LLUCENA, Spain — Nairo Quintana of Colombia maintained his comfortable lead over Chris Froome as the Spanish Vuelta entered its final stages on Wednesday.
Mathias Frank of Switzerland broke from the peloton to win the 177.5-kilometer (110-mile) 17th stage from Castellon to Llucena, with Quintana crossing the line along with Froome and his other close followers to maintain a 3 minute, 37 second lead with four days to go.
Esteban Chaves of Colombia remains a further 20 seconds back in the overall standings, with Spain’s Alberto Contador close behind in fourth place.
“I’ve done well defending my position and I hope to keep doing that in the final days,” said Quintana, a two-time runner-up at the Tour de France who is seeking his first Spanish Vuelta title.
Britain’s Froome lagged behind through the final ascent, but was able to catch up with Quintana and avoid losing more time in the stage that came after the race’s final rest day on Tuesday.
Frank charged to the front with about 30 kilometers (18 miles) left and held on for the victory, finishing six seconds ahead of Leopold Konig of the Czech Republic.
“I told myself I just wanted to have fun and finally I have a victory after more than two years,” Frank said. “Winning a Grand Tour stage is just amazing.”
The riders go back to sea level for Thursday’s 200-kilometer (124-mile) flat stage from Requena to Gandia.