Vuelta: Stage 17

Stefan Denifl wins stage 17 for Aqua Blue while Contador gaps Froome who loses time to Nibali but still leads

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

Vuelta: Stage 17

Aqua Blue Sport’s Stefan Denifl secured his maiden Grand Tour victory on Vuelta a España Stage 17 and the punishing final climb to Los Machucos. Race leader Chris Froome meanwhile was dropped and lost time to some of his GC rivals.

In the race for the stage, the 29-year old Austrian Denifl sealed a sensational victory by 28 seconds for the Irish Pro Continental Team in their debut Grand Tour on the 180.5km stage, despite the determined efforts of second-placed Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo).

The veteran Spaniard staged another brilliant attack on the brutal final ascent, but came up just short as Denifl calmly maintained an impressive tempo up ahead. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) was third, 1’04” down on Denifl.

As Denifl went solo from a breakaway group with 5km left, Contador accelerated away from a group of favourites including race leader Froome (Team Sky) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida), on a climb – the third categorised climb of the day – that kicked up to over 25 per cent gradient.

Having been distanced on that final ascent, Froome worked with team-mates to limit his losses and rolled over the line 1’46” down on the stage winner Denifl, He lost 42″ to Nibali and Ilnur Zakarin (Team Katusha Alpecin), and 1’18” on Contador. Froome though remains in the overall lead by 1’16” from Nibali on GC. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) is third overall, 2’13” behind the leader.

A breakaway had been widely expected and a strong six-man group formed early on: Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) was there with Alessandro De Marchi (BMC), Chris Juul Jensen (ORICA-SCOTT), Dani Moreno (Movistar), current KOM leader Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac) and Stefan Denifl (Aqua Blue Sport).

Their lead swelled to more than 10 minutes but Team Sky and BORA-hansgrohe worked to close the gap – although Denifl was not to be denied in the end. … continued after advert


Stefan Denifl: “I had super, super legs today. I waited all the Vuelta for this 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 ‘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 stage at La Vuelta. It’s amazing. It’s the best day of my cycling life.”

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 Lopez. I accelerated to get back to him, I felt good behind him and when I saw him suffer on a steep section, I had no doubts.”

“It’s a pity not to take the victory, 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 North. To be one minute and half from the podium, it’s not much and it’s still a lot”.

“From what I see, we’re much closer now, but it’s still complicated. Everything can happen everyday, in this edition of La Vuelta we have to give it all every day. Today, it took everything: head, heart and legs.”

Chris Froome said: “It’s never nice to lose time like that but at the same time I’m still really happy with the positon that we’re in. I think we always knew today was going to be a really tough final and it certainly was, especially with the weather conditions as well.”

“With three days of racing to go the team is still in a great position. I’m feeling good and looking forward to the next few days. This was a typical Vuelta summit finish. It’s the nature of the race and it’s the same for everyone of course. I don’t think anyone really enjoys gradients over 25 percent but that’s just how it is. I still feel good and I’m confident with the guys around me that we can get the job done.

“I think I paid a little bit for yesterday’s effort but at the same time I’m pretty sure I’ll bounce back after today”. Looking ahead to Saturday’s summit finish on the Angliru, Froome said: “I’m not really concerned (about the Angliru). Of course it’s a really tough stage, and probably the toughest climb of this year’s Vuelta. There’s still a big battle for the GC but we’ll take it one stage at a time.”

Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) “I gave everything I had today,” said Wilco after the stage. “It was a very steep final climb. This type of climb isn’t ideally suited to me, I much prefer the gradual climbs. Despite that I felt good today, the legs are good and I’m still going strong in like with what we expected at this point of the Vuelta.” … continued after advert


Stage 17
1. Stefan Denifl Aqua Blue Sport
2. Alberto Contador Trek – Segafredo 0:28
3. Miguel López Astana Pro Team 1:04
4. Vincenzo Nibali Bahrain Merida
5. Ilnur Zakarin Team Katusha – Alpecin
6. Rafal Majka BORA – hansgrohe
7. Michael Woods Cannondale-Drapac 1:13
8. Daniel Moreno Movistar Team 1:17
9. Wilco Kelderman Team Sunweb 1:19
10. David de la Cruz Quick-Step Floors 1:42
11. Steven Kruijswijk Team LottoNL-Jumbo
12. Jack Haig ORICA-Scott
13. Mikel Nieve Team Sky 1:46
14. Chris Froome Team Sky
15. Wout Poels Team Sky 1:53
16. Julian Alaphilippe Quick-Step Floors 2:01
17. Fabio Aru Astana Pro Team 2:04
18. Pello Bilbao Astana Pro Team
19. Louis Meintjes UAE Team Emirates 2:05
20. Romain Bardet AG2R La Mondiale 2:14

1. Chris Froome Team Sky
2. Vincenzo Nibali Bahrain Merida 1:16
3. Wilco Kelderman Team Sunweb 2:13
4. Ilnur Zakarin Team Katusha – Alpecin 2:25
5. Alberto Contador Trek – Segafredo 3:34
6. Miguel López Astana Pro Team 4:39
7. Michael Woods Cannondale-Drapac 6:33
8. Wout Poels Team Sky 6:40
9. Fabio Aru Astana Pro Team 6:45
10. David de la Cruz Quick-Step Floors 10:10



Send your results as well as club, team & event news here


Other Results on VeloUK (including reports containing results)

Other News on VeloUK