Chris Froome won yesterday’s 11th stage as the Vuelta a Espana resumed following Tuesday’s rest day.
The 31-year-old Team Sky rider won the 168.6km stage from Colunga to Pena Cabarga, which concluded atop a steep 6km climb.
Five years after winning on the same ascent in the 2011 Vuelta, three-time Tour de France champion Froome accelerated clear to win ahead of Nairo Quintana (Movistar), who retained the overall lead.
Colombia’s Quintana now has a 54-second advantage over Froome, who has climbed up to second place.
Froome, bronze medallist in the time trial at the Olympics in Rio, was delighted to have won the stage, conquering the same peak that he also won in the 2011 Vuelta, where he finished second.
The 31-year-old, who is looking to clinch a Tour and Vuelta double, told Spanish TV: “I had special memories from 2011. It’s an incredible feeling. Quintana is really strong at the moment. He has the leader’s jersey. I’m just trying to do as much as I can day by day. Obviously I can get closer to him.
“After the season I’ve had, it’s a bit tough at the moment so I want to thank my team mates and my family for the support.”
Quintana told Spanish station TVE: “Froome was faster than I was at the end. I keep thinking he is very strong and we will have to be careful because we have difficult stages ahead.”
Following Tuesday’s rest day, the 168.6km ride race, which started in Colunga, began at a high pace, with the average speed in the opening two hours at 46.6km/h.
Spain’s Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) had been second overall, but dropped to third, and is now 1:05 minutes behind.
Colombia’s Esteban Chaves (Orica-Bike Exchange) is fourth, 2:34 behind.
Briton Simon Yates (Orica-Bike Exchange) was sixth on the stage and is seventh overall, 3:25 behind Quintana.
Today’s 12th stage is the 193.2km undulating route from Los Corrales de Buelna to Bilbao.
The Vuelta a Espana finishes on September 11 in Madrid.
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