Vuelta a Espana: Chris Froome wins to cut Nairo Quintana's lead
By Matt Westby
Last Updated: 09/09/16 7:14pm
Chris Froome cut his deficit to Vuelta a Espana leader Nairo Quintana to 1min 21sec with a dominant victory on stage 19’s individual time trial.
The Team Sky rider stopped the clock on a flat, 37km course in 46min 33sec, which was 44 seconds faster than runner-up Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar), 1min 57sec ahead eighth-placed Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) and 2min 16sec ahead of Quintana (Movistar).
Despite his peerless performance, Froome's hopes of overall victory now rest on him opening up another substantial gap on Quintana on Saturday's mountainous 20th stage, which contains four categorised climbs and then a special-category summit finish on Alto de Aitana.
Contador (Tinkoff) was left trailing by Froome but has climbed from fourth to third overall, 3min 43sec down, after Esteban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange) lost 1min 16sec to the Spaniard in a torrid time trial.
Britain's Simon Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) also struggled badly, falling to 7min 32sec down in sixth overall after finishing 3min 43sec adrift of Froome on the day.
Froome said: "Of course, I'm really happy with the result today, especially at this point of the season. This is the last race of my season, so I'm really happy to still be in good condition."
Froome made a flying start to the stage and was the fastest man in the field at the 12.5km time check, already 31 seconds ahead of Contador and 46 seconds in front of Quintana.
He then caught and passed Chaves and had stretched his advantage to 1min 12sec over Contador and 1min 33sec over Quintana at the second split, after 24.3km.
Any fears that he may have gone out too hard were then dispelled when he continued to pull away from his two closest rivals in the final sector to seal his second Vuelta stage win this year and third in total.
Find out more about stage 20's route in our race guide and follow the whole stage with our live blog from 11am BST.
Stage 19 result
1 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, 46min 33sec
2 Jonathan Castroviejo (Esp) Movistar, +44sec
3 Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Giant-Alpecin, +1:24
4 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step, +1:26
5 Victor Campanaerts (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo, +1:47
6 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky, +1:51
7 Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac, +1:54
8 Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff, +1:57
9 Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, +1:58
10 Luis Leon Sanchez (Esp) Astana, +2:10
11 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, +2:16
24 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-BikeExchange, +3:13
32 Simon Yates (GB) Orica-BikeExchange, +3:45
1 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, 75:18:52
2 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, +1:21
3 Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff, +3:43
4 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-BikeExchange, +4:54
5 Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac, +7:12
6 Simon Yates (GB) Orica-BikeExchange, +7:32
7 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana, +10:01
8 Daniel Moreno (Esp) Movistar, +10:07
9 David de la Cruz (Esp) Etixx - Quick-Step, +10:11
10 Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac, +11:14