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The final Grand Tour of the year, the Vuelta a España, was always going to be a fiercely fought affair. Nine days in, at the first rest day, that’s proven to be the case.
In the narrative of the race, there are numerous protagonists. Chris Froome (Sky), fresh off a fourth Tour de France victory, but desperate for a Vuelta title after finishing second three times. Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo), the local hero in his final race after a long and storied career. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), twice the winner previously, returning for the first time since being thrown out in 2015 for taking a fairly blatant tow from a team car. And that’s before we even mention podium contenders like Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott), Fabio Aru (Astana) and Tejay van Garderen (BMC).
After nine hard-contested stages, it’s Froome that looks to be the strongest, having gained the race lead on stage 3 with time bonuses on the road. He’s seldom looked at risk of relinquishing his grasp on the red jersey since, extending his advantage with a dominant victory on stage 9.
Alberto Contador, meanwhile, has had a race of mixed fortunes, losing significant time due to food poisoning on stage 3, before recovering and taking a typically aggressive role in the later stages. He’s almost certainly too far back to be competitive on GC, but he’s turning it on for his throngs of adoring fans.
As the peloton take a well-earned break, we hope you enjoy this selection of images from the first nine days of the 2017 Vuelta a España through the lens of Cor Vos.