Vuelta a Espana: Chris Froome repels Nairo Quintana attacks to stay second

Chris Froome and Nairo Quintana finish stage 14
Froome (left) and Quintana (centre) enjoy a healthy sporting rivalry

Chris Froome repelled a series of attacks from Nairo Quintana to stay 54 seconds behind the Vuelta a Espana race leader after stage 14's summit finish.

Dutchman Robert Gesink won the stage, while Britain's Simon Yates finished fifth to move fourth overall after a stunning ride up the Col d'Aubisque.

Yates finished more than a minute ahead of Froome and Quintana, who were having their own battle on the mountain.

Quintana was unable to break Froome though and they finished together.

It was a fascinating finish to the 196km stage from Urdax-Dantxarinea, which featured four mountain climbs, with Colombian Quintana and Briton Froome riding the first half of the final ascent relatively serenely.

Quintana made the first move with around seven kilometres remaining and Team Sky's Froome took a few seconds to reel in his Movistar rival.

However, Quintana again tried to stretch Tour de France winner Froome, before slowing the pace and then accelerating again - a pattern repeated several times.

Froome, who is looking to become the first rider since 1978 to win the Tour and Vuelta in the same year, would not be shaken off though and followed Quintana round the final left-hand bend to finish a bike-length adrift but close enough to be awarded the same time.

Earlier, Orica BikeExchange's Yates, who started the day three minutes and 25 seconds behind Quintana, had ridden clear of the peloton on the penultimate climb in an effort to recoup some time on leaders.

His plan worked as first his team-mates helped him stay clear on the run to the final climb, before he then caught and passed the remnants of the day's 40-rider breakaway to finish 39 seconds behind Gesink, who picked up his first Grand Tour stage victory.

Robert Gesink
Gesink, who has twice finished sixth at the Vuelta, climbed to 38th overall with his stage win

Yates, who won stage six, is now two minutes, 17 seconds behind Quintana and just 16 seconds adrift of his Colombian team-mate Esteban Chaves, who climbed to third.

Spain's Alberto Contador, who is chasing a record-equalling fourth Vuelta victory, also attacked on the final ascent but his attempt was short-lived and he ended up fading, losing 20 seconds on Quintana to fall back to sixth overall.

Quintana's Spanish team-mate Alejandro Valverde was the day's biggest loser, finishing almost 11 minutes behind LottoNL rider Gesink to drop out of third place.

Gesink missed July's Tour de France after suffering memory loss following a crash in the Tour of Switzerland.

Saturday's stage 15 is not as mountainous but the 118km race climaxes in another summit finish.

Stage 14 result:

1. Robert Gesink (Ned/LottoNL) 5hrs 43mins 24secs

2. Kenny Elissonde (Fra/FDJ) +7secs

3. Egor Silin (Rus/Katusha) +9secs

4. George Bennett (NZ/LottoNL) +31secs

5. Simon Yates (GB/Orica) +39secs

6. Haimar Zubeldia (Spa/Trek) +49secs

7. Jan Bakelants (Bel/AG2R) +1min 11secs

8. Andrew Talansky (US/Cannondale) +1min 14secs

9. Esteban Chaves (Col/Orica) Same time

10. Leopold Koenig (Cze/Team Sky) +1min 16secs

Selected:

12. Nairo Quintana (Col/Movistar) +1min 47secs

13. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) Same time

19. Alberto Contador (Spa/Tinkoff) +2mins 07secs

43. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Movistar) +10mins 56secs

General classification after stage 14:

1. Nairo Quintana (Col/Movistar) 58hrs 41mins 40secs

2. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) +54secs

3. Esteban Chaves (Col/Orica) +2mins 01secs

4. Simon Yates (GB/Orica) +2mins 17secs

Selected:

6. Alberto Contador (Spain / Tinkoff) +3mins 28secs

Top Stories