Frank climbs to stage 17 Vuelta triumph


Mathias Frank produced a superb climb to claim victory on stage 17 of the Vuelta a Espana on Wednesday, as Nairo Quintana maintained his overall lead.

IAM Cycling rider Frank held off closest challengers Leopold Konig (Team Sky) and Robert Gesink (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) on the final ascent to claim a first stage win in any event for two years and his maiden Grand Tour triumph.

Frank had been part of an initial 28-man break, but broke clear with Dario Cataldo before dropping the Astana man with just over two kilometres of the 177.5km ride from Castellon to Mas de la Costa to go.

"I've had a rough season, not much was working as I wanted - I had to abandon the Tour de Suisse and the Tour de France," he said. 

"So I came here and I told myself I want to have fun, get a good feeling back.

"To finally have a victory after more than two years, winning a Grand Tour stage, it's just amazing."

The top four in the general classification all finished together to leave Quintana (Movistar) leading Chris Froome by three minutes and 37 seconds.

Froome initially lost ground after Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) went on the attack early on, taking Quintana with him, but the Team Sky rider closed the gap in the closing stages to stay in touch with the GC leader.