Vuelta 2017: Armée climbs to glory in stage 18, Froome cements overall lead

The 18th stage of La Vuelta offers four climbs in the last 60 kilometres. The race ends with a summit finish at Santo Toribio de Liébana. Attacker Sander Armée solos to victory in the steep last kilometres, while Chris Froome puts time into Vincenzo Nibali to extend his overall lead. (Slideshow route/profile)

Results 18th stage 2017 Vuelta

1. Sander Armée (bel)
2. Alexey Lutsenko (Kas) + 0.31
3. Giovanni Visconti (ita) + 0.46
4. Alexis Gougeard (fra) + 1.02
5. José Joaquin Rojas (spa) + 1.06
6. Alessandro De Marchi (ita) + 1.19
7. Matteo Trentin (ita) + 1.21
8. Sergio Pardilla (spa) s.t.
9. Antwan Tolhoek (nld) + 1.38
10. Anthony Roux (fra) + 1.42

20. Fabio Aru (ita) + 9.56
21. Alberto Contador (spa) + 10.08
22. Michael Woods (can) s.t.
23. Chris Froome (gbr) s.t.
24. Wilco Kelderman (nld) + 10.12
25. Ilnur Zakarin (rus) s.t.
26. Wout Poels (nld) + 10.15
27. Steven Kruijswijk (nld) + 10.21
28. Vincenzo Nibali (ita) + 10.29
29. David de la Cruz (spa) s.t.
30. Louis Meintjes (rsa) + 10.37
31. Miguel Ángel López (col) + 10.45
34. Tejay van Garderen (usa) + 10.54

GC after the 18th stage
1. Chris Froome (gbr)
2. Vincenzo Nibali (ita) + 1.37
3. Wilco Kelderman (nld) + 2.17
4. Ilnur Zakarin (rus) + 2.29
5. Alberto Contador (spa) + 3.34
6. Miguel Ángel López (col) + 5.16
7. Michael Woods (can) + 6.33
8. Fabio Aru (ita) s.t.
9. Wout Poels (nld) + 6.47
10. Steven Kruijswijk (nld) + 10.26

11. David de la Cruz (spa) + 10.31
12. Esteban Chaves (col) + 11.57
13. Tejay van Garderen (usa) + 12.06
14. Louis Meintjes (rsa) + 13.32

Race report
Once the flag is dropped, the attacks are flying. But it takes a while before twenty riders open a gap. At km 58 Julian Alaphilippe, Matteo Trentin, Alessandro De Marchi, Magnus Cort, Nelson Oliveira, Marc Soler, Patrick Konrad, Clément Chevrier, Alexis Gougeard, Toms Skujins, Antwan Tolhoek, Matej Mohoric, Alexey Lutsenko, Sander Armée, Giovanni Visconti, Jérémy Maison, Anthony Roux, Stéphane Rossetto, Sergio Pardilla and Aldemar Reyes leave the peloton behind and they crest the first climb, Collada de Carmona, with a lead of more than 13 minutes.

On the Collada de Ozalba Katusha accelerates in the peloton to bring the gap down to 11 minutes. Chaves and the Yates-brothers are dropped and they are not the only ones. Merely twenty riders left in the main group. Then Sánchez attacks and Contador, Aru and Woods rejoin him. Aru pushes on alone.

Armée and Gougeard leave their fellow-attackers behind on the Collada de la Hoz, while Soler and Alaphilippe chase them down to crest the summit with four. Aru is 9 minutes down on them, the main group follows at 10 minutes. De la Cruz, Contador and López go after Aru, but they are brought back.

On descent, Lutsenko, Visconti, De Marchi and Rojas rejoin the front group. With 12 kms left Armée accelerates with only Lutsenko and Alaphilippe on his wheel.

Armée speeds up again with 4 kms to go. Only Lutsenko is able to follow. Visconti comes closer in the last km, but he is no threat to the Belgium. Armée accelerates to climb to victory ahead of Lutsenko.

Aru hits the closing climb 1’20” before the main group, but the gain mostly evaporates on the steep inclinations to the monastery. After yesterday’s offday Froome resurfaces with a an attack in the final kilometre to distance Nibali. Froome crosses the line 21 seconds ahead of the Italian, while both Kelderman and Zakarin lose 4 seconds to the red jersey.

Read also: route 18th stage 2017 Vuelta.

Vuelta 2017 stage 18: Route maps, height profiles, and more

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