MADRID (Reuters) – Vuelta a Espana overall leader Chris Froome lost a huge chunk of his advantage on stage 17’s steep final climb, with Austrian Stefan Denifl showing grit to win on Wednesday.
Britain’s Team Sky rider Froome struggled on the special category climb to Alto de los Machucos, with Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali cutting his overall lead by 42 seconds to 1:16.
Veteran Spanish rider Alberto Contador came in second, clawing back over a minute on Froome to keep the race for the red jersey alive, after the Briton’s impressive time trial performance on Tuesday seemed to have ended it.
Aqua Blue Sport rider Denifl beat Contador by 28 seconds on the 180.5km run from Villadiego to Los Machucos in dangerous misty conditions with limited visibility.
Reporting by Rik Sharma; Editing by Ken Ferris