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Chris Froome Nairo Quintana Vuelta a Espana

Chris Froome climbed to his first Vuelta a Espana stage victory for five years to go second in the general classification after pipping Nairo Quintana.

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Chris Froome climbed to his first Vuelta a Espana stage victory for five years to go second in the general classification after pipping overall leader Nairo Quintana on Wednesday.

Three-time Tour de France winner Froome surged up the Pena Cabarga to finish just ahead of Quintana at the end of the 168.6-kilometre stage 11 from the Asturias Jurassic Museum, near Colunga.

The Team Sky rider put his foot down on the final climb and raised his arms aloft after claiming only his second Vuelta stage win, with his only previous success coming at the Pena Cabarga back in 2011.

Movistar's Quintana holds a 54-second advantage over Froome after giving the Brit a run for his money in a gripping end to the stage before finishing second.

Alejandro Valverde drops a place to third in the GC, a minute and five seconds behind his team-mate Quintana after finishing six seconds behind the front two.

Esteban Chaves (Orica-Bike Exchange) is two minutes and 34 seconds off the pace in fourth place overall, with Alberto Contador 3:08 adrift of Quintana following a fifth-place finish.

A breakaway group of 23 were five minutes down the road from the peloton with 87km to go, but Tinkoff put the hammer down to close the gap in an attempt to set up a stage win for Contador.

The gap was less than a minute with 15km to race and the leading GC contenders fought it out up the 5.6km final climb, with slopes of up to 18 per cent gradient testing the climbers on the last stretch.

Chaves was dropped and Froome sat on Quintana's wheel before accelerating for a long-awaited stage win. 

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