Quintana breaks Froome's resolve on stage 15


Nairo Quintana finally broke Chris Froome's resolve at the Vuelta a Espana as he extended his overall lead to three minutes and 37 seconds with a gutsy ride on stage 15.

The Movistar rider had tried to pull away from his general classification rival on Saturday but Froome was able to stay in touch with the surging Colombian on the Col d'Aubisque.

An early break on Sunday's 118.5-kilometre stage from Sabinanigo to Aramon Formigal caught Froome out, though, and Quintana took advantage to seize control of the GC race.

He was ably assisted by team-mates Jonathan Castroviejo and Ruben Fernandez before breaking clear on the final climb, Quintana showing there is still plenty in his legs as he dropped rider after rider.

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) could not keep up, leaving only Gianluca Brambilla with Quintana, and the Etixx - Quick Step rider found one last burst of energy to snatch the stage win.

It mattered little to Quintana, though, having already done enough damage in the GC, the 26-year-old now clear favourite for a second Grand Tour success.

The decisive move of the day came early on as a large group made an early break, Quintana positioning himself well, unlike Froome who was cut adrift.

As the leaders pulled away, Froome toiled in their wake, the Team Sky leader dropping over a minute behind.

That deficit only grew as the front 15 worked superbly well together and Froome was left helpless with no Sky riders in front of him.

Omar Fraile (Dimension Data) and Kenny Elissonde (FDJ) continued their battle for the King of the Mountains lead across the first two climbs, Fraile taking maximum points but his rival ensuring he remains in the lead by following behind him.

The 14.5km final ascent belonged to Quintana, though, as the leaders found another gear.

Quintana was not afraid to do a stint at the front of the race and with 2.5km to go he opted to go again, Contador and Brambilla joining him.

Contador was quickly dropped but Brambilla was able to eclipse the GC leader and claim his second Grand Tour stage win of the season.