Austrian rider Stefan Denifl has taken an incredible win on today’s 17th stage of the Vuelta a Espana from Villadiego to Los Machucos. Monumento Vaca Pasiega. The result marks not only the first Grand Tour stage win for the Austrian rider, but also the first Grand Tour stage win for the Aqua Blue Sport team.

Denifl had been part of an early breakaway which had broken clear early on on the 180-kilometre stage.

On the incredibly steep summit finish to Los Machucos, the break split up and Denifl forged on alone. It looked for a time that previous Vuelta winner Alberto Contador might catch him as he made inroads on Denifl’s lead on the final climb.

However, Denifl hung on and he crossed the line 28 seconds clear of Contador for the biggest win of his career. This win follows on from his victory at the International Österreich-Rundfahrt-Tour of Austria earlier this season.

The result caps off an incredibly successful race for the Aqua Blue Sport team, where they have faced some major difficulties on their debut Grand Tour including their US champion Larry Warbasse crashing out and their team bus being burned out.

More on this later.

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