CORTALS D’*ENCAMP, Spain (AP) — Mikel Landa of Spain raced ahead to climb the final ascent alone and win the 11th stage of the Spanish Vuelta in the Pyrenees on Wednesday, while Italy’s Fabio Aru finished second to claim the overall race leader’s jersey.
Ian Boswell of the United States finished third in a tough 138-kilometer run from Andorra La Vella to Cortals d’Encamp.
Joaquin Rodriguez of Spain is second overall, 27 seconds behind, and overnight leader Tom Dumoulin of Netherlands dropped to third, another three seconds back.
Landa chose his moment at the foot of the Cortals d’Encamp summit and quickly built a lead of two minutes from the pursuing group which contained Aru and Nelson Oliveira.
The 25-year-old Astana rider said he chose to attack without consulting his team because he was feeling strong. “I needed this,” Landa said. “I managed to enjoy riding my cycle.”
“Aru has made a strong claim in the overall race and let’s hope he can build on this and hang onto his lead so that he can go on to win the Spanish Vuelta,” Landa said of his teammate.
Tour de France winner Chris Froome fell shortly after the beginning of a mountain stage containing four category-one summits and appeared to injure his knee.
However, despite looking troubled and shaking his head frequently while on the four steep category one climbs in the stage, the British rider recovered sufficiently to finish the day in 15th place overall — 7 minutes, 30 seconds behind Landa.
Spain’s state broadcaster TVE said a motorcycle carrying one of its cameramen had collided with a rider at the beginning of the category one Collada de Beixalis ascent.
Tinkoff Saxo later confirmed on the team’s Twitter account that its Portuguese rider Sergio Paulinho had been forced to abandon the race “after being hit by reckless TV motorbike.”
The Russian-owned team had previously said it was seeking compensation from Spain’s Vuelta organizers for an accident involving Peter Sagan and a following motorcycle that caused its rider to fall and retire during the eighth stage of the race on Saturday.