Froome in 'dream' position to win Vuelta

Great Britain in the Elite Men's road race at the 2016 World Road Championships

Stefan Denifl was victorious on Stage 17 of the 2017 Vuelta a Espana on Wednesday, but it was a hard day for overall leader Chris Froome, who lost significant time.

The Tour de France victor finished 14th and lost 42 seconds of his overall lead, which now stands at one minute 16 seconds over Vincenzo Nibali of Italy.

Despite having conceded 42 seconds to his main rival Vincenzo Nibalil, Froome does retain the advantage, but today will have given the Italian hope as the race moves into the final four stages.

Spaniard Contador, aiming for a stage victory on his last Vuelta appearance, picked off several breakers, but Denifl - who had formed part of the initial breakaway group - finished 28 seconds ahead to secure a maiden stage win at Grand Tour level and secure Aqua Blue Sport a glorious triumph on their major bow.

Froome will be expected to extend his advantage on Tuesday in a 40-kilometre time trial, a discipline which suits the four-time Tour de France victor.

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Froome is trying to become the third rider to complete the Tour-Vuelta double in the same season.

"I've been looking forward to the TT (time trial)".

"If I can take a little time off Nibali and if I can extend my lead at all that would be fantastic". However, this is also the stage in which Froome will get the biggest time against contenders in the overall standings. "I'm not taking anything for granted", he said. Expect these riders to try to get as much time as possible.

The Aqua Blue rider resisted a late challenge from Alberto Contador to take victory in a thrilling finish, with Froome suffering after a gruelling day in testing conditions.

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