Vuelta a Espana 2017 : Stage 9 – Froome takes the stage, extends his lead

It was a day of mixed emotions in the peloton for Stage 9 of Vuelta 2017, what with the announcement surrounding the financial woes of Cannondale-Drapac. That, plus the fact that nothing was going to happen in the stage until the very end, made it a bit of a subdued day. In the end, Chris Froome proved that he has finished the first week of the Vuelta as the strongest rider by outsprinting Esteban Chaves and Michael Woods to take his first grand tour stage win in 2017. He extends his lead to 36sec over Chaves and 1:05 over third placed Nico Roche.

Rider(s) of the Race

Professional cycling is precarious at best, but this morning we woke to the news that unless Cannondale-Drapac can find $7 million to make up for a shortfall in funding for 2018, the team will have to fold – putting anyone who doesn’t find another team without a contract by the end of the season. So it was bittersweet to see the entire Cannondale team riding tempo on the front of the peloton for the majority of the stage. Michael Woods had a good day yesterday so not only was the team making a point of pride, but they were also working to set up Woods for the stage win. In the final few hundred metres, Woods was at the sharp end, contesting a top three place with Chris Froome and Esteban Chaves. Because of the time splits and the bonus points, Woods has moved up one place in the GC to 8th. It might not have been the win everyone hoped for, but it was a ride filled with argyle heart from start to finish.

How the week ended

The first week of the Vuelta picked up where the Tour de France left over, with Team Sky dictating the pace, protecting Chris Froome and making sure any attacks were always answered. And it ended with Froome winning his first grand tour stage of the season. Showing no appetite to let the red jersey leave his shoulders, Froome has shown his strength while matching Alberto Contador‘s attacks – the rider who has consistently challenged the status quo this week. It’s been a tough week and the next two will only get tougher. Time will tell whether Sky can continue to keep the race out of reach.

Results

Top 5 stage 

1 Chris Froome (Sky) 4:07:13

2 Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) +0:04

3 Michael Woods (Cannondale-Drapac) +0.05

4 Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) +0:08

5 Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) +0:08

Top 5 GC 

1 Chris Froome  (Sky) 36:33:16

2 Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) +0:36

3 Nicolas Roche (BMC) +1:05

4 Vicenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) +1:17

5 Tejay van Garderen (BMC) +1:27

All the jerseys

Leader: Chris Froome (Sky)

Points: Chris Froome (Sky)

KOM: Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac)

Combined: Chris Froome (Sky)

Team Classification: Movistar

Most Aggressive Rider: Marc Soler (Movistar)

For race reviews, go to CyclingNews; official La Vuelta website is here

Header image: Chris Froome ©GETTY/Corbis Sport/Tim de Waele 

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