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Vuelta’17 St16: Fantastic Froome!
TT Stage Report: The 2017 Vuelta a España might just have been decided in today's stage 16 on the road to Logroño as Chris Froome put time into everyone. The Sky rider now has nearly two minutes on his closest rival, Vincenzo Nibali after the 40 kilometer time trial. The rest? Their overall hopes have just about faded.

Christopher Froome (Team Sky & GB) proves that you don’t have to be stylish to win big time trials, enhancing his GC lead over 40 kilometers between Navarra and Logroño and making it look even more likely he’ll take the plaudits in Madrid on Sunday; Bert Contador (Trek and Spain) reminds us of his best days with a beautiful ride on the day for fifth to put him into the same spot overall; Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott & Colombia) collapses; Wilko Kelderman (Sunweb & The Netherlands) leapfrogs onto the podium; Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida & Italy) holds the line but not a good day for Michael Woods (Cannondale-Drapac & Canada) or Fabio Aru (Astana & Italy).

A specialist who’s been ‘hiding’ for the last few days or GC man fighting for every second? That's the question, today. Big strong 20 year-old German Lennard Kamna (Sunweb) 48:30 took the hot seat from early leader Daniel Oss (BMC) 48:49, their big frames suited to the flat, fast – but hot - parcours.

The first real chronoman over the hot, smooth tar was Quick-Step’s Luxembourg champion, the impeccably stylish Bob Jungels. Meanwhile FDJ’s Swedish champion Tobias Ludvigsson’s 48:07 sees him go top then collapse on the tarmac after it – small wonder, he was turning a 58 chain ring. Stef Clement ‘de-ramps’ - as Carlton Kirby would have it – a former Worlds TT medallist, Clement that is. . .

Not a good day for Romain Bardet

Bardet drops it, pride more than anything hurt. Froome grinds out his warm up on the turbo – he’ll take a bit of beating today. Jungels comes home third, outside Ludvigsson’s time – that endorses the big Swede’s ride.

The top ten muster around the start house on the Navarro motor race circuit - where the first few K are run off - destination Logroño – Poels first for Team Sky as tenth placed. Alberto Contador is ninth on GC, he’ll want to move up but today perhaps isn’t the best day for him to do that; but ‘Bert’ is highly motivated and eighth placed Woods (Cannondale-Drapac) who’s off behind the Trek man is no ‘tester.’

Logrono - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Davide VILLELLA (Italy / Cannondale Drapac Professsional Cycling Team) pictured during La Vuelta ciclista a Espana 2017 (2.UWT) stage 16 from Circuito de Navarra - Logrono (40,2 km) ITT Time trial Individual - photo Miwa iijima/Cor Vos © 2017
Cannondale-Drapac's Davide Villella's KOM jersey was safe today

Aru next then Astana team mate Lopez, neither has the big engine of a real ‘elbow bender’ but much is down to motivation and tiredness at this stage in a Grand Tour. Another Colombian, Chaves for Orica, again not the build to rip the tar up. Dossard number one, Bert is looking very neat and pedaling beautifully – but in a chrono that can be deceptive. . .

Kelderman (Sunweb) rolls off the ramp, and he IS a chronoman, big, strong and bikes don’t get much more aero than those Giants. Zakarin for Katusha-Alpecin now and the rangy Russian is another man who can find his way around a clock burst. Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) leaves the grip of the smiling Lovely, drops off the ramp and is quickly up into a mega gear – he’s not messing today. And that position of his looks better than I’ve seen before.

Alberto strokes on as Froome readies himself, the countdown, the lunge, the elbows, that high cadence and he’s even sitting reasonably still – he looks better on a TT bike than he does on a road bike. And they’re all on the road now.

Bert’s time at check one is ‘up there’ but Kelderman eclipses him to go top. But time trialing is like drinking – all about pace judgement, no point in finishing your first three beers first then having to get carried home.

Zakarin looks to be slogging but Kelderman is well on top of the gear, he reminds me of team mate Dumoulin in full effect. And on that subject, Big Tom to win the Worlds TT says me. Lopez is no chronoman but in a Grand Tour you have to be able get round them at least – 50 plus minutes of suffering for the little man from Colombia.

Esteban Chaves now 9th overall

Froome is on a huge gear and is shifting around on the bike now and doesn’t look at his best – meanwhile Contador and Kelderman are looking very good. Chaves has dropped two minutes to Kelderman who slides past without a glance - very bad for the wee Colombian’s morale.

Bert takes the corners like a kermis king and is UP on Ludvigsson at the second check – but back on the long straight now and the man from Pinto flies. Kelderman on a drag but he doesn’t leave the tuck – how it should be.

Froome may well be going to lift in the second half but to repeat, I’ve seen him look more comfortable in a time trial. Nibali looks strong, steady, pumping that gear but without too much body movement. Froome’s cadence is higher now as Kelderman powers another drag.

Wico Kelderman - 2nd on the stage and 3rd overall

Contador on the drops now for a moment, he needs to ease the discomfort of that crouch. Aru is hemorrhaging time, he’s no time tester. Kelderman soars over the rollers, Zakarin doesn’t, he’s ‘chugging’ that gear. Kelderman is flying, big speed, close to the left hand side of the road to clutch at every watt-saving of shelter. Kelderman, second split; 27 seconds up on Bert – impressive.

Froome – the cadence is high, the body movement more pronounced but the watch doesn’t lie and he’s going well – don’t ask me how. Despite Zakarin’s ungainliness he’s second at check two. Froome and Zakarin in a two-up time trial? Too horrible to contemplate.

'Berty' Now in the Top 5

Bert scrams home, he takes the lead; sub 48 minutes – beautiful!

OK Tobias, off you go, son. . .

Zakarin lunges and pokes and at those pedals – but here’s Froome through check two, FASTEST. The Shark is moving around more on the saddle of that Merida more now as the pain builds with the distance. Froome is flying, huge gear, rolling, pushing back on the saddle repeatedly, I can’t watch. . .

He’ll push Dumoulin in Bergen. Wood drops 2:40 on Contador, ouch! Aru comes home, he drops two minutes on Bert, another ‘ouch!’ Lopez drops 1:34 on Bert, not a disaster. Is Kelderman fading on the run in, just a little? It looks a like it as the big Dutchman ducks below the red kite. Kelderman goes top, half-a-minute into Bert, great ride, sir!

Chavez, a plane crash, three minutes have been lost to Bert.

Vincenzo Nibali - Still second overall, but now at 1:58

Zakarin, smooth he isn’t but he goes second on the same tick of the watch as Bert. Nibali battles home, third! Good ride.

The back of the 'probable' 2017 Vuelta winner

Froome contorts himself home in 47:00 and that’s the winner - from Kelderman, Nibali, Zakarin and Bert.
‘nuff said!

Ultimo kilómetro / Last kilometer - Étape 16... por la_vuelta

After the finish Chris Froome said: "I was riding at the speed I felt best. I wasn’t really getting that many time checks from the car, so I didn’t really know where I was. I was a bit worried coming into the last 6 or 7 kilometers but then I found out I was on track to fight for the stage. To extend my lead now and to be in this position with 4 big days of racing left now is obviously a great position to be in, but I am going to take it one day at a time."

Vuelta España Stage 16 Result:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 47:00:00
2. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 0:29
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:57
4. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin at 0:59
5. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Trek-Segafredo
6. Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) FDJ at 1:07
7. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky at 1:11
8. Lennard Kämna (Ger) Sunweb at 1:30
9. Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors at 1:41
10. Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC at 1:49
11. Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:50
12. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 1:55
13. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors at 2:07
14. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 2:09
15. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quick-Step Floors at 2:12
16. Stef Clement (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 2:15
17. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quick-Step Floors at 2:17
18. Peter Koning (Ned) Aqua Blue Sport at 2:19
19. Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 2:25
20. David de la Cruz (Spa) Quick-Step Floors at 2:27
21. Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Aqua Blue Sport at 2:30
22. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana at 2:34
23. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana at 2:46
24. Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar at 2:47
25. Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Astana at 2:49.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 16:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 62:53:25
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 1:58
3. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 2:40
4. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin at 3:07
5. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Trek-Segafredo at 4:58
6. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana at 5:25
7. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 6:27
8. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky at 6:33
9. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-Scott at 6:40
10. Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac at 7:06
11. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 10:11
12. David de la Cruz (Spa) Quick-Step Floors at 10:14
13. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 10:17
14. Louis Meintjes (RSA) UAE Team Emirates at 12:44
15. Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Sky at 23:20
16. Sergio Pardilla Bellon (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 23:58
17. Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC at 24:52
18. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Movistar at 31:43
19. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 39:04
20. Darwin Atapuma (Col) UAE Team Emirates at 41:46
21. Stef Clement (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 46:59
22. Jack Haig (Aus) Orica-Scott at 54:25
23. Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Dimension Data at 55:42
24. Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 56:51
25. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana at 58:42


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