Race leader Froome ready to take risks to strengthen Vuelta advantage

Chris Froome is ready to take more risks at the Vuelta a Espana as he looks to become only the third rider to win in Spain having won the Tour de France in the same year.

Froome claimed victory on stage nine of this year's race on Sunday to extend his general classification lead over Esteban Chaves to 36 seconds.

More impressively for the Team Sky rider, his advantage over third-placed Nicolas Roche is now over a minute, giving him a nice cushion as more days in the mountains loom.

The Kenya-born Brit is faring well despite claiming his fourth Tour title a month ago, and he is ready to push the boundaries further in the remaining weeks.

"I'm pretty happy with the start of this year's Vuelta," Froome told a media conference on the race's first rest day.

"Up until now we've only had three four-kilometre climbs coming into the finish. Already to be in this position after those climbs is a dream scenario.

"In the Tour, there were only three mountain-top finishes, which means there's very little room for error there. If you get one of those wrong, like I did at Peyragudes when I lost the yellow jersey, that makes you think that with time trialling as my forte, I'd rather just focus on the time trials and play it safe on the climbs. 

"I wasn't willing to put everything in and risk losing everything.

"[At the Vuelta] I can afford to gamble a little bit, give a bit of a go one day and if it doesn't work out, then I'll do things differently tomorrow.

"The Tour was my main focus of the season, to win it. If that meant playing things safe on a daily basis, making sure I was always at the sharp end but never absolutely emptying myself on any one of those days to win a stage, then obviously that was the way to play it. 

"Here at the Vuelta, there's more space to gamble and with 3,500 kilometres in my legs and a good 2,000 kilometres of training afterwards, I've certainly got a bigger base coming into the Vuelta and I'm feeling more confident on the climbs."

Meanwhile, Froome will have two new team-mates at Team Sky from 2018 after they confirmed the signings of promising youngsters Pavel Sivakov and Kristoffer Halvorsen.

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