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Fabio Aru wins stage 11 of the Vuelta a Espana

Fabio Aru sprinted to victory in stage 11 of the Vuelta a Espana on a day in which Nairo Quintana crashed again and withdrew.

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Aru (Astana) timed his attack to perfection to win the 153.4-kilometre stage from Pamplona to San Miguel de Aralar by six seconds on Wednesday.

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) retained his lead over Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) in the general classification, but the former's advantage was slashed to 20 seconds after Valverde received a bonus for finishing second.

Just behind Valverde were Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha), Contador and Chris Froome of Team Sky.

Robert Gesink (Belkin) was hauled in with less than 1.5km remaining and Aru, who made an early move for the line, could not be caught.

However, the day's headlines were dominated by Quintana's withdrawal.

The winner of this year's Giro d'Italia led the event going into Tuesday's 10th stage but crashed and saw his realistic hopes of victory dashed after losing nearly three-and-a-half minutes on Contador.

He vowed to ride on in support of team-mate Valverde, only to see those plans scuppered when he fell again on Wednesday.

Quintana landed on his right shoulder after 20 kilometres and was taken away by an ambulance for tests in Pamplona.

Movistar later confirmed the pre-race favourite had withdrawn on their official Facebook page, adding that Quintana will undergo surgery on Thursday.

Steve Morabito (BMC) was also involved in the crash with Quintana and withdrew from the race.

Contador started brightly and charged to the front of a group of more than 30 riders in a successful bid to win three bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint. Valverde was just behind him, though, and took two.

Eventually Elia Favilli (Lampre-Merida), Johan Le Bon (FDJ.fr), Pim Ligthart (Lotto-Belisol) and Vasil Kiryienka (Team Sky) broke away as Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.fr) and Maxime Bouet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) also quit the race.

The gap grew to four minutes and was still at three minutes and 15 seconds with 32km remaining, but the brave efforts of the leading pack proved in vain as the peloton caught up with just 9km to go.

A fascinating finish followed, as all the general classification contenders loomed large and a host of riders made moves.

Gesink appeared the likely victor for a short period, only for Aru to ultimately claim the day's honours.

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