Froome extends lead but insists La Vuelta ‘race is not over’

Caleb Ewan of Orica Scott after winning stage three of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain from Normanby Hall Country Park to Scunthorpe.
Caleb Ewan of Orica Scott after winning stage three of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain from Normanby Hall Country Park to Scunthorpe.
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Great Britain’s Chris Froome tightened his grip on the overall lead at La Vuelta by coasting to victory in the stage 16 time trial from Circuito de Navarra to Logrono.

The Team Sky rider, who is aiming to become the first person to win the Tour de France and La Vuelta in the same year since 1978, clocked 47 minutes exactly over the 40.2km course.

Froome’s time was almost a full minute faster than nearest rival Vincenzo Nibali, of Bahrain-Merida, who was third.

With five stages left, Froome now leads Italian Nibali by one minute and 58 seconds in the race for the red jersey.

Froome said: “To extend my lead and to be in this position with four big days of racing left is obviously a great position to be in, but I am going to take it one day at a time.

“I’ve got a good buffer but the race is not over.

“I have to keep fighting every day now, but this is one step closer to Madrid.”

Team Sunweb rider Wilco Kelderman, meanwhile, climbed up into the top three of the general classification standings after being closest to Froome in the time trial, some 29 seconds off the pace.

Russian Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) is now fourth, 27 seconds back from Kelderman, as the battle for a podium place in Madrid intensifies, but Fabio Aru (Astana) looks out of contention after only managing 26th place in the time trial.

Caleb Ewan out-sprinted Norwegian pair Edvald Boasson Hagen and Alexander Kristoff to claim his second stage victory in three days in the Tour of Britain in Scunthorpe.

The Orica-Scott star burst from the peloton to seal stage three by half a wheel-length from his nearest rival and add to his win in the opening sprint stage on Sunday.

It proved another eventful day for Boasson Hagen, who was stripped of victory in stage two for irregular sprinting having put on the leader’s green jersey on the podium.

Frenchman Philippe Gilbert (Quick Step Floors) had attempted to take the race out of the sprinters’ hands by charging clear two kilometres from the line, but he was swallowed up in the final 50 metres. Ewan said: “I was a bit disappointed after yesterday, I was boxed in during the sprint so I never got to open up [my sprint].

“Luckily the team still backed me 100 per cent, and we rode like we were going for the win straight from the start.”

Ewan’s stage win means he takes back the overall lead from Team Sky’s Elia Viviani heading into Wednesday’s fourth stage from Mansfield to Newark.