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Majka climbs to Stage 14 Vuelta victory

05 September 2017

Chris Froome increased his overall lead on another tough day in the mountains at the Vuelta a Espana as Miguel Angel Lopez impressively won stage 15.

Polish rider Rafal Majka took the stage by an impressive margin of 27 seconds, picking up his first win at La Vuelta to go with three stage victories at the Tour de France, where he was King of the Mountains in 2014 and previous year.

Vincenzo Nibali is still 59 seconds behind Froome in second place, followed by Esteban Chaves.

Adam Yates, the British rider on Orica-Scott, had raised hopes of a stage victory with a solo attack but he was overhauled on the monster 28-kilometre final climb by Lopez and although he tried to fix himself to the Colombian's wheel, he... "Now I'm just so happy, not because I won, but for my teammates", Majka said. I felt good form the beginning, I was climbing easy.

Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) was second and Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) finished third.

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He spearheaded the game-tying drive with long passes to Ka'Raun White and Gary Jennings before another scoring strike to Sills. WVU kept the ball mostly on the ground for the remainder of the 10-play drive, but used Grier's arm in key spots.

Nibali came third to take the four bonus seconds off Froome, who was just behind the Italian in fourth.

Froome had bad memories of last year's Vuelta stage 15, when Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) and eventual victor Nairo Quintana (Movistar) attacked from the starting gun, leaving the now four-time Tour de France victor isolated from his team and wrecking his bid to win the overall race.

Froome, whose overall lead over Nibali is now 1:01, paid tribute to his team mates, especially Mikel Nieve and Wout Poels who shut down unsafe moves by Alberto Contador [Trek-Segafredo] and Nibali.

"It is never easy, it is nerve racking to defend the jersey sometimes but I have been a part of a really great team here". Niki Terpstra drove the pace with 3 kilometres to go, as the race's main favourites made it into the "same time zone", and he pulled off to let Bob Jungels drive the field. The 15th stage is a 129.4-kilometer (80.4-mile) ride over two category-one climbs before a special-category finish at Alta Hoya de la Mora.

There are five more stages after that, with the race due to finish in Madrid next Sunday (September 10).

Majka climbs to Stage 14 Vuelta victory