Froome not giving up on Vuelta

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Chris Froome has not given up hope of claiming a Grand Tour double in 2016 despite trailing Nairo Quintana by over three minutes at the Vuelta a Espana.

Only two cyclists have ever claimed Tour de France and Vuelta wins in the same calendar year, the great Bernard Hinault the last to do it in 1978.

Alberto Contador claimed a double eight years ago with Giro d'Italia and Vuelta victories, but no-one has been able to do so since and Froome's chances look unlikely after losing time to Quintana on Sunday.

General classification leader Quintana made an early break on stage 15 as he moved three minutes and 37 seconds clear of Froome, an advantage he maintained on Monday's route from Alcaniz to Peniscola.

Froome may only have five stages to eradicate that deficit but he has not given up hope of capping a memorable year - which also included a bronze medal at Rio 2016 - with success in Spain.

"I'm still in second place, which obviously I'm happy about, but I am a lot further back than I was going into yesterday [Sunday], so obviously that was a big blow," the Team Sky rider said after stage 16.

"But that's cycling, things can change in the blink of an eye and I've got to keep fighting to the end. Of course I'm not just going to give up now.

"It [his chance of winning] is less possible than it was before but it doesn't mean I'm going to stop trying."

Froome's hopes could rest on Friday's individual time trial from Xabia to Calp, with two mountain stages also to come before the finale in Madrid this weekend.