ARAMON FORMIGAL, Spain (AP) — Warren Barguil of France won the mountainous 16th stage of the Spanish Vuelta by perfectly timing his final sprint up the steep Aramon Formigal peak on Monday, while Vincenzo Nibali fended off his rivals to retain the overall lead.
The 21-year-old Argos-Shimano rider looked tired in the final stretch up the category 1 ascent, but finished in 3 hours, 43 minutes, 31 seconds, just ahead of Rigoberto Uran of Colombia, who finished with the same time.
Poland's Bartosz Huzarski was third, three seconds behind, on the 146-kilometer (91-mile) ride from Graus to Aramon Formigal. "Today it was a very nice race for me," Barguil said. "I had very good legs and I attacked. Then, when I saw Uran coming after me, I thought I would wait a bit and held back to see if I could still sprint a bit at the end, and I did."
Nibali also appeared to struggle on the final ascent, losing time to Christopher Horner of the United States, but he remained in the overall lead, 28 seconds ahead of the American. "It was a difficult stage with the wind against us," Nibali said. "I thought I would be in better shape, but it was a very difficult ascent. The last three kilometers were very tough, especially after three difficult days of racing, but I'm still optimistic."
With three kilometers to go, Uran began to attack Barguil on the climb up the 5,906-foot Aramon Formigal peak, which is set in the mountainous landscape of the former kingdom of Aragon, now a region in northeastern Spain.
The stage had also included a category-3 climb up Puerto de la Foradada and a category-2 ascent up Puerto de Cotefablo. The race resumes after a day's rest with the 17th stage on Wednesday, a 189-kilometer (117-mile) ride from Calahorra to Burgos.