Vuelta a Espana: Miguel Angel Lopez nabs stage 11

Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) claimed victory at Calar Alto after a stinging late attack to drop the major GC contenders. Race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky) did his best to bring back the Colombian but Lopez proved too strong on the day.

Froome had to settle for second place on the day, taking the bonus seconds with it, with Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) coming home behind him for third place. Froome’s closest challengers in the overall classification, Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) and Nicolas Roche (BMC Racing) lost large amounts of time, with Chaves crossing the line well over a minute behind Froome and his companions.

Froome has thus extended his overall lead with Nibali now in second place at 1:13 back from the Team Sky rider. Chaves clung to his podium place, now at 2:33, while Roche slipped right out of the top 10.

It had been described as a medium mountain stage, but the final ascent to the Observatorio Astronomico de Calar Alto would cause fissures in the overall standings. The early part of the climb was taken at a steady pace, but an attack from Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) inside the final 10 kilometres saw Chaves, Roche and Fabio Aru (Astana) shelled out the back.

His team leader may have been struggling behind but Astana allowed Lopez to tag along with the GC contenders, sitting comfortably in the group as Bahrain-Merida upped the tempo.

Perhaps sensing some weakness in Froome, Nibali made the first real attacking effort in the final two kilometres. Lopez was the first to make the juncture and as Froome approached he surged again. Froome battled back up towards the Colombian, but realised that he would likely lose more than he would gain as Lopez charged again. Lopez eventually broke free, crossing the line some 14 seconds before his chasers and would move into the top 10 overall.

How it happened

When it rains it pours, or so goes the saying, and that was the case at the Vuelta a Espana. After a wet introduction to the second week, the rain continued to drench the peloton on stage 11. It would be a day of two halves for the riders with a relatively flat opening section contrasted by a brutal run of two first category climbs to end the day.

Stage 8 winner Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) opened the attacking, but he would not be among the 14 that finally moved clear after 40 kilometres of racing. A mixture of rouleurs and strong climbers formed the breakaway, including Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) and Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors). Alessandro De Marchi (BMC), Antonio Pedrero (Movistar), Lennard Hofstede (Sunweb), Simon Clarke (Cannondale-Drapac), Antwan Tolhoek (LottoNL-Jumbo), Matej Mohoric (UAE Team Emirates), Sander Armée (Lotto Soudal), Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida), Igor Anton (Dimension Data), David Arroyo (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Conor Dunne (Aqua Blue Sport) and Aldemar Reyes (Manzana Postobon) completed the group.

The break's advantage would close in on the five-minute mark at the halfway point, but it would be allowed to go no further. Team Sky kept up their end of the bargain, managing the pace in the peloton for race leader Froome. Orica-Scott pitched in too and as the race approached the first climb of the day the gap would be cut to 2:30.

Form and skill set was immediately apparent as the break began the climb, with several riders shot out the back almost as soon as the road went upwards. Well down in the classification after a difficult opening week, Bardet set a punishing pace on the climb. Armee, Anton, Jungels, Tolhoek and Reyes initially came with him but that would be whittled down as the altitude increased.

The gap severely diminished, Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) saw his opportunity to strike out from the peloton. With Esteban Chaves and his brother Adam the biggest threats from the Orica-Scott team in the overall classification, Simon was allowed to ride clear. By the time Yates made it to the front, the complexion had changed with Bardet, Armee and Visconti now leading the way. Darwin Atapuma (UAE Team Emirates) would soon join the leaders over the top, while Armee was dropped as he picked his way down the twisting descent, losing almost a minute to his companions.

The climb up Calar Alto

Yates and Bardet were the driving force on the descent and by the time they hit the final climb, the advantage over the peloton had pushed past the two-minute mark once again. Having looked like it would be a GC day, the breakaway seemed like it stood a shot at contesting the victory. Although Visconti was out of the picture after also getting distanced on the descent.

Yates would be the next to lose contact as Bardet and Atapuma forged clear with 13 kilometres to go. Meanwhile, Team Sky and Bahrain-Merida drove the pace at the front of the peloton, gradually reducing the numbers as the metres ticked by with Froome looming close to the front throughout. The status quo remained for some time until Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) decided to launch a speculative attack, soon to be joined by Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida). The pair would be brought back but it would do some serious damage, dropping Froome's closest rivals Chaves and Nicolas Roche (BMC Racing). Fabio Aru (Astana) would also find himself in trouble.

Froome stuck to the back of the group as his teammates and Bahrain-Merida chomped into the advantage of the two leaders. With eight kilometres remaining, they were just 15 seconds back while Chaves toiled at a minute behind. Franco Pellizotti ground out the high tempo for Bahrain-Merida, finally bringing the remaining escapees to heel with just over seven kilometres to go.

It is hard to tell when Froome is on a bad day, but the race leader did not look overly comfortable under the pace set by Pellizotti, with only Mikel Nieve for company with three kilometres to go. Pellizotti finally moved off the front with 2.5km to go, allowing Nieve to charge forwards. It soon became apparent that Froome was not at his best and Nibali took his chance to attack with two kilometres to the line.

Nibali struggled to snap the elastic as the riders behind scrambled to bring him back. Lopez was the first to do so and Froome also almost made contact when the Astana rider kicked again. Froome once again looked as if he would bring back Lopez but, after glancing over his shoulder, the Colombian pushed clear. The race leader decided to cut his losses and Lopez quickly increased his gap to take a convincing solo victory. Froome and Nibali were next to cross the line with Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb), who had a very good day in the mountains. Chaves fought valiantly, but he would cross the line 2:05 after his compatriot Lopez.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team5:05:09
2Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky0:00:14
3Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 2 - Cell 2
4Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team SunwebRow 3 - Cell 2
5Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:00:31
6Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Trek-SegafredoRow 5 - Cell 2
7Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-AlpecinRow 6 - Cell 2
8Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Team SkyRow 7 - Cell 2
9Darwin Atapuma (Col) UAE Team Emirates0:01:02
10David de la Cruz (Spa) Quick-Step Floors0:01:14
11Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac0:01:17
12Wout Poels (Ned) Team SkyRow 11 - Cell 2
13Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar Team0:01:22
14Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team0:01:32
15Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 14 - Cell 2
16Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 15 - Cell 2
17Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-Scott0:02:05
18Sam Oomen (Ned) Team SunwebRow 17 - Cell 2
19Sergio Pardilla Bellon (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 18 - Cell 2
20Louis Meintjes (RSA) UAE Team EmiratesRow 19 - Cell 2
21Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team0:03:26
22Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Movistar Team0:03:47
23Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team SkyRow 22 - Cell 2
24Jack Haig (Aus) Orica-ScottRow 23 - Cell 2
25Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 24 - Cell 2
26Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Dimension Data0:04:04
27Hernán Aguirre (Col) Manzana PostobonRow 26 - Cell 2
28Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing Team0:04:17
29Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida0:05:19
30Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team0:05:30
31Stefan Denifl (Aut) Aqua Blue Sport0:06:27
32Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida0:07:52
33Hector Sáez Benito (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:07:54
34Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott0:09:13
35Daan Olivier (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:09:32
36Stef Clement (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:10:23
37Koen Bouwman (Ned) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 36 - Cell 2
38Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team0:11:58
39Bernardo Suaza (Col) Manzana PostobonRow 38 - Cell 2
40Antonio Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida0:13:16
41Aldemar Reyes (Col) Manzana Postobon0:13:29
42Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Trek-SegafredoRow 41 - Cell 2
43Matej Mohoric (Slo) UAE Team Emirates0:13:50
44Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ0:17:03
45Floris De Tier (Bel) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:17:20
46Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team SkyRow 45 - Cell 2
47Simon Clarke (Aus) Cannondale-DrapacRow 46 - Cell 2
48Lennard Kämna (Ger) Team SunwebRow 47 - Cell 2
49Peter Stetina (USA) Trek-SegafredoRow 48 - Cell 2
50David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Team SkyRow 49 - Cell 2
51Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors0:17:29
52Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step FloorsRow 51 - Cell 2
53Jesus Hernandez Blazquez (Spa) Trek-Segafredo0:17:33
54Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott0:17:34
55Luis Angel Maté Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:18:24
56Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team0:19:04
57Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) FDJRow 56 - Cell 2
58Fabricio Ferrari (Uru) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 57 - Cell 2
59Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 58 - Cell 2
60Koen de Kort (Ned) Trek-SegafredoRow 59 - Cell 2
61Ricardo Vilela (Por) Manzana PostobonRow 60 - Cell 2
62Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 61 - Cell 2
63Lluís Guillermo Mas Bonet (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 62 - Cell 2
64Hernando Bohórquez (Col) Manzana PostobonRow 63 - Cell 2
65Jaime Roson Garcia (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 64 - Cell 2
66Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Astana Pro TeamRow 65 - Cell 2
67Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 66 - Cell 2
68Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) UAE Team EmiratesRow 67 - Cell 2
69Sergei Chernetckii (Rus) Astana Pro TeamRow 68 - Cell 2
70Nicholas Schultz (Aus) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 69 - Cell 2
71Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 70 - Cell 2
72Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:21:15
73Axel Domont (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 72 - Cell 2
74Fernando Orjuela (Col) Manzana PostobonRow 73 - Cell 2
75Jacques Janse van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension Data0:21:35
76Rubén Fernandez (Spa) Movistar Team0:23:53
77Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Orica-ScottRow 76 - Cell 2
78Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates0:23:55
79Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team0:24:24
80Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:25:15
81Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 80 - Cell 2
82Kilian Frankiny (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 81 - Cell 2
83Domen Novak (Slo) Bahrain-Merida0:26:23
84Juan Felipe Osorio (Col) Manzana Postobon0:26:28
85Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 84 - Cell 2
86Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-SegafredoRow 85 - Cell 2
87Jimmy Turgis (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 86 - Cell 2
88Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Lotto SoudalRow 87 - Cell 2
89Nico Denz (Ger) AG2R La MondialeRow 88 - Cell 2
90Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por) UAE Team EmiratesRow 89 - Cell 2
91Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 90 - Cell 2
92Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale-DrapacRow 91 - Cell 2
93Clement Chevrier (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 92 - Cell 2
94Diego Rosa (Ita) Team SkyRow 93 - Cell 2
95Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 94 - Cell 2
96Diego Rubio (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 95 - Cell 2
97David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 96 - Cell 2
98Omar Fraile Matarranza (Spa) Dimension DataRow 97 - Cell 2
99Brendan Canty (Aus) Cannondale-DrapacRow 98 - Cell 2
100Chad Haga (USA) Team SunwebRow 99 - Cell 2
101Bert-Jan Lindeman (Ned) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 100 - Cell 2
102Jeremy Maison (Fra) FDJRow 101 - Cell 2
103Manuele Boaro (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 102 - Cell 2
104Federico Zurlo (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 103 - Cell 2
105Eros Capecchi (Ita) Quick-Step FloorsRow 104 - Cell 2
106Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team SunwebRow 105 - Cell 2
107Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Katusha-AlpecinRow 106 - Cell 2
108Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-HansgroheRow 107 - Cell 2
109Jetse Bol (Ned) Manzana PostobonRow 108 - Cell 2
110Lennard Hofstede (Ned) Team SunwebRow 109 - Cell 2
111Anthony Turgis (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:26:50
112Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:27:35
113Kenneth Van Bilsen (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:29:02
114Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quick-Step Floors0:29:11
115Enric Mas (Spa) Quick-Step Floors0:29:27
116Juan José Lobato (Spa) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 115 - Cell 2
117Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) FDJ0:29:40
118Joe Dombrowski (USA) Cannondale-Drapac0:29:45
119Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb0:29:56
120Loic Vliegen (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:30:22
121Chris Hamilton (Aus) Team SunwebRow 120 - Cell 2
122Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky0:30:26
123Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Orica-ScottRow 122 - Cell 2
124Toms Skujins (Lat) Cannondale-DrapacRow 123 - Cell 2
125Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky0:31:13
126Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Bora-HansgroheRow 125 - Cell 2
127Magnus Cort (Den) Orica-ScottRow 126 - Cell 2
128Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha-Alpecin0:31:42
129Daniel Hoelgaard (Nor) FDJRow 128 - Cell 2
130Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro TeamRow 129 - Cell 2
131Julien Duval (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 130 - Cell 2
132Ivan Garcia Cortina (Spa) Bahrain-MeridaRow 131 - Cell 2
133Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 132 - Cell 2
134Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Trek-SegafredoRow 133 - Cell 2
135Jorge Arcas (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 134 - Cell 2
136Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 135 - Cell 2
137Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto SoudalRow 136 - Cell 2
138Rafael Reis (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 137 - Cell 2
139Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 138 - Cell 2
140Guillaume Bonnafond (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 139 - Cell 2
141Peter Koning (Ned) Aqua Blue SportRow 140 - Cell 2
142Tim Declercq (Bel) Quick-Step FloorsRow 141 - Cell 2
143Michel Kreder (Ned) Aqua Blue SportRow 142 - Cell 2
144Hugo Houle (Can) AG2R La MondialeRow 143 - Cell 2
145Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step FloorsRow 144 - Cell 2
146Mark Christian (GBr) Aqua Blue SportRow 145 - Cell 2
147Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Aqua Blue SportRow 146 - Cell 2
148Sebastián Molano (Col) Manzana PostobonRow 147 - Cell 2
149Aaron Gate (NZl) Aqua Blue SportRow 148 - Cell 2
150Matvey Mamykin (Rus) Katusha-AlpecinRow 149 - Cell 2
151Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-HansgroheRow 150 - Cell 2
152Nikita Stalnov (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 151 - Cell 2
153Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 152 - Cell 2
154Remy Mertz (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 153 - Cell 2
155Adam Blythe (GBr) Aqua Blue SportRow 154 - Cell 2
156Alexandre Geniez (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 155 - Cell 2
157William Clarke (Aus) Cannondale-DrapacRow 156 - Cell 2
158Conor Dunne (Irl) Aqua Blue SportRow 157 - Cell 2
159Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Cannondale-DrapacRow 158 - Cell 2
160Sacha Modolo (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 159 - Cell 2
161Arnaud Courteille (Fra) FDJRow 160 - Cell 2
162Francisco Ventoso (Spa) BMC Racing TeamRow 161 - Cell 2
163Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-SegafredoRow 162 - Cell 2
164Rein Taaramäe (Est) Katusha-AlpecinRow 163 - Cell 2
165Michael Mørkøv (Den) Katusha-AlpecinRow 164 - Cell 2
166Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 165 - Cell 2
167Svein Tuft (Can) Orica-ScottRow 166 - Cell 2
168Sam Bewley (NZl) Orica-ScottRow 167 - Cell 2
169Thomas Scully (NZl) Cannondale-DrapacRow 168 - Cell 2
170Lachlan Morton (Aus) Dimension DataRow 169 - Cell 2
171Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar Team0:32:11
172Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:32:20
173George Bennett (NZl) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 172 - Cell 2
174Maxim Belkov (Rus) Katusha-AlpecinRow 173 - Cell 2
175Lorrenzo Manzin (Fra) FDJRow 174 - Cell 2
176Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quick-Step Floors0:32:32
177Jelle Wallays (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:32:39
178Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data0:34:13
DNFDomenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La MondialeRow 178 - Cell 2
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Intermediate sprint - Sorbas, km. 103.4
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Matej Mohoric (Slo) UAE Team Emirates4pts
2Simon Clarke (Aus) Cannondale-Drapac2Row 1 - Cell 3
3Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors1Row 2 - Cell 3
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Points
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team25pts
2Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky20Row 1 - Cell 3
3Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida16Row 2 - Cell 3
4Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb14Row 3 - Cell 3
5Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale12Row 4 - Cell 3
6Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Trek-Segafredo10Row 5 - Cell 3
7Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin9Row 6 - Cell 3
8Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Team Sky8Row 7 - Cell 3
9Darwin Atapuma (Col) UAE Team Emirates7Row 8 - Cell 3
10David de la Cruz (Spa) Quick-Step Floors6Row 9 - Cell 3
11Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac5Row 10 - Cell 3
12Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky4Row 11 - Cell 3
13Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar Team3Row 12 - Cell 3
14Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team2Row 13 - Cell 3
15Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team1Row 14 - Cell 3
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Mountain 1 (Cat. 1) Alto de Velefique, km. 157.2
#Rider Name (Country) Team