Already leader of La Vuelta 2017, Chris Froome (Team Sky) made the most of stage 9’s steep finish to claim the victory at La Cumbre del Sol. The British winner of the Tour de France won ahead of Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott), who now trails by 36” on GC, and Michael Woods (Cannondale-Drapac). This is Froome’s fourth stage victory at La Vuelta. The day also saw Kris Boeckmans come back to La Vuelta two years after his terrible accident. And Adam Hansen met with Bernardo Ruiz, winner of La Vuelta 1948 and previous owner of the record for most Grand Tour participations in a row.
It took 20km of hard racing for 10 of the 181 riders still in the race to build a one minute lead over the peloton. Markel Irizar (Trek-Segafredo), Marc Soler (Movistar), Marco Haller (Katusha-Alpecin), Bert-Jan Lindeman (LottoNL-Jumbo), Tobias Ludvigsson (FDJ), Anthony Turgis (Cofidis), Lluis Mas and Diego Rubio (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Conor Dunne (Aqua Blue Sport) and Ricardo Vilela (Manzana Postobon) were then set to spend most of the day at the front. But Cannondale-Drapac didn’t give them much breathing room as the gap never got higher than 3 minutes.
Marc Soler (Movistar) and Tobias Ludvigsson (FDJ) enjoyed the first climb up the alto de Puig Llorença to get rid of the rest of their breakaway companions. At the top, the Cannondale-led peloton was only 1’50” behind them. The chasers were swallowed on the downhill and the gap with the front of the race went down to 1 minute as the race entered the last 25km. The leading duo was finally caught with 6km to go and Team Sky too matters into their own hands.
Mikel Nieve (Team Sky) controlled attacks from Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Richard Carapaz (Movistar) in the last climb. Then his leader Chris Froome (Team Sky) accelerated with 500m to go and held off Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) to tighten his grip on the red jersey on the eve of the rest day.