Froome strengthens Vuelta lead

05 September 2017 21:11:14 GMTPlus11

Chris Froome extended his lead at the Vuelta a Espana with a brilliant win in the Stage 16 time-trial.

The Team Sky rider produced a typically unruffled performance to complete the 40.2km parcours between Circuit de Navarra and Logrono in 47 minutes exactly.

That was good enough to see him finish 29 seconds ahead of Team Sunweb's Wilco Kelderman, with Bahrain-Merida's Vincenzo Nibali third at 57 seconds.

Second place Nibali now sits a minute and 58 seconds behind Froome, while Kelderman's performance was enough to see him leapfrog Katusha-Alpecin's Ilnur Zakarin for a place on the podium.

It means with five days to go, the Brit looks on course to win his maiden Vuelta crown and in the meantime become the first man to win both the Tour de France and the Spanish equivalent in the same year since Bernard Hinault in 1978.

Tuesday's win was the 32-year-old's second stage victory of this year's race and he will be confident of his chances of maintaining his place atop the podium come Sunday evening in Madrid.

Despite his advantage on general classification, Sky boss Dave Brailsford insists the Kenyan-born rider still has plenty of work to do.

"The course suited him [Froome] but you still have to time it well and he showed again why he is considered to be one of the world's best time triallists today," Brailsford told Eurosport.

"But there are still some really hard stages coming up, the climbs are so steep and intense that there is no time to relax. It's a difficult day tomorrow, and for the guys who went full today, we'll see how that impacts on them."

Meanwhile, world champion Peter Sagan is 11/4 to defend his title later this month, while 2014 winner Michal Kwiatowski is 15/2.

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