Quintana stays in the Vuelta driving seat

Colombian maintains his big lead over Chris Froome in Spain

The peloton  makes its way from Alcaniz to Peniscola  during the 16th stage of the Vuelta a Espana. Photo: EPA

The peloton makes its way from Alcaniz to Peniscola during the 16th stage of the Vuelta a Espana. Photo: EPA

 

Jean-Pierre Drucker of Luxembourg sprinted his way to victory in stage 16 of the Vuelta a Espana with a perfectly timed finish, overtaking Daniele Bennati and Gianni Meersman in the final stretch of the 156.4 km flat stage from Alcaniz to Peniscola.

There was no change at the top in the general classification, with Nairo Quintana maintaining his 3 minutes 37 seconds lead over Tour de France champion Chris Froome.

Froome endured a dismal stage on Sunday, finishing two minutes 40 seconds behind winner Gianluca Brambilla and two minutes 37 seconds down on Quintana, allowing the Colombian to tighten his grip on the red jersey.

German pair Rudiger Selig and Nikias Arndt finished second and third respectively, recording the same time as Drucker, who claimed his first ever win in a Grand Tour.

“I suffered a lot the last days but I always kept believing in the sprint stages,” Drucker said after the stage. “I did a good Tour of Burgos and I was confident in my sprint. It’s nice. It’s cool to have a victory in a Grand Tour.”

Johan Esteban Chaves stays third and 20 seconds off Froome, with five stages remaining of the Tour, which finishes on Sunday.

Tuesday is the second and final rest day.

Froome’s few remaining opportunities to gain some ground on Quintana lie in the two remaining mountain stages on Wednesday and Saturday, while his best chance of eating into the Colombian’s lead is in Thursday’s individual time trial.

Stage 16 results 1. Jempy Druecker (Luxembourg / BMC Racing) 3:21:18” 2. Ruediger Selig (Germany / BORA) ST 3. Nikias Arndt (Germany / Giant) 4. Gianni Meersman (Belgium / Etixx - Quick-Step) 5. Lorrenzo Manzin (France / FDJ) 6. Jonas Van Genechten (Belgium / IAM Cycling) 7. Kristian Sbaragli (Italy / Dimension Data) 8. Kiel Reijnen (USA/ Trek) 9. Tosh Van der Sande (Belgium / Lotto) 10. Jhonatan Restrepo (Colombia / Katusha)

Overall standings 1. Nairo Quintana (Colombia / Movistar) 64:57:27” 2. Chris Froome (Britain / Team Sky) +3:37” 3. Esteban Chaves (Colombia / Orica) +3:57” 4. Alberto Contador (Spain / Tinkoff) +4:02” 5. Simon Yates (Britain / Orica) +5:07” 6. Samuel Sanchez (Spain / BMC Racing) +6:12” 7. Andrew Talansky (USA / Cannondale) +6:43” 8. Davide Formolo (Italy / Cannondale) +7:17” 9. David De La Cruz (Spain / Etixx - Quick-Step) +7:23” 10. Michele Scarponi (Italy / Astana) +7:39”

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