PENISCOLA, Spain — Nairo Quintana of Colombia comfortably held on to his Spanish Vuelta lead as Jean-Pierre Drucker of Luxembourg sprinted to win Monday’s flat stage in northeastern Spain.
Quintana maintained his advantage of 3 minutes, 37 seconds over Britain’s Chris Froome at the end of the 156.4-kilometer (97.1-mile) run from Alcaniz to Peniscola. Esteban Chaves of Colombia remained third overall, 20 seconds back, followed closely by Spaniard Alberto Contador.
The uneventful 16th stage, the last before the race’s final rest day Tuesday, came after a three-day mountain marathon in which Quintana built his significant lead over Froome.
Quintana had increased his 54-second lead after leading the charge up the last of three ascents on Sunday while Froome and Team Sky struggled to pursue.
“We are close to our goal but we have some tough days ahead of us,” said Quintana, of Team Movistar.
Drucker outsprinted German riders Rudiger Selig and Nikias Arndt to clinch Monday’s victory for BMC Racing Team.
Drucker was among more than 90 riders who were allowed to remain in the race despite finishing outside the maximum time allowed behind the leaders in the previous stage, which racing officials said was atypical.
Wednesday’s 17th stage is back in the mountains for a 177.5-kilometer (110-mile) route that goes inland from Castellon to Llucena.