Vuelta a Espana: Chris Froome moves second after stage 11 win
By Matt Westby
Last Updated: 01/09/16 1:05pm
Chris Froome moved up to second overall at the Vuelta a Espana and cut his gap to race leader Nairo Quintana by winning stage 11.
Froome (Team Sky) broke clear of the peloton along with Quintana (Movistar) in the final 800m of the climb to the summit finish at Pena Cabarga and then defeated the Colombian in a sprint.
Both riders were awarded the same time, but Froome received 10 bonus seconds for his win compared to Quintana's six for second place, which means the Briton reduces his overall deficit from 58 seconds to 54.
He also moves up one place in the standings after Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) could only finish six seconds down in third place, relegating him to 1min 5sec adrift in third overall.
Froome's victory was his best performance of this year's race so far and deals a mental blow to Quintana, who had easily ridden away from the Tour de France winner on the previous two summit finishes but this time could not drop him.
Froome, who also won at Pena Cabarga in the 2011 Vuelta, said: "I have got some special memories from 2011 here, but today, just to add to that is an incredible feeling.
"Definitely, Quintana is really strong at the moment and he has the leader's jersey. I'm just trying to do as much as I can day by day now, and I hope that obviously I can keep getting closer to him.
"I want as much time, he wants as much time - that's what makes the race exciting. It's good that we're in this position."
The final climb was 5.6km long but the favourites didn't start attacking each other until 1.8km to go, when Esteban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange) accelerated and quickly built up a lead of 16 seconds.
Quintana waited until just under 800m to go to make his move and he launched two more attacks in quick succession as he tried and failed to drop the rejuvenated Froome.
Froome then launched an attack of his own after the pair had passed Chaves and distanced the likes of Alberto Contador (Tinkoff), but when Quintana followed it became clear the stage would come down to an uphill sprint.
Quintana made Froome lead it out, but the latter's kick was too strong and he won by three bike lengths.
Froome was not the only Briton who fared well on stage 11, because Simon Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) finished sixth to move up to seventh overall, 3min 25sec down.
After the stage, Froome hinted at friction between himself and Quintana when he responded to Colombian's claims that power meters should be banned from bikes in order to avoid repeats of Froome's evenly paced ride on stage 10's summit finish.
Froome said: "Why not? And then we can also go back to single-speed bikes without gears, too."
The Vuelta continues on Thursday with a rolling, 193.2km 12th stage from Los Corrales de Buelna to Bilbao. Find out more about the route in our race guide and follow the action with our live blog from 3pm BST.
Stage 11 result
1 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, 3:44:47
2 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, same time
3 Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, +6
4 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky, st
5 Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff, +8
6 Simon Yates (GB) Orica-BikeExchange, +13
7 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana, +14
8 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-BikeExchange, +19
9 Pierre Latour (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +22
10 Samuel Sanchez (Esp) BMC Racing, +30
1 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, 42:21:48
2 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, +54sec
3 Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, +1:05
4 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-BikeExchange, +2:34
5 Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff, +3:08
6 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky, +3:09
7 Simon Yates (GB) Orica-BikeExchange, +3:25
8 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana, +3:34
9 David de la Cruz (Esp) Etixx - Quick-Step, +3:45
10 Samuel Sanchez (Esp) BMC Racing, +3:56