Chris Froome continued his assault on the Vuelta A Espana with an explosive late sprint on the Puig Llorenc climb to win stage nine, while Nicholas Roche finished ninth to remain third overall.

Froome increased his lead in the general classification to 36 seconds.
The Briton had support from Sky team mates Gianni Moscon and Mikel Nieve as the peloton caught up with the breakaway in the final climb of the 174km flat stage in Alicante province in punishing heat.
He darted ahead of Nieve in the final kilometres, holding off a late attack from nearest challenger Esteban Chaves while leaving Spaniard Alberto Contador behind, 12 seconds adrift.

The four-times Tour de France champion finished four seconds ahead of Chaves to extend his hold on the red jersey from 28 seconds to 36 over the Colombian and further boost his chances of becoming the first rider to do a Vuelta-Tour double since 1978.
Canada's Michael Woods finished five seconds behind Froome in third after a strong display from his Cannondale-Drapac team, who learned on Saturday that their future is up in the air as they struggle to find a sponsor for next season.