Vuelta a Espana: Chris Froome trails Nairo Quintana as Mathias Frank wins stage 17

Chris Froome
Chris Froome lost two minutes 40 seconds to Nairo Quintana on stage 15

Britain's Chris Froome made no ground on Vuelta a Espana leader Nairo Quintana as Mathias Frank won stage 17.

Team Sky's Froome remains three minutes 37 seconds behind Colombian Quintana after they finished together.

Swiss Frank, riding for IAM Cycling, won the 177.5km stage from Castellon to Llucena in four hours 34 minutes and 38 seconds.

Froome is bidding to become the first man for 38 years to win the Tour de France and Vuelta in the same season.

The top four in the general classification - Quintana, Froome, Esteban Chaves and Alberto Contador - crossed the line together three minutes 27 seconds behind breakaway rider Frank.

Froome's rivals attacked in the closing stages of the steep finish to the summit of the Alto Mas de la Costa, but he twice clawed back lost ground.

Team-mate Leopold Koenig finished second, six seconds behind Frank, and Robert Gesink third, a further five seconds adrift.

Four stages remain in the third and final Grand Tour of 2016, with Thursday's flatter 200.6km stage from Requena to Gandia expected to suit the sprinters.

Froome's hopes of a first Vuelta victory appear to rest largely on his gaining time in the 37km individual time trial on Friday.

Stage 17 result:

1. Mathias Frank (Swi/IAM Cycling) 4hrs 21mins 18secs

2. Leopold Koenig (Cze/Team Sky) +6secs

3. Robert Gesink (Net/LottoNL) +11secs

4. Pello Bilbao (Spa/Caja Rural) +14secs

5. Dario Cataldo (Ita/Astana) +16secs

6. Jose Herrada (Spa/ Movistar) +29secs

7. Axel Domont (Fra/AG2R) +48secs

8. Bart de Clercq (Bel/Lotto) +57secs

9. Kristijan Durasek (Cro/Lampre) +1min 02secs

10. Haimar Zubeldia (Spa/Trek) +1min 04secs

Selected:

24. Alberto Contador (Spa/Tinkoff) +3mins 27secs

25. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) +3mins 27secs

26. Nairo Quintana (Col/Movistar) +3mins 27secs

27. Esteban Chaves (Col/Orica) +3mins 27secs

General classification after stage 17:

1. Nairo Quintana (Col/Movistar) 69hrs 35mins 32 secs

2. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) +3mins 37secs

3. Esteban Chaves (Col/Orica) +3 mins 57secs

4. Alberto Contador (Spa/Tinkoff) +4mins 02secs

5. Simon Yates (GB/Orica) +6mins 03secs

6. Andrew Talansky (US/Cannondale) +7mins 34secs

7. Samuel Sanchez (Spa/BMC Racing) +8mins 12secs

8. Davide Formolo (Ita/Cannondale) +8mins 13secs

9. Michele Scarponi (Ita/Astana) +8mins 28secs

10. David de la Cruz (Spa/Etixx - Quick-Step) +8mins 52secs

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