Herrada wins Vuelta stage as Kuss retains overall lead


Jesus Herrada has proved the strongest at the end of an uphill finish to win stage 11 of the Vuelta a Espana, while Sepp Kuss maintained the overall race lead.

The 163.5 kilometre ride from Lerma to La Laguna Negra on Wednesday was characterised by numerous early breakaway attempts, all foiled by the peloton.

With almost 50 kilometres gone, a 26-man group, including Herrada, made the break which counted, with the Spaniard making his decisive move with less than 300 metres left.

Romain Gregoire finished second, three seconds behind Herrada, with Andreas Kron third.

The main contenders for the overall lead all came in almost six minutes behind the winner, with American surprise forntrunner Sepp Kuss retaining the red jersey.

The main bunch, controlled by the Soudal-Quickstep team near the end, were happy to allow the final breakaway group to extend the gap to over five minutes, with no threat to the overall leaders.

"Today can go in all directions but for us today we hope it's a breakaway stage so we can save something for tomorrow," last year's winner Remco Evenepoel said before the start.

The breakaway group contained Filippo Ganna, winner of Tuesday's time trial, along with his Ineos Grenadiers team mate Geraint Thomas.

After a mostly flat ride, the stage ended with a category one climb for the final 6.5 kilometres.

Shortly into the final climb, Ganna set the pace, his power reducing the leading group to nine riders.

Ganna had done all the hard work but his teammate Geraint Thomas was unable to take advantage.

"I felt that I had no real gas at the end. Bit limited, but we gave everything and that's what we had on the day," former Tour de France winner Thomas said.

"But the final climb was too steep. I couldn't quite finish it off but we'll keep trying," added the Welshman, who had to be content with a fifth-place finish.

Jonathan Caicedo tried to break for home and held the lead with 300 metres to go, but was passed by a trio including Herrada who made the final telling break to snatch his third career stage win at La Vuelta.

The top five in the general classification all came in five minutes 50 seconds down on the stage winner.

Kuss still holds a 26-second lead over Marc Soler, with Evenepoel in third place and Primoz Roglic in fourth.

Herrada's stage win saw the Cofidis rider take over as leader in the mountains classification, ahead of Eduardo Sepulveda and Evenepoel, while Australian sprinter Kaden Groves still leads the points classification by 79 points from Evenepoel.

Thursday's stage 12 is a flat 151-kilometre ride from Olvega to Zaragoza with Groves having the chance for a third stage win.

The leading Australian in the general classification is Team dsm-firmenich's Chris Hamilton in 68th place, three places and one-and-a-half minutes ahead of Michael Storer (Groupama-FDJ)