Team Sky’s Chris Froome extended his overall lead at the Vuelta a Espana after taking a stage victory in Tuesday’s 40km Individual Time Trial,
Froome now leads Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali by 1 minute 58 seconds, with the race entering the final stages before ending in Madrid on Sunday.
Froome had earmarked the time trial as being crucial to his ambitions of overall victory, and he took the opportunity to take time from all of his rivals with a perfectly paced ride over a largely flat and straight course.
He is aiming to become only the third rider ever to claim an historic Tour de France / Vuelta a Espana ‘double’, and the first rider to do it after the Vuelta moved in the race calendar to become the last of the season’s Grand Tours.
“I was riding at the speed I felt best,” said Froome afterwards. “I wasn’t really getting that many time checks from the car, so I didn’t really know where I was. I was a bit worried coming into the last 6 or 7 kilometres but then I found out I was on track to fight for the stage.
“To extend my lead now and to be in this position with 4 big days of racing left now is obviously a great position to be in, but I am going to take it one day at a time.
“I want to say a massive thank you to the support team at Team Sky. That support structure and being able to focus on the job in hand is a huge part of what I’m able to do.
Looking ahead to the rest of the week, Froome said: “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
“Tomorrow will be brutal. Absolutely brutal. From what I can see the final climb is a wall, so it will be a big GC battle”.