Aqua Blue Sport, an Irish team founded by Cork-born businessman Rick Delaney, secured a historic win on stage 17 of the Vuelta a Espana this afternoon.

Austrian Stefan Denifl hung on as overall leader Chris Froome lost a huge chunk of his advantage in the event.

Team Sky rider Froome struggled on the special category climb to Alto de los Machucos, with Italy's Vincenzo Nibali cutting his overall lead by 42 seconds to 1:16.

Veteran Spanish rider Alberto Contador came in second, clawing back over a minute on Froome to keep the race for the red jersey alive, after the Briton's impressive time trial performance on Tuesday seemed to have ended it.

Aqua Blue Sport rider Denifl beat Contador by 28 seconds on the 180.5km run from Villadiego to Los Machucos in dangerous misty conditions with limited visibility.

The team’s bus was destroyed in a fire last week with damage estimated in hundreds of thousands of Euro.

Nicolas Roche is 17th in the overall classification after a 22nd place finish in today’s stage.