Rafal Majka eases to win on stage 14 of Vuelta a Espana

Sky's British cyclist Christopher Froome, Bahrain-Merida's Italian cyclist Vicenzo Nibali, Sunweb's Dutch cyclist Wilco Kelderman cross the finish line of the 11th stage of

Chris Froome extended his overall lead in La Vuelta after Colombian rider Miguel Angel Lopez won the mountainous 129-kilometre 15th stage from Alcala la Real to Sierra Nevada.

A late surge by Froome over the final meters of the punishing ride and a final special-category ascent allowed him to increase the gap over Vincenzo Nibali from 55 seconds to 1:01.

Nibali finished six seconds down while Alberto Contador, who attacked with Lopez, paid the price, losing 40sec.

Fabio Aru, victor of the Vuelta in 2015, also lost a further 32 seconds on Froome to fall over three minutes back on the Briton in sixth.

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The Italian, a revelation this season, tried his best, but Mateo Trentin was too powerful, as he has been three times in this race, and took a fifth stage for Quick-Step.

Majka's Stage 14 triumph was his first of 2017's Vuelta and made him the second Polish rider to win one of this year's stages after compatriot Tomasz Marczynski triumphed on two occasions.

"If anyone had said to me this would be the situation going into the second rest day I would have definitely taken that".

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

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The final week of the race will stay in the north before its finish in Madrid on September 10. On paper it looked like it was less hard, especially from 3km to 2km to go.

"It's at high altitude, it is a key stage in my mind, so it was important to keep something in reserve for tomorrow".

Victory also moved Lopez up to sixth overall, ahead of Astana teammate and 2015 Vuelta victor Fabio Aru.

Chris Froome retained his place atop the general classification after finishing as part of a chasing trio not far off the victor in Saturday's 175-kilometre ride from Ecija in southern Spain. Ilnur Zakarin (RUS/KAT) 0:31, 6. The Dutchman Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) completes the provisional podium in 2 min.

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