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Majka climbs to Stage 14 Vuelta victory

Majka climbs to Stage 14 Vuelta victory”

RAFAL MAJKA PRODUCED a stunning effort on the final climb to clinch victory on stage 14 of the Vuelta a Espana on Saturday as Chris Froome dropped four seconds to Vincenzo Nibali but maintained his healthy lead in the general classification.

Nibali attacked Froome on the climb, but the four-time Tour de France victor kept him close and then closed the gap with 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) left on the punishing final ascent. Rui Costa is a former world champion and a multiple Tour de France stage victor; Rafal Majka has also won three stages on the Tour, plus the polka dot jersey, and his climbing abilities need no introduction.

With Chaves losing time, Team Sunweb's Wilco Kelderman moved up to third in the standings, two minutes 17 seconds behind Froome, with Ilnur fourth at two minutes 25 seconds and Chaves fifth, a further 14 seconds back.

"It was hard to keep up with the pace because we were going very fast ahead and in the middle part, it would have been quite comfortable in the main group behind", he added.

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Lopez finished the 129.4-kilometer (80.4-mile) stage starting in Alcala la Real in 3 hours, 34 minutes, 51 seconds.

"We chose to ride with Contador when he made a great attack, and I thought I had good legs and it all went off well", Lopez said.

However, the four-second bonus on offer for third place moves the Italian to within 55 seconds of Froome in the leader's red jersey. I had good legs and Patrick Konrad did a really good job with me in the break.

"We've seen everything in this Vuelta: crashes, attacks, I think I can expect everything next week", he added.

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The stage, which finished at the Sierra Nevada ski station, featured two first category and one "above category" climbs in the final 70km.

Lopez' victory resolved all doubt he could've been a one-hit wonder after his 11th stage victory, showing the cycling world the 23-year-old Astana rider must be taken seriously.

There are five more stages after that, with the race due to finish in Madrid next Sunday (September 10).

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