the legs are working well and we can keep an eye on those at the front and make sure the day goes smoothly.

"I think they (the remaining four stages) are all important, maybe the one on Thursday will be a bit different but all the days are important now."

Stage 17 result:

1. John Degenkolb (Ger/Giant) 4:26:07

2. Michael Matthews (Aus/Orica) Same time

3. Fabian Cancellara (Sui/Trek) Same time

4. Jasper Stuyven (Bel/Trek) Same time

5. Roberto Ferrari (Ita/Lampre) Same time

6. Koldo Fernandez (Spa/Garmin) Same time

7. Geoffrey Soupe (Fra/ Same time

8. Danilo Wyss (Sui/BMC Racing) Same time

9. Damiano Caruso (Ita/Cannondale) Same time

10. Vicente Reynes (Spa/IAM Cycling)Same time

Overall classification after stage 17:

1. Alberto Contador (Spa/Tinkoff-Saxo) 67hrs 51mins 07secs

2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) + 1min 36secs

3. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) +1min 39secs

4. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa/Katusha) +2mins 29secs

5. Fabio Aru (Ita/Astana) +3mins 38secs

6. Daniel Martin (Irl/Garmin) +6mins 17secs

7. Robert Gesink (NED/BKN) +6mins 43secs

8. Samuel Sanchez (Spa/BMC Racing) +6mins 55secs

9. Warren Barguil (Fra/Giant) +8mins 37secs

10. Damiano Caruso (Ita/Cannondale) +9mins 10secs

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