EL POBLE NOU DE BENITATXELL, Spain (AP) — Chris Froome moved to the front in the final climb to win the ninth stage of the Spanish Vuelta on Sunday and increase his overall lead.
The Tour de France winner took the lead with about 500 meters (yards) to go and held on to win the 174-kilometer (108-mile) stage from Orihuela to El Poble Nou de Benitatxell in southeastern Spain.
“It’s such a good feeling to get to the end of this first block with the red jersey and a decent gap,” Froome said. “The legs felt great today and it feels good to be in this position.”
It was Froome’s first stage win in a grand tour this season. He clinched his fourth Tour de France earlier this year without any stage victories.
Froome crossed the line four seconds ahead of Colombian Esteban Chaves, who made a late charge but was not able to overcome the British rider.
Chaves remained second overall, 36 seconds behind Froome. Nicolas Roche of Ireland is third, more than a minute off the lead.
Froome is attempting to become the third rider to complete the Tour-Vuelta double in the same season.
Monday is a rest day.