EL POBLE NOU DE BENITATXELL, Spain (AP) Tom Dumoulin passed Tour de France winner Chris Froome with about 50 meters (yards) left in a steep climb to win the ninth stage and take the overall lead of the Spanish Vuelta on Sunday.
Froome jumped ahead with less than 200 meters to go but couldn’t hold off the Dutchman’s late charge for his first stage victory in this year’s Vuelta.
Dumoulin crossed the line in 4 hours, 9 minutes, 55 seconds. Froome had his best stage so far and finished only 2 seconds behind, but the British rider remains more than a minute back in the overall standings.
Former leader Esteban Chaves of Colombia struggled at the end of the climb and finished nearly a minute behind Dumoulin, losing the leader’s red jersey and dropping to third overall. Joaquin Rodriguez of Spain was in the mix near the end Sunday and finished third, moving to second place overall, 57 seconds behind Dumoulin.
Dumoulin and Chaves were involved in an early pileup nearly an hour into the 168.3-kilometer (104.5-mile) ride from Torrevieja to the Cumbre del Sol, or “Summit of the Sun” peak. Alejandro Valverde also got caught up in the early accident and briefly needed medical assistance before recovering to finish seventh. Nario Quintana of Colombia was sixth.
Jasper Stuyven of Belgium did not race because of an injury sustained Saturday in a stage he went on to win. Peter Sagan, who was accidentally taken out by a motorbike near the end of Saturday’s stage, also had to withdraw.
Several other riders were injured in that eighth stage, none more seriously than Kris Boeckmans of Belgium, who suffered a concussion, facial trauma and an injured lung. Before Sunday’s stage, Vuelta organizers said Boeckmans underwent surgery overnight and was in a stable condition. Doctors said that on Monday they would consider waking Boeckmans from an induced coma.
Chaves also was involved in a pileup before recovering to retain the lead on Saturday.
The 10th stage of the three-week Vuelta, a 146.6-kilometer (91.1-mile) leg from Valencia to Castellon, has a climb less than 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the finish but should end with a sprint.