Magnificent Majka climbs to Vuelta stage 14 win as Froome protects lead

Cycling: Froome cedes ground to Nibali in difficult stage

Matteo Trentin wins 13th La Vuelta stage to claim hat-trick but Chris Froome keeps lead by 59 seconds

Team Sky's Chris Froome retained the lead in Vuelta a Espana as Bora-Hansgrohe's Rafal Majka soloed to victory on stage 14 from Ecija to Sierra de La Pandera.

Froome countered Vincenzo Nibali's move on the final climb and widened his advantage over him by six seconds. "I was really confident".

"I nearly got to go home", explained the Polish suffering during the first week.

Bora-Hansgrohe rider Rafal Majka clinched victory in Stage 14 of the 2017 Vuelta a Espana on Saturday after emerging on top after a fearless last-gasp climb to Sierra de la Pandera.

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Anastasia Rodionova and Ukraine's Nadiia Kichenok also went out, 4-6 6-2 6-1 against Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina. The 30-year-old Russian couldn't convert a key break point at 4-3 in the second set, and the Latvian captured momentum.

At the time of going to press, Chris Froome is still leading the pack after he finished second on the 11 stage, 187.5km route from Lorca to Observatorio de Calar Alto.

"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.

Froome is trying to win the Vuelta for the first time after finishing the grand tour runner-up on three occasions.

Miguel Angel Lopez was 27 seconds back in second.

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Froome had terrible memories of last year's Vuelta stage 15, when Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) and eventual victor Nairo Quintana (Movistar) attacked from the starting gun, leaving the now four-time Tour de France victor isolated from his team and wrecking his bid to win the overall race. I felt good form the beginning, I was climbing easy. I think it was the right decision, we've kept the energy for the stage tomorrow [Sunday], " responded Froome.

The stage, which finished at the Sierra Nevada ski station, featured two first category and one "outside category" climbs in the final 70 kilometres. "This will be one of the most decisive of the Vuelta", prophesies Froome.

"Anything can happen", warned the Spanish (8th in 3 minutes and 19 seconds), at which it remains, "seven days of cycling in the legs" before retiring on the evening of the final stage, the 10 September in Madrid.

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