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Froome wins stage, Cobo keeps Vuelta lead

Froome wins stage, Cobo keeps Vuelta lead

British rider Christopher Froome won the 17th stage of the Vuelta on Wednesday, beating overall leader Juan Jose Cobo in a back-and-forth duel on a grueling final uphill climb.
Froome pushed ahead of Cobo in the last meters (yards) of the 211-kilometer (131-mile) mountain course to finish the stage in 4 hours, 52 minutes, 38 seconds. The Spanish rider was just 1 second behind.
The Kenyan-born Froome began the Vuelta supporting Sky teammate Bradley Wiggins, but now the 26-year-old cyclist has a shot at his first race title after reducing Cobo's lead to 13 seconds.
Froome said that with the Vuelta in its final week he knew the day's stage was one of his last chances to position himself with a chance to win.
"It was indescribable. It was one of the hardest days on a bicycle of my life," Froome said. "It was one of the last mountain top finishes, but Cobo was extremely strong today and held on to the leader's jersey."
Cobo, a native of the local Cantabria region, maintained the overall leader's jersey for the third straight day.
"I suffered a lot, I thought there was a moment I could lose the lead," Cobo said. "I fell behind and didn't know if I could catch up, but at the end I was able to get the energy from I don't know where."
The recent mountain stages have shed the other contenders. Wiggins is now 1 minute, 41 seconds back, and defending champion Vicenzo Nibali is 4 minutes, 31 seconds off Cobo's pace.
Thursday's 18th stage is a 174.6-kilometer (108.5-mile) ride from Solares to the Atlantic coastal town of Noja.
The 21-stage race then returns to the Basque country for the first time in 33 years before closing in Madrid on Sunday.
"They are going to be tough stages," Cobo said. "But we are going to try to hold on until Madrid."


Updated : 2021-06-16 18:01 GMT+08:00