Vuelta a Espana: Chris Froome takes red jersey as Vincenzo Nibali wins third stage

Vincenzo Nibali won the Vuelta in 2010
Vincenzo Nibali won the Vuelta in 2010

Britain's Chris Froome has taken the red jersey and leads the Vuelta a Espana, as Italy's Vincenzo Nibali won the third stage.

The four-time Tour de France champion finished third on the stage, with Spain's David de la Cruz in second.

The Team Sky rider is aiming to become the third man to win the Tour de France and Vuelta in the same year.

He holds a two-second advantage over De la Cruz, Nicolas Roche and Tejay van Garderen, with Nibali 10 seconds back.

Froome made his move to lead with 7.8km of the stage remaining as the race entered Spain for the first time through the Pyrenees mountains, ending in Andorra.

Former winner and Bahrain-Merida rider Nibali, one of Froome's major rivals, attacked in the final 400m, but Froome had done enough to move up from ninth to first in the general classicisation.

"It's been a long time since I had the red jersey, it feels amazing to put it back on," said Froome, 32.

"To be in this position is something I've thought about for a long time and I worked really hard after the Tour."

Despite three second-placed finishes at the Vuelta, it is the first time Froome has led the race since 2011.

He added: "It's only two seconds to the next group of riders. It's still really close. I don't expect to keep it until the end but I'm certainly going to fight for it."

Britain's Adam Yates is 39 seconds behind Froome, with his twin brother and Orica-Scott team-mate Simon Yates 48 seconds off the pace.

Spain's Trek-Segafredo rider Alberto Contador, who is retiring from professional cycling after the race, dropped to 30th - more than three minutes behind Froome, while other pre-race favourites Fabio Aru and Romain Bardet moved into the top 10.

Belgium's Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Floors), who led after stage two, is in 147th place, 23 minutes and five seconds behind.

Tuesday's fourth stage is a 198.2km route which takes the riders from Escaldes-Engordany in Andorra, through the Catalan region of north-east Spain to the Mediterranean coast at Tarragona.

Stage three result

1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita/Bahrain-Merida) 4hrs 01mins 22secs

2. David De La Cruz (Spa/Quick-Step Floors) Same time

3. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky)

4. Romain Bardet (Fra/AG2R La Mondiale)

5. Esteban Chaves (Col/Orica-Scott)

6. Fabio Aru (Ita/Astana Pro Team)

7. Nicolas Roche (Ire/BMC Racing Team)

8. Tejay van Garderen (US/BMC Racing Team)

9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita/AG2R La Mondiale)

10. Michael Woods (Can/Cannondale-Drapac) +25secs

General classification

1. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) 8hrs 53mins 44secs

2. David De La Cruz (Spa/Quick-Step Floors) +2secs

3. Nicolas Roche (Ire/BMC Racing Team) Same time

4. Tejay van Garderen (US/BMC Racing Team)

5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita/Bahrain-Merida) +10secs

6. Esteban Chaves (Col/Orica-Scott) +11secs

7. Fabio Aru (Ita/Astana Pro Team) +38secs

8. Adam Yates (GB/Orica-Scott)+39secs

9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita/AG2R La Mondiale) +43secs

10. Romain Bardet (Fra/AG2R La Mondiale) +48secs

Selected others

11. Simon Yates (GB/Orica-Scott) +48secs

30. Alberto Contador (Spa/Trek-Segafredo) +3mins 10secs


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