Chris Froome takes emphatic time trial victory on Vuelta a España stage 16 to extend overall lead
Race leader Froome beat Wilco Kelderman on the 40.2km time trial to take his second stage victory of the Vuelta a España
Froome beat Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) by 29 seconds to take the stage, with second place overall Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) losing ground at 57 seconds behind.
It means that Froome’s overall lead to Nibali stretched to 1-58 with five stages remaining, while third placed Kelderman is at 2-40.
There were some big losers in the 40.2km time trial from the top-10 in GC though, with Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) dropping from fourth to ninth overall after conceding 4-01 to Froome on the day.
Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) put in a vintage performance to improve his standing overall, taking fifth on the stage and moving to fourth overall at 4-58.
How it happened
Young rider Lennard Kämna (Sunweb) set an early benchmark time of 48-30-94 (48.732km/h), holding the hotseat for around 40 minutes before Tobias Ludvigsson (FDJ) came through at 48-07-71 (50.128km/h).
He wasn’t challenged properly until the riders from the top-10 in GC began to set off on the course from Circuito de Navarra to Logroño.
Alberto Contador started brightly, going through the first checkpoint five seconds better than the fastest time with fourth placed Wilco Kelderman doing the same shortly after.
Race leader Chris Froome made a slow start, going 23 seconds down through the first intermediate as Contador continued to keep the pace, going four seconds than the fastest time through the second intermediate checkpoint.
Meanwhile, Wilco Kelderman continued his strong ride, posting 27 seconds up on Spaniard’s fastest time at the second intermediate checkpoint.
Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) appeared to be losing time, going 30 seconds slower than Kelderman through the second intermediate, as Froome markedly improved his standing by going seven seconds up on Kelderman at the second check, demonstrating he was on top time trialling form.
Contador was able to set the fastest time at the finish while the main GC contenders continued on the course, finishing eight seconds up on the time of Swede Ludvigsson, before Kelderman finished off his storming ride by going 30 seconds faster.
The next rider through the finish was Esteban Chaves, who expectedly lost a heap of time, 3-32 down on Kelderman.
Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) then moved into second behind the Dutch leader, just ahead of Contador, before Nibali took over that spot with a 28 second deficit.
But none of them could compete with Froome, who continued to increase the pace through the second half of the course and finished with a time of 47-00-51, (51.310km/h) 29 seconds ahead of Kelderman.
The four-time Tour de France champion now leads the Vuelta by 1-58 over second place Nibali with five stages remaining, while Kelderman moves into third at 2-40 with Zakarin down in 3-07.
The Vuelta continues on Wednesday with a difficult 180.5km mountain stage from Villadiego to Los Machucos. Monumento Vaca Pasiega, that finished on a especial category climb.
Vuelta a España 2017, stage 16: Circuito de Navarra to Logroño (40.2km)
1 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky 47-00-51
2 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb, at 29s
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida, at 57s
4 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin, at 59s
5 Alberto Contador (Esp) Trek-Segafredo st
6 Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) FDJ, at 1-07
7 Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky, at 1-11
8 Lennard Kämna (Ger) Team Sunweb, at 1-30
9 Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors, at 1-41
10 Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team, at 1-49
General classification after stage 16
1 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky, in 62-53-25
2 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida, at 1-58
3 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb, 2-40
4 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin, 3-07
5 Alberto Contador (Esp) Trek-Segafredo, at 4-58
6 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team, at 5-25
7 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team, at 6-27
8 Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky, at 6-33
9 Johan Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-Scott, at 6-40
10 Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac, at 7-06