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Dublin: 3 °C Monday 21 January, 2019

Chris Froome in irresistible form as he stretches Vuelta lead with stunning time trial win

He’s pushed almost two minutes ahead as he claimed his second stage victory.

Image: Adam Davy

CHRIS FROOME PRODUCED a stunning performance on stage 16 of the Vuelta a Espana to almost double his lead in the general classification.

Only one rider got within 57 seconds of the Team Sky man in Tuesday’s individual time trial, as Froome’s GC lead over Vincenzo Nibali stretched to one minute and 58 seconds.

The Team Sky rider completed the 40.2-kilometre route in 47 minutes, with Wilco Kelderman 29 seconds slower in second to leapfrog Ilnur Zakarin into third overall.

Nibali finished third, three seconds short of a minute off Froome’s time, and the Briton now looks well on course to complete a Tour de France and Vuelta double, becoming only the third man to do so.

The victory is Froome’s second of this year’s Vuelta, having also triumphed on stage nine atop the steep finish at La Cumbre del Sol.

Despite the emphatic nature of the win, Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford played down its significance.

“No surprises, everybody was pretty much where you expect to them be,” he said. “We can tick that one off, turn the page and get back into the steep hills.

“It will be interesting, a lot of the guys didn’t go full in the time trial, so it will be interesting to see how they go.”

Stage result:

1. Chris Froome (Team Sky) 47:00
2. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +00:29
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) + 00:57
4. Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) +00:59
5. Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) +00:59

General classification:

1. Chris Froome (Team Sky) 62:53:25
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) +01:58
3. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +02:40

Points classification:

1. Chris Froome (Team Sky) 135 pts
2. Matteo Trentin (Quick-Step Floors) 108 pts
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) 104 pts

King of the mountains:

1. Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac) 49 pts
2. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) 41 pts
3. Chris Froome (Team Sky) 29 pts

Up next…

Next up for the riders is a gruelling 108.5km mountain stage from Villadiego that finishes atop Los Machucos – a climb Froome described as “a wall” after his win on Tuesday. The Briton will hope to neutralise any attacks on that climb as the Vuelta begins its final approach to Madrid.

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