Britain’s Chris Froome praised former Team Sky colleague Nicholas Roche after the Irishman emerged as one of his closest rivals for the leader’s red jersey on the Vuelta a Espana today.
Roche was the biggest winner among the general classification contenders on the race’s 10th stage, gaining 29 seconds to join Colombian Esteban Chaves second overall, 36 seconds behind Froome.
The 33-year-old joined BMC Racing this season after two years at Team Sky alongside Froome, who is bidding to become only the third man to win the Tour de France and Vuelta in the same campaign.
“I think Nico did a great ride,” said Froome. “He seems to be in fantastic form in the Vuelta and congratulations to him. He’s sitting tied second now so he’s done a really good ride.”
Italian Matteo Trentin took his second stage win of this year’s Vuelta in ElPozo Alimentacion after seeing off Spaniard Joe Joaquin Rojas.
Froome played it safe during a final 20km that featured a hazardous descent on wet roads but is anticipating a bigger test on Wednesday.
He added: “It’s a very different stage tomorrow with an uphill finish, a couple of climbs so we’re going to really get into the guts of the Vuelta now.”