Britain’s Chris Froome took another step towards becoming the first man for 39 years to win the Vuelta a Espana and the Tour de France in the same year by extending his lead in Spain.
Froome finished second on the summit finish of stage 11 to stretch his advantage over his closest challenger to one minute and 19 seconds with 10 more stages remaining.
Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez won the stage as Italian Vincenzo Nibali moved into second overall, while Froome put more time into other rivals for the leader’s red jersey, including Fabio Aru, Alberto Contador, Nicolas Roche, Esteban Chaves and Tejay van Garderen.
“I’m very happy with the outcomes from today,” said Froome. “It was a very selective day for the [title contenders]. To finish second, I couldn’t ask for much more than that, other than stage victory, but when Lopez went he was extremely strong.”
Reigning Tour champion Froome, 2010 Vuelta winner Nibali and Dutchman Wilco Kelderman finished 14 seconds behind Astana rider Lopez on the slopes of the Sierra Nevada.
The Team Sky leader gained 17 seconds on Contador and two minutes on Colombian Chaves, who slipped to third overall ahead of tomorrow's mid-mountain stage from Motril to Antequera.
“I figured for me the most important thing was to follow Vincenzo Nibali and stay with the favourites,” Froome added.
“Lopez was the most impressive with his attack to win the stage, but otherwise I was more concentrated on staying with Nibali seeing that Chaves was already dropped and Alberto [Contador] was on the limit.”