Fabio Aru won stage 18 of this year’s Vuelta a Espana today, after outsprinting Chris Froome (Team Sky) on the final climb of the Monte Castrove en Meis.
Aru was the first rider to jump clear in the closing moments of today’s stage, followed by Froome.
Froome did most of the pace setting for the duo in the closing meters of the stage. However, Aru managed to surge past the British rider just shy of the finish line to seize the win.
Meanwhile, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Alberto Contador and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) crossed the finish line a further 13 seconds later.
Contador continues to lead the race, however, Froome is now in second place at 1:19 behind, with Valverde falling to third.
Today’s stage saw numerous attacks and breakaway attempts in the early part of the race. However, it wasn’t until 47 kilometer mark, that the day’s first breakaway group came together – featuring Johan Le Bon (FDJ.fr), Luis Leon Sanchez (Caja Rural) and Hubert Dupont (Ag2r-La Mondiale). And, from there, the trio went on to establish a four minute advantage over the peloton.
Tinkoff-Saxo and Team Sky led the field up the first climb of the day, wherein Le Bon was the first escapee to be caught. Sanchez in turn took the mountain points, but soon after waited to rejoin the field.
Dupont, who had been joined by Alberto Losado (Astana), continued to remain out front.
Back in the peloton, Team Sky continued the pace setting, with Froome attacking at the last intermediate sprint – subsequently picking up two bonus seconds.
With 7.5 kilometers remaining, Christophe Le Mevel (Cofidis) tried his luck, only to be quickly reeled back in. From there, Contador’s group decided to pull away, leaving Valverde and Froome hurrying to catch up. Contador then decided to make a go of it on his own, only to have his top rivals quickly respond with him.
Jerome Coppel (Cofidis) was the next to attack. However, the French rider failed to create anything more than a 10 second gap.
With 3.8 kilometers remaining, Aru succeeded in riding clear. However, he was subsequently caught and passed by the undeterred Coppel. Daniele Navarro was the next to attack, but his move was brought to a quick end – just as the race entered into the final 3 kilometers.
Rodriguez then attacked, taking Contador, Valverde and Froome with him. And, with just 2.5 kilometers to go, Froome attacked his companions – making his way up to Aru.
Behind, the three Spaniards gave chase, but Froome had already gained 15 seconds, with Aru sitting on his wheel for the duration.
Rodriguez then tried to ride clear of Contador and Valverde, but to no avail.
As the race head into the final kilometer, Aru succeeded in coming around Froome with a final acceleration, that left the British rider out-foxed.
Stage 18 Results ITA 1 ARU, Fabio (ASTANA) 3:47:17 GBR 2 FROOME, Christopher (SKY) + 1 ESP 3 VALVERDE BELMONTE, Alejandro (MOVISTAR) + 13 ESP 4 RODRIGUEZ OLIVER, Joaquin (KATUSHA) ESP 5 CONTADOR VELASCO, Alberto (TINKOFF-SAXO) ESP 6 SANCHEZ GONZALEZ, Samuel (BMC RACING) + 17 ESP 7 NAVARRO GARCIA, Daniel (COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS) + 33 ESP 8 MORENO FERNANDEZ, Daniel (KATUSHA) + 48 ITA 9 CARUSO, Damiano (CANNONDALE) FRA 10 BARGUIL, Warren (GIANT-SHIMANO) ESP 11 PARDILLA BELLON, Sergio (MTN – QHUBEKA) IRL 12 MARTIN, Daniel (GARMIN SHARP) GER 13 NERZ, Dominik (BMC RACING) + 1:12 FRA 14 COPPEL, Jerome (COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS) ESP 15 BILBAO, Peio (CAJA RURAL – SEGUROS RGA) FRA 16 SICARD, Romain (EUROPCAR) ITA 17 CARUSO, Giampaolo (KATUSHA) ESP 18 NIEVE ITURALDE, Mikel (SKY) FRA 19 MEDEREL, Maxime (EUROPCAR) + 1:15 RSA 20 VENTER, Christo (MTN – QHUBEKA) + 1:35 ESP 21 MATE MARDONES, Luis Angel (COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS) + 1:36 SUI 22 ZAUGG, Oliver (TINKOFF-SAXO) + 2:04 BEL 23 MONFORT, Maxime (LOTTO BELISOL) + 2:24 NED 24 KELDERMAN, Wilco (BELKIN) ESP 25 HERNANDEZ BLAZQUEZ, Jesus (TINKOFF-SAXO) + 2:27 FRA 26 LE MEVEL, Christophe (COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS) + 2:45 ITA 27 TIRALONGO, Paolo (ASTANA) + 2:54 POL 28 NIEMIEC, Przemyslaw (LAMPRE – MERIDA) + 3:25 ESP 29 ARROYO DURAN, David (CAJA RURAL – SEGUROS RGA) + 3:32
General Classification after Stage 18 ESP 1 CONTADOR VELASCO, Alberto (TINKOFF-SAXO) 71:38:37 GBR 2 FROOME, Christopher (SKY) + 1:19 ESP 3 VALVERDE BELMONTE, Alejandro (MOVISTAR) + 1:32 ESP 4 RODRIGUEZ OLIVER, Joaquin (KATUSHA) + 2:29 ITA 5 ARU, Fabio (ASTANA) + 3:15 IRL 6 MARTIN, Daniel (GARMIN SHARP) + 6:52 ESP 7 SANCHEZ GONZALEZ, Samuel (BMC RACING) + 6:59 FRA 8 BARGUIL, Warren (GIANT-SHIMANO) + 9:12 ESP 9 NAVARRO GARCIA, Daniel (COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS) + 9:44 ITA 10 CARUSO, Damiano (CANNONDALE) + 9:45 ESP 11 MORENO FERNANDEZ, Daniel (KATUSHA) + 12:49 ESP 12 NIEVE ITURALDE, Mikel (SKY) + 14:15 FRA 13 SICARD, Romain (EUROPCAR) + 18:15 NED 14 KELDERMAN, Wilco (BELKIN) + 20:05 ITA 15 CARUSO, Giampaolo (KATUSHA) + 21:55
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