Wednesday September 6th, 2017

Stage 17Villadiego / Los Machucos. Monumento Vaca Pasiega

Start 12h40 (Local time)

Key moments

video06/09/2017 

Summary - Stage 17 - La Vuelta 2017

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The brutal climb of Los Machucos offered the show everyone expected at the end of stage 17 of La Vuelta 2017: Stefan Denifl (Aqua Blue Sport) soloed away to a brilliant victory while Chris Froome (Team Sky) was unable to follow his rivals on extremely steep slopes (up to 26%). Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) was the strongest of the GC contenders to finish second on the day. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) finished fourth with Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) to gain 42” on Froome. The...

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Dani Moreno (Movistar): “I really liked this stage. We tried but there was someone stronger than me. I had legs until the finish but (Stefan Denifl) was the strongest. I went with my pace. I'm in a pretty good condition. I'm always at my best in the third week of La Vuelta, but in a climb like that, when someone goes… That's how it is in cycling, it works through your mind and you surrender. I think I still have a shot but they're quickly disappearing.”

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Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo): “It's been a good stage. We had to go hard on the pedals and the legs responded well. I knew I had to follow Miguel Angel Lopez. I accelerated to get back to him, I felt good behind him and when I saw him suffer in a steep section, I had no doubts. It's a pity not to take the victory, furthermore when I think about the team and the supporters, but we have three hard days ahead and we'll see what we can do. I feel better with the weather conditions in the...

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Chris Froome (Team Sky), overall leader: “It's still a good position to be in. I think we always knew today was going to be a though final and it certainly was. Especially, the weather conditions. But the team is doing a great job, I am feeling good and we look forward to the next three days. It was a typical Vuelta summit finish, it's just the nature of the race. It's the same for everyone. I don't think anyone really enjoys gradients over 25%, but that's how it is. Of course it's never...

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Stefan Denifl (Aqua Blue Sport), stage winner: “I had super super legs today. I waited all La Vuelta for that day. I paced myself until today and I went all in. It's just amazing for the team, for Aqua Blue. It's our first Grand Tour and we win a stage… I'm over the Moon! You always have to believe you'll win. When I felt my legs, I was like ‘oh my goods, this is super good'. And I just kept on pushing. The climb was perfect for me. There were bits of flat to recover. Now I've won a...

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Newsflashes (Local time)

17:43Froome still in red, Nibali and Contador move closer

General classification after stage 17:

1. Chris Froome (Team Sky)

2. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), +1'16”

3. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb), +2'13”

4. Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpeicn), +2'25”

5. Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo), +3'34”

17:41Top 5

Results at Los Machucos:

1. Stefan Denifl (Aqua Blue Sport)

2. Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo), +8"

3. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana), +1'04"

4. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), +1'04"

5. Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin), +1'04"

17:39Nibali wins 40" on Froome

Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) made it to the finish with Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) and Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) 40" ahead of Chris Froome (Team Sky).

17:37Denifl wins at Los Machucos!

Stefan Denifl (Aqua Blue Sport) fends off Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) to claim the victory atop the alto de Los Machucos!

17:35Last kilometre!

Stefan Denifl (Aqua Blue Sport) is still 20" ahead of Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo)!

17:32Nibali accelerate, Froome with Nieve

Only Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) is able to follow Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) with less than 2km to go. They get back to Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana). Chris Froome is alone with Mikel Nieve (Team Sky).

17:273km to go

Stefan Denifl (Aqua Blue Sport) maintains a 45" gap with Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo).

Chris Froome (Team Sky) is 55" further behind.

Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) is in between with most of the GC contenders.

17:22Denifl opens the road, Contador leads the chase

Stefan Denifl (Aqua Blue Sport) drops Dani Moreno (Movistar) with 5km to go. He has a 1' lead over Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo), who is just ahead of Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana). Chris Froome (Team Sky) remains with his teammate.

17:19Lopez attacks, Contador follows, Froome doesn't

Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) jumps ahead of the peloton. Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) joins hom. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) leads the chase. Chris Froome (Team Sky) is behind. There's a gap but Froome still has teammates to pace him.

17:17Moreno goes

Dani Moreno (Movistar) accelerates with 6km to go. Stefan Denifl (Aqua Blue Sport) tries to get back to him, Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) is right behind.

17:12The climb up Los Machucos!

Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors), Alessandro De Marchi (BMC), Dani Moreno (Movistar) and Stefan Denifl (Aqua Blue Sport) tackle the "brutal" climb up Los Machucos (7.2km, 8.7%) and its terrible slopes.

Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida) is slightly ahead of the bunch with a rider from Cofidis. The gaps are minimal.

17:0710 KOM points for Denifl

Results atop the puerto de Alisas (km 162.6):

1. Stefan Denifl (Aqua Blue Sport), 10pts

2. Dani Moreno (Movistar), 6pts

3. Alessandro De Marchi (BMC), 4pts

4. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick Step), 2pts

5. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Orica-Scott), 1pt

Jack Haig (Orica-Scott) joined Cort Nielsen in the downhill to try and get ahead of the bunch. The gap between the leaders and the peloton: 1'15".

17:00Denifl accelerates, Sky get back

Stefan Denifl (Aqua Blue Sport) ups the tempo in the final km to the summit. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Orica-Scott) can't keep up.

The Chaves group, also featuring Jaime Roson (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) is caught by the Sky-led peloton 1'15" behind the leaders.

16:54De La Cruz and Pantano on the move

David De La Cruz (Quick-Step Floors) and Antonio Pedrero (Movistar) get back to the Orica-Scott duo. Jarlinson Pantano (Trek-Segafredo) joins them with Antonio Nibali (Bahrain-Merida). Pello Bilbao (Astana) also gets in the mix. The Sky-led peloton is right behind.

16:49Chaves attacks with Yates

Adam Yates (Orica-Scott) jumps ahead of the peloton 6km away from the summit of the puerto de Alisas with Esteban Chaves in his wheel.

16:41Majka is back

Rafal Majka's Bora-Hansgrohe bring the second bunch back to the first one at the bottom of the puerto de Alisas.

16:39The penultimate climb

Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors), Alessandro De Marchi (BMC), Magnus Cort Nielsen (Orica-Scott), Dani Moreno (Movistar) and Stefan Denifl (Aqua Blue Sport) tackle the puerto de Alisas (10km, 6%) with a lead of 2'20".

16:35Froome: "Steep climbs hurt everyone"

Chris Froome (Team Sky) spoke to lavuelta.com about the challendes of the day: “I'm riding with a 34x32. That's not far from what I had when I was doing mountain biking. That's quite typical of La Vuelta to have these really steep climbs. For me I don't think it's too bad. Steep climbs hurt everyone. It's just about how you pace yourself to get through. I would say Angliru is gonna be a more crucial stage but today is just as important.”

16:28Intermediate sprint

Results at Solares (km 145.2):

1. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors)

2. Dani Moreno (Movistar)

3. Alessandro De Marchi (BMC)

The peloton is at 2'50". Despite the regroupment in the downhill, Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) is actually 1'20" further behind. Three of his teammates are waiting for him from the first bunch.

16:25Los Machucos, a dreadful unprecedented climb

Today's final challenge is the main enigma of La Vuelta 2017. The riders will face an explosive climb at Los Machucos, with 7.2km at an average gradient of 8.7%… and slopes up to 26% in the first part. The climb is very irregular, with full kilometres above 10%, and the peloton dreads this challenge. “It will be brutal”, Chris Froome (Team Sky) said.

16:22The second bunch gets back

Orica-Scott riders are pulling the peloton 2'45" behind the leaders with 40km to go. Rafal Majka's group gets back to the main bunch. Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac) is still travelling in between, with a delay of 1'45".

16:14Majka at the back

Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) is among the riders chasing in a group 1 minute behind the main bunch.

16:11Nibali: "Nothing is impossible"

Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) expressed his will to keep the fight on ahead of stage 17: “Nothing is impossible. Yesterday I did a good TT. Today is another very hard day. It's a very complicated stage with an unprecedented final climb. We'll see if we can attack.”

16:08Bahrain-Merida accelerate

Vincenzo Nibali's teammates upped the tempo in the downhill. The peloton has split, about 60 riders remain in the front group.

16:04Heading to the main challenges of the day

Correction: Magnus Cort Nielsen (Orica-Scott) is at the front of the race instead of his teammate Christopher Juul Jensen.

The attackers are 54km away from the finish, in the downhill on the way to the puerto de Alisas. Their lead is down to 3'.

15:553 minutes

The gap between the bunch and the 5 man front group is down to 3'33" with 60km to go. Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac) is 33" behind his former companions.

The average speed is down to 37.3km/h after three hours as the riders faced the first climb of the day.

15:51Villella distanced in the downhill

Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac) has lost contact with the front group in the downhill.

15:485 KOM points for Villella

Results atop the portillo de Lunada (km 107.3):

1. Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac), 5pts

2. Alessandro De Marchi (BMC), 3 pts

3. Stefan Denifl (Aqua Blue Sport), 1 pt

It's foggy in the downhill and the visibility is really poor.

15:38De La Cruz: "I'm not where I hoped I would"

After strong start, David De La Cruz (Quick-Step Floors) has lost ground during the second week and is now 12th on GC. “I'm not where I hoped I would”, he said before stage 17. “I would have liked to tackle the final stretch of La Vuelta in a different position but that's how cycling is. We'll keep fighting. I hope to be able to leave a mark in the days that are left. We have five hard days ahead, with today's finish and the Angliru, and others with trickier profiles, for sure it will...

15:30Under 5 minutes

The gap decreases again: 4'44" as the leading group is 5km away from the summit of the portillo de Lunada.

15:21First climb of the day

The gap stabilises around 5' as the attackers tackle the portillo de Lunada (8.3km, 5.7%).

15:16Meintjes: "I'm feeling a little bit better"

Louis Meintjes (UAE Team Emirates) has been improving throughout La Vuelta and is now 14th on GC. He spoke with lavuelta.com about his ambitions until Madrid: “It wasn't too bad (in the ITT). It's not my specialty. I din't prepare specifically for it so I think it was ok. I'm actually feeling a little bit better now than in the first week. I don't think it's enough to win anything but we still try to be up there. The team would like the (UCI) points for the GC so we're gonna ride...

15:08Feeding zone, 5 minutes

Halfway through the stage, the gap is down to 5'10". The attackers still have 89km to cover on the way to the finish line atop Los Machucos.

14:59Strong riders at the front

The bunch is wary of the riders currently at the front of the race. Three of them have already raised their arms at La Vuelta. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) did it this year, dominating Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates) at Xorret de Cati (stage 8). Alessandro De Marchi (BMC) has also been on the move on several occasions during La Vuelta 2017, looking for a new victory after the ones he achieved in 2014 and 2015. Dani Moreno (Movistar) won three La...

14:52Second hour

Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors), Alessandro De Marchi (BMC), Christopher Juul Jensen (Orica-Scott), Dani Moreno (Movistar), Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac) and Stefan Denifl (Aqua Blue Sport) have maintained an average speed of 38.6km/h after two hours of racing.

Their lead is down to 6' with 100km to go.

14:43Lopez: "A very hard finish"

Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) was cautious ahead of stage 17: “It's a very hard finish, but we have to see how good the legs feel. These are very hard climbs and we have to see what we can do in the end. I don't know how the legs will respond.”

The effort from his teammates and Bora-Hansgrohe has already brought the gap down to 7'.

14:35Bora-Hansgrohe also get in the mix

Rafal Majka's teammates are also participating in the chase. The gap quickly gets down to 8'10" with 108km to go.

14:31Astana pull the peloton

Miguel Angel Lopez displays his ambitions for today's stage as three riders from Astana take the front positions of the bunch.

14:23The gap keeps increasing

The attackers' lead reaches a new maximum after 66km: 9'10".

Dani Moreno (Movistar) is the best classified rider on GC: 18th, with a delay of 31'43".

14:17Janse Van Rensburg: “Last year I had to spend my birthday in a hospital”

Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (Dimension Data) is celebrating his 30th birthday today. He spoke with lavuelta.com about the conditions on this day: “Last year I had my birthday on the rest day at La Vuelta… But I crashed out the day before so I had to spend my birthday in a hospital in Germany. So this year is much better. It looks like a windy day. It seems the weather is getting better at the finish. It's gonna be 50/50 towards the...

14:12Haig: “The finish is intimidating more than inspiring”

Jack Haig (Orica-Scott) turns 24 today. He recalled with lavuelta.com his experiences of celebrating birthdays as a rider and hinted his team might go on the move early today: “I don't know if it'll be my best birthday… I can remember my strangest birthday though. It was when I raced Worlds Champs as a junior, in mountain bikes. We flew from Europe to Australia so my birthday only lasted 16 hours because we flew against the time zone. I...

14:04Almost 8 minutes

A nervous peloton is facing headwind. The bunch breflly split but the situation quickly got back to normal. The gap increases to 7'50" after 50km.

13:59Fröhlinger : “We're very confident with Kelderman”

Johannes Fröhlinger (Team Sunweb) spoke with lavuelta.com about Wilco Kelderman's situation, as the Dutch rider sits 3rd on GC after yesterday's ITT: “It's not the best to only have four riders to work for Wilco Kelderman. Lennard Kämna doesn't start, there was the Warren Barguil incident (withdrawn by the team after stage 7) and then other riders were sick. I'm the captain because we have a very young team, five were starting a Grand...

13:50First hour

Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors), Alessandro De Marchi (BMC), Christopher Juul Jensen (Orica-Scott), Dani Moreno (Movistar), Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac) and Stefan Denifl (Aqua Blue Sport) have covered 38.4km in the first hour and opened a 7'20" gap with the bunch.

13:44Aguirre, the new youngest participant

At 20yo, Lennard Kämna (Team Sunweb) was the youngest rider participating in La Vuelta 2017 and would have celebrated his 21st birthday on the Angliru if he hadn't abandoned. Hernan Aguirre (Manzana Postobon), who will turn 22 in December, is the youngest rider still competing.

As for veterans, Svein Tuft (Orica-Scott) was the only 40yo rider in the race but he didn't start yesterday's time-trial. Franco Pellizotti (Bahrain-Merida) is now the oldest participant. He will turn 40 in...

13:366 minutes

The gap is up to 5'53" after 31km. Sky control the bunch.

13:28A 6 man breakaway

Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) and Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac) join Alessandro De Marchi (BMC), Christopher Juul Jensen (Orica-Scott), Dani Moreno (Movistar) and Stefan Denifl (Aqua Blue Sport) at km 27. The gap with the Sky-led peloton is up to 4'20".

13:22The break gets away

Alessandro De Marchi (BMC), Christopher Juul Jensen (Orica-Scott), Dani Moreno (Movistar) and Stefan Denifl (Aqua Blue Sport) enjoy a 3' lead over the bunch after 23km. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) and Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac) are 30" behind them.

13:151 minute, Villella and Alaphilippe chase

The gap between the bunch and the leding group is up to 1'05" at km 19.

Anthony Turgis (Cofidis) jumped ahead of the peloton in pursuit. Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac) and Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) also try to bridge the gap.

13:064 riders at the front

Christopher Juul Jensen (Orica-Scott) joins Alessandro De Marchi (BMC), Dani Moreno (Movistar) and Stefan Denifl (Aqua Blue Sport) at the front of the race after 13km. The bunch is just behind them.

13:00Attacks keep flying

Alessandro De Marchi (BMC) leads a new assault at the front of the bunch after 7km. Many riders want to break away.

12:51Fast start, Mohoric crashes

Attacks are flying in the first 3km of the stage. Matej Mohoric (UAE Team Emirates) suffers a crash but quickly gets back on his bike.

12:47It is on!

The bunch has reached km 0 and the fight for the breakaway can begin.

12:41Froome to “fight” for the red jersey “every day”

A dominant performance during yesterday's ITT saw Chris Froome (Team Sky) open more GC differences. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) is now trailing by 1'58". But the British rider, who's never won La Vuelta despite his many attempts and his brilliant record at the Tour de France, knows the overall victory is far from sealed. “I'm gonna have to fight every day”, he said at Logroño with his eyes set on Los Machucos: “It is gonna be brutal.”

12:35Oss and Kämna don't start

162 riders are ready to battle it out on the way to Los Machucos. Team Sunweb annouced Lennard Kämna has to withdraw due to knee pains. Daniel Oss (BMC) is the other non-starters.

12:29On the way to the start

The bunch is on the way to km 0.

12:22Welcome

Welcome to the official live of stage 17 of La Vuelta 2017. With a 180.5km route, the riders are on their way to a summit finish atop the brutal climb of Los Machucos, featuring slopes around 30%! The neutral start from Villadiego is set at 12:25, the proper one at 12:40.

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