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Froome extends Vuelta lead, Lopez wins Stage 11


CALAR ALTO, Spain (AP) Chris Froome increased his lead of the Spanish Vuelta on Wednesday, finishing second in the mountainous 11th stage behind Astana rider Miguel Angel Lopez.

The 23-year-old Lopez won his first grand stage tour, with the Colombian finishing the 187.5-kilometer (116.5-mile) ride from Lorca to the Calar Alto summit in 5 hours, 5 minutes, 9 seconds. Froome was second, 14 seconds back, edging title rival Vincenzo Nibali.

Froome now leads second-placed Nibali by 1:19 overall.

On a rainy day in southern Spain, four-time Tour de France champion Froome took another step toward improving on his three runner-up finishes at the Vuelta.

Esteban Chaves and Nicolas Roche started the day 34 seconds behind Froome overall but both faded on the stage's second category-one climb that finished at the Calar Alto Astronomical Observatory.

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Chaves fell to third overall and is 2:33 behind Froome, while Roche tumbled to 11th at 4:45 off the pace and well out of contention.

Former champions Fabio Aru and Alberto Contador also lost time. Aru slipped to 2:57 back in seventh place, while Contador ended the stage almost four minutes slower.

Froome and his Sky teammates withstood the hard pace set by Nibali's Bahrain-Merida team, catching the Italian on the final push. Only a daring Lopez got away when he set off over the final 200 meters (yards).

''It was a very hard stage due to the rain, which made it more demanding,'' Lopez said. ''I found my best legs at the end. I stayed patient and waited for my moment to attack.''

Thursday's 12th stage is a hilly 160.1-kilometer (99.5-mile) ride from Montril to Los Dolmenes.

The three-week race ends in Madrid on Sept. 10.