Sports Digest: Froome extends lead at Spanish Vuelta

Cycling: Froome cedes ground to Nibali in difficult stage

Colombian rider Miguel Angel Lopez won the mountainous 15th stage of the Spanish Vuelta on Sunday, while Tour de France victor Chris Froome tacked a few seconds onto his overall lead.

Froome, who is bidding to become only the third rider to win La Vuelta and the Tour de France in the same year, crossed the line 31 seconds down on the Polish rider after the 175km stage.

Earlier in the weekend Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe) took his first-ever Vuelta stage victory, arriving solo at the uphill finish in Sierra de La Pandera, ahead of Lopez and Nibali.

"I tried my best so I can't be disappointed with that", he said.

Froome countered Vincenzo Nibali's move on the final climb and widened his advantage over him by six seconds.

"When Alberto Contador, Nibali and Chaves kicked on there with 4-5km to go we knew it was a long way to go, with over 10 minutes still of climbing", Froome told Team Sky's official website.

Italian Trentin counted on the support of his reliable Quick-Step team, who picked up their fifth stage win of the race and a 15th triumph overall in grand tours this season, five in each of La Vuelta, the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia.

Russia's Ilnur Zakarin moved up to third overall by finishing second behind Lopez, 36 seconds off the pace, with Wilco Kelderman third on the 129.4km ride from Alcala la Real. 'It's incredible. The race is not over for the team.

"I nearly got to go home", explained the Polish suffering during the first week.

"If anyone had said to me this would be the situation going into the second rest day I would have definitely taken that. It didn't work out today but I am sure it will in the future".

"Anything can happen", warned the Spanish (8th in 3 minutes and 19 seconds), at which it remains, "seven days of cycling in the legs" before retiring on the evening of the final stage, the 10 September in Madrid.

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