Monday 20 November 2017

Nicolas Roche falls out of contention in Vuelta

As road captain, Nicolas Roche will be responsible for Team Sky tactics at the Tour de France
As road captain, Nicolas Roche will be responsible for Team Sky tactics at the Tour de France

Nicolas Roche fell out of contention after a punishing 11th stage of the Vuelta a Espana today as Astana rider Fabio Aru emerged as the new leader and his team-mate Mikel Landa took the stage honours in the Pyrenees.

Roche lost over 14 minutes on a day that featured six climbs and the Team Sky rider, who started the day in fourth place overall, falls to 22nd in the general standings.

Sky’s Ian Boswell finished third on the stage but his team-mate Chris Froome suffered a crash shortly after the start at Andorra la Vella from which the Tour de France champion never recovered and he limped over the line nearly nine minutes behind Landa.

Sky rider Geraint Thomas told reporters Briton Froome had hurt a foot, a knee and a shoulder but had decided to fight on.

Aru leads second-placed Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), who helped design the stage, by 27 seconds in the general classification.

Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands (Giant-Alpecin), who was first heading into today’s rest day, is a further three seconds behind in third.

"The team was incredible today," Aru told reporters.

"This morning we agreed that Landa would go for the stage and he managed to get into the right break and went on to win what was a really difficult stage," he added.

"It was a real demonstration of strength and I'm really happy to be in the leader's jersey.

"There's still 10 stages to go and so we'll take things day by day but we'll try to defend it."

Froome's bid for a rare Tour-Vuelta double after his second triumph in France in July looks to be over and the Briton is now seven and a half minutes off the lead in 15th.


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