Froome retains Vuelta red jersey

Cycling: Froome cedes ground to Nibali in difficult stage

However, Froome is bearing down on a historic feat as only the third rider to win the Tour de France and Vuelta in the same year, with just one week to go till the finale in Madrid.

Nibali and Alberto Contador had attempted to gain some time on Tour de France champion Froome on the final ascent but were not able to put any significant distance between themselves and the red jersey holder, Nibali visibly frustrated with what he believed to be a lack of effort from the Spaniard. Lopez then set off on his own to pass breakaway rider Adam Yates and power his way to the summit finish at Alto Hoya de la Mora.

Froome pulled away from his rivals on the Puig Llorenca climb to win the stage by four seconds, and by adding bonus seconds he led by 36 seconds overall at that point.

The fight to get into the break at the Vuelta has normally been one that's taken hours and well over 50 kilometres, but the escape today went early and quite simply.

Froome crossed the line six seconds ahead of Nibali, who finished seventh.

Cameroon needs four points to qualify for Russian Federation 2018- Hugo Broos
Follow the Nigeria vs Cameroon live stream online: Preview, build-up and minute-by-minute coverage . His presence alone is a great boost to the team and it will motivate us as well.

"For us it's really just about maintaining the position we have. The Vuelta is not over and we will go forward step by step". "It didn't work out today but I am sure it will in the future".

Froome is trying to win the Vuelta for the first time after finishing the grand tour runner-up on three occasions.

Lopez dominated the last climb of an action-packed day to claim a solo victory ahead of Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) and Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb). "We have seen everything at this Vuelta. crashes, attacks".

Tomorrow is a rest day, and racing resumes on Tuesday (September 5) with a 40.2km time trial from Circuito de Navarra to Logrono.

More brutal climbs await in Sunday's short and steep 129km stage from Alcala la Real to Sierra Nevada with another special category climb to the finish at 2 500m altitude.

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