Roche drops out of contention at Vuelta after Froome crash

The Astana team were the big winners on Stage 11 of the Vuelta a Espana as the challenge from Nicolas Roche and the rest of Team Sky crumbled dramatically.

The toughest stage to ever feature in the Vuelta included six categorised climbs during the 138-kilometre route from Andorra la Vella to Cortals d’Encamp but ultimately ended in an Astana 1-2.

Mikel Landa won the stage, in four hours, 34 minutes and 54 seconds, while team leader Fabio Aru finished second to take control of the overall leader's red jersey - opening-up a 27-second lead from Joaquin Rodriquez.

Giant-Alpecin’s Tom Dumoulin, who went into Wednesday’s stage as the race leader after Tuesday’s rest day, has dropped to third in the general standings and the Dutchman is now 30 seconds adrift of Aru.

Roche drops out of contention at Vuelta after Froome crash

But it was a disastrous day for Chris Froome, who crashed on the first climb of the stage and – despite suffering a cut to his right leg – he was able to finish the highly-demanding stage, which contained six mountain passes.

He ended 15th, seven minutes and 30 seconds behind Aru, and has dropped to 15th overall, seven minutes and 30 seconds behind the new red jersey.

Roche drops out of contention at Vuelta after Froome crash

Roche was one of the Team Sky riders who was deployed to try and nurse the Tour de France winner to the finish-line, but he also struggled today and ultimately finished over 14 minutes down on the road - dropping from 4th to 22nd overall in the GC.

Meanwhile, Portuguese rider Sergio Paulinho was forced to quit the race following a collision with a television motorcycle, which left him needing 17 stitches in his leg.

It was the second such incident in this year's race after Paulinho's team-mate Peter Sagan was also forced to withdraw last week, which has prompted the Saxo-Tinkoff owner to threaten to withdraw his team from the rest of this year's Vuelta.

Thursday’s 12th stage is a 173-kilometre ride from Escaldes-Engordany to Lleida.

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