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by Shane Stokes
August 22, 2017
In today’s edition of the Daily News Digest: Nibali wins stage 3 of the Vuelta a España, Froome takes red jersey; Lawless wins stage 4 of the Tour de l’Avenir; Froome surprised to take race lead so soon; Contador: ‘I don’t know what happened – I had very bad sensations’; Majka rues lost time after off day; Tom-Jelte Slagter signs for Dimension Data, team says his best is yet to come; Alex Dowsett to slot into Kittel’s leadout train at Katusha-Alpecin, also has own ambitions; Sabrina Stultiens returns to WM3; Gary West remembered; Video: Artemis World Cycle Week 6 Wrap: Through Australia and onto New Zealand
Speaking after he succeeded Yves Lampaert (QuickStep Floors) as race leader of the Vuelta a España, Team Sky’s Chris Froome admitted that he was surprised how things had worked out. “I didn’t expect to get the red jersey so early in La Vuelta. It’s a great surprise. I think it’s the result of lot of a hard work today from my teammates as well,” he said.
“They did a fantastic job on the final climb, especially a guy like Gianni Moscon. It’s his first Grand Tour and he was great today as were the rest of the guys.”
He won an intermediate sprint during the stage and the three seconds gained – plus his bonus for third – was vital in terms of the overall standings. He ended the day just two seconds clear of the next three riders, underlining the importance of those bonuses.
“I’ve lost La Vuelta before by 13 seconds so I’m going to fight for every second,” he stated. “It’s been a long time since I had the red jersey [he wore it for one day in 2011]. It feels amazing to put it back on. To be in this position is something I’ve thought about for a long time and I worked really hard after the Tour.”
Plenty of racing remains ahead and he is conscious that taking the race lead so early means that he and his team will have to work hard. As a result, he is taking nothing for granted, and indeed suggests the team could loan it out to another rider. “It’s going to be really hard to keep it until the end, especially with the time bonuses out there,” he stated. “It’s only two seconds to the next group of riders. It’s still really close. I don’t expect to keep it til the end but I’m certainly gonna fight for it.”