Madrid, Sep 4 IANS | 3 months ago

Italian Fabio Aru won a thrilling Stage 11 of the Vuelta de Espana between Pamplona and the Alto de Aralar with Spanish star Alberto Contador retaining the overall lead.

The stage was a return to mountain top finish and promised another duel among the overall favourites to win the three week long race with Contador looking to establish his dominance and perhaps also eliminate Chris Froome from contention Wednesday, reports Xinhua.

In the end, the stage failed to produce a major change among the leading places.

The day started with bad news for Colombian Nairo Quintana, who had led the race until suffering a fall in Tuesday's time trial.

Quintana was involved in a mass collision after 20 kilometres of the stage and was taken to hospital with a broken collarbone.

The first climb saw Vasil Kiryenka, who had been part of a breakaway open a lead over three minutes, but that was neutralised at the foot of the final climb of the day, the first category Alto de San Miguel de Aralar.

The 10 kilometre long climb included sections of up to 14 percent and Froome, who had looked below his best Tuesday, was clearly struggling on the harder sections as Robert Roberto Gesink and Dan Martin launched attacks, although he was able to drag himself back level with the lead bunch and even start to lead the chase with two kilometres remaining.

Meanwhile Alejandro Valverde used his sprinting speed to finish second ahead of Contador in third with Froome just behind. Contador retains the overall lead 20 seconds ahead of Valverde, while Rigoberto Uran remains third, but lost time on the day.

(Posted on 04-09-2014)

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