Nibali nibbles into Froome’s lead at Vuelta a Espana

British rider remains 55 seconds clear after Italian finishes third on stage

Chris Froome retained the lead in Vuelta a Espana as Bora-Hansgrohe's Rafal Majka soloed to victory on stage 14 from Ecija to Sierra de La Pandera.

Team Sky rider Froome, who is bidding to become only the third rider to win both both the Vuelta and the Tour de France in the same year, crossed the line 31 seconds down on the Polish rider after the 175km stage.

However, Froome's lead was trimmed by four seconds as Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), second overall, pipped him to third place on the day, picking up four bonus seconds on the line. The Italian now trails Froome by 55 seconds.

Ireland's Nicolas Roche finished in 19th position on the stage, two minutes and 15 seconds behind Majka, and slipped back to 13th position overall.

Majka had been part of a breakaway which featured double figures at one stage and he made the decisive move with 10km remaining and was able to hang on during the final climb.

Majka crossed the line 27 seconds ahead of Astana's Miguel Angel Lopez, with Nibali and Froome following four seconds further back.

Katusha's Ilnur Zakarin was next ahead of Alberto Contador (Trek-Sagafredo) and Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott), dropping the latter further behind Froome in the overall standings as he was 26 seconds behind the Briton.

With Chaves losing time, Team Sunweb’s Wilco Kelderman moved up third in the standings, two minutes 17 seconds behind Froome, with Ilnur fourth at two minutes 25 seconds and Chaves fifth, a further 14 seconds back.

Sunday’s 15th stage sees the race tackle 129km from Alcala la Real to Sierra Nevada before Monday’s rest day.

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