• Vuelta a Espana

Quintana out as Froome battles back

ESPN staff
September 3, 2014
Fabio Aru celebrates his stage victory after a well-timed burst to the line © Getty Images

Chris Froome battled back from a disappointing individual pursuit on Tuesday to finish fifth over stage 11 of the Vuelta a Espana as one-time leader Nairo Quintana abandoned the race after his second crash in two days.

Astana youngster Fabio Aru timed his attack to perfection to claim victory on Wednesday at San Miguel de Aralar, while overall race leader Alberto Contador defended his red jersey by finishing fourth, just six seconds behind.

Quintana was forced to withdraw just 20km into today's stage, the Colombian having already suffered a heavy crash on stage 10's individual time trial when he hit a roadside barrier with such force that the saddle was wrenched off his bike.

Quintana had been leading the overall standings going into Tuesday's stage, but the crash saw him drop to 11th, nearly three minutes and 25 seconds behind Tinkoff-Saxo rider Contador, who took over the leader's red jersey.

Movistar announced on Twitter that Quintana had started stage 11 admitting that his ankle and hip were hurting him, but the rider was forced to withdraw from the race after being involved in another crash, just 20km into the stage.

As he lay on the side of the road, Quintana indicated that he had damaged his shoulder and was more heavily injured than in Tuesday's crash. He was able to walk to an ambulance, but the team later confirmed he had fractured a shoulder blade.

With Quintana gone, Aru launched his attack from 1km out at San Miguel de Aralar, above Pamplona, after breakaway leader Robert Gesink had been drawn back 1.3km from the line. By the time Froome attempted to chase the Italian, he had enough of a cushion to secure the stage win.

Aru finished six seconds ahead of a select group of riders which included Alejandro Valverde, Joaquim Rodríguez and Contador, with Froome - who again appeared to struggle at times - just a second further back.

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