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Vuelta a Espana 2017: Chris Froome takes revenge on Stage 9 on the Cumbre del Sol

Joe Robinson
27 Aug 2017

Chris Froome takes the summit finish at Cumbre del Sol extending his overall lead

Chris Froome (Team Sky) managed to outclimb his rivals to take Stage 9 of the Vuelta a Espana on the Cumbre del Sol extending his lead of the Vuelta a Espana. 

With 600 metres to go, Froome launched an attack that only Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) and Michael Woods (Cannondale-Drapac) could follow. Despite the best efforts of Chaves, Froome was able to dig deep to take the stage victory.

The win extends Froome's overall lead in the race to 36 seconds as the Vuelta enters its first rest day. Chaves also extends solidifies his second place, managing to steal seconds from the fellow General Classification rivals.  

The tale of the stage 

News filtered through last night of the financial uncertainty surrounding Cannondale-Drapac next year. As things stand, the American WorldTour side will not continue next season unless they manage to secure $7million towards their team budget. 

That made it no surprise that when live coverage of Stage 9 of the Vuelta a Espana hit our screens, the men in argyle were amassed at the front of the peloton. In a show of resilience, all nine riders sat on the front driving the main bunch. 

This stage was the first summit finish of this year's Vuelta with the 174km route taking the riders from Orihuela to Cumbre del Sol. The final climb is only 4km long yet has an average gradient of 9.1% maxing out at 21%. 

The last time the race visited this climb, Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) made his name in General Classification racing, taking the victory on the summit. He managed to outsprint Chris Froome to take the stage and the red jersey. 

The day saw a medium sized break form with a mixture of teams. Of the ten men up the road, notable escapees included Marc Soler (Movistar) and Connor Dunne (Aqua Blue Sport). 

The conviction of the Cannondale riders meant the break were never able to establish a sizeable gap. The peloton were within two minutes of the lead riders with 50km remaining. 

With 36km left, Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) decided to test his legs, nipping off the front of the bunch as the gap to the break dropped. However the Frenchman's attack was in vain, being drawn back in as quickly as he had gone off the front. 

With 10 miles left, only Tobias Ludvigsson (FDJ) and Marc Soler (Movistar) remained out front with the air of an inevitable catch looming. Cannondale's constant fixture at the front of affiars remainedwith Team Sky and Trek-Segafredo joining the party.

As they hit the final climb, all the teams with General Classification interests took to the front with Sky, Team Sunweb and Bahrian-Merida extra prevalent. As they hit the base, Team Sky pushed on, setting a fast pace stringing out the peloton. 

The early slopes of the climb saw the bunch reduce quickly, leaving just the best climbers. Bardet decided to roll the dice for victory with Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors). Team Sky continued a steady pace through Gianni Moscon and Mikel Nieve. 

With 2km remaining the GC group had thinned to less than 15, composed primarily of overall contenders. 

Vuelta a Espana 2017 Stage 9: Orihuela - Cumbre del Sol 174km, result

1. Chris Froome (GBR) Team Sky, 4:07:13
2. Esteban Chaves (COL) Orica-Scott, at 0:04
3. Michael Woods (CAN) Cannondale-Drapac, at 0:05
4. Wilco Kelderman (NED) Team Sunweb, at 0:08
5. Ilnur Zakarin (RUS) Katusha Alpecin, at same time 
6. Alberto Contador (ESP) Trek-Segafredo, at 0:12
7. David De La Cruz (ESP) Quick-Step Floors, at st
8. Sam Oomen (NED) Team Sunweb, at st
9. Nicolas Roche (IRL) BMC Racing, at 0:14
10. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) Bahrain-Merida, at st

Vuelta a Espana 2017: General Classification after Stage 9

1. Chris Froome (GBR) Team Sky, 36:33:16
2. Esteban Chaves (COL) Orica-Scott, at 0:36
3. Nicolas Roche (IRL) BMC Racing, at 1:05
4. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) Bahrain-Merida, at 1:17
5. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing, at 1:27
6. David De La Cruz (ESP) Quick-Step Floors, at 1:30
7. Fabio Aru (ITA) Astana, at 1:33
8. Michael Woods (CAN) Cannondale-Drapac, at 1:52
9. Adam Yates (GBR) Orica-Scott, at 1:55
10. Ilnur Zakarin (RUS) Katusha Alpecin, at 2:15