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Aqua Blue sport team bus damaged overnight ahead of 12th stage of La Vuelta

Irish team Aqua Blue Sport had their bus damaged by an alleged arsonist overnight ahead of Thursday's 12th stage of La Vuelta.

The team posted photos on social media showing the rear of the bus was gutted by the fire in Almeria.

Aqua Blue Sport wrote on Twitter: "Our team bus has been completely damaged in a cowardly arson attack over night. No one was injured. Police have arrested a suspect."

Aqua Blue Sport were staying at the Tryp Indalo Hotel in Almeria overnight and the bus was parked outside.

Cycling teams use their buses as their base for riders to change and to hold team meetings, as well as transport.

The Cork-registered team are making their Grand Tour debut in the Tour of Spain and remain committed to the race.

Race organisers have provided Aqua Blue Sport with a 52-seater coach for use on Thursday's 12th stage from Motril to Antequera Los Dolmenes. The race finishes in Madrid on September 10.


Froome wins stage nine of La Vuelta to extend lead in red jersey

Credit: PA

Great Britain's Chris Froome extended his La Vuelta lead by winning stage nine ahead of nearest rival Esteban Chaves at Cumbre del Sol.

Froome attacked with 500 metres to go of the steeply uphill finish and looked to have built a decisive gap, only for Chaves to dig deep and get back onto Froome's back wheel.

However, Froome (Team Sky) was able to accelerate again and pulled clear to win by four seconds and extend his lead over Chaves (Orica-Scott) in the general classification to 36 seconds.

After the last survivor of an initial 10-man breakaway was finally caught by the peloton with six kilometres remaining, Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) twice tried to escape from the bunch on the final climb.

But Froome refused to panic and sat calmly behind team-mate Mikel Nieve at the front of the group containing the title contenders, none of whom were able to overtake.

The four-time Tour de France winner eventually hit the front with 500m remaining and was able to respond when Chaves briefly caught him with 200m to go to maintain a firm grip on the leader's red jersey.

"I put everything I had into that last couple of hundred metres," Froome said after his first stage win of 2017. "I was determined that they weren't going to catch me.

"I'm really, really happy to get the victory. The team did a brilliant job on that final climb and set such a good tempo.

"After a week we couldn't have asked to be in a better position. It's been a fantastic start to the Vuelta. The legs are feeling great. I've been to the Vuelta so many times, trying to target this race, and so far it feels like everything is going really well."

Monday is a rest day before stage 10 sees the riders tackle the 164.8km from Caravaca to El Pozo.


Chris Froome takes the red jersey after stage 3 of La Vuelta a Espana

Credit: PA

Team Sky's Chris Froome has taken the red jersey and leads the Vuelta a Espana, as Italy's Vincenzo Nibali won the third stage.

The 2017 Tour de France champion finished third on the stage behind Spain's David de la Cruz.

Froome is challenging to become only the third rider to win both the Tour de France and la Vuelta in the same year.

He holds a two-second advantage over Spaniard David de la Cruz of Team Quick-Step Floors. Further back is Ireland's Nicolas Roche and Tejay van Garderen, whilst stage winner Nibali is 10 seconds back.

However it was a disappointing day for Alberto Contador who was dropped and now sits over 3 minutes behind Froome.

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