Froome remains second in Vuelta

Chris Froome

Froome (centre) trails Cobo by just 13 seconds with three stages left to race

Britain’s Chris Froome remains 13 seconds off the overall lead in the Vuelta a Espana after Italy’s Francesco Gavezzi won stage 18.

Gavezzi and Belgium’s Kristof Vandewalle broke clear at the close of the 174km race from Solares to Noja.

Froome, of Team Sky, finished in the main pack, just behind overall leader Juan Jose Cobo of Spain, with both riders given the same time.

Britain’s Bradley Wiggins remains third overall with three stages remaining.

It seems Wiggins, who stays one minute 41 seconds behind Cobo, is all but out of contention following a disappointing ride on Wednesday.

Cobo took the red jersey on the 15th stage and will carry the lead into Friday’s 158km route to Bilbao.

The Vuelta a Espana, one of the three major races of the year, finishes on Sunday in Madrid.

Stage result:

1. Francesco Gavazzi (Italy, Lampre) Four hours, 24 minutes and 42 seconds

2. Kristof Vandewalle (Belgium, Quick-Step) 4:24:42

3. Alexandre Geniez (France, Skil – Shimano) +00:00:10

Overall standings:

1. Juan Jose Cobo (Spain, Geox) 74:04:05

2. Chris Froome (Britain, Team Sky) +00:00:13

3. Bradley Wiggins (Britain, Team Sky) +00:01:41

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