Cycling: Froome leads the way for Team Sky

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The Independent Online

Team Sky enjoyed a memorable day on the 11th stage of the Vuelta a España yesterday, with Chris Froome taking the leader's red jersey and Bradley Wiggins bursting into the top three.

HTC's Tony Martin was the winner of the 47km (29-mile) stage around Salamanca, recording a time of 55 minutes and 54 seconds. Froome was just 59 seconds behind him, though, with Wiggins a further 23 second back.

Yesterday's gains mean Froome has moved 13 places up the general classification, and he leads the race from Jakob Fuglsang by 12 seconds. Wiggins, his more illustrious team-mate, is only 20 seconds off the lead in third place, and will be viewing tomorrow's arduous 167km ride from Verin to Estacion de Montana Manzaneda as his chance to seize control.

Meanwhile, the final set of drug tests conducted at this year's Tour de France all produced negative results, cycling's world governing body, the UCI, has announced.

HTC rider Alexandr Kolobnev tested positive for the banned diuretic hydrochlorothiazide after stage four of the event, but the sport's governing body said all subsequent samples had been given the all-clear.

A statement from the UCI said: "The Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation has received the complete and final results of the tests carried out at the Tour de France 2011. The last samples received from the Chatenay-Malabry, Lausanne and Cologne laboratories all showed a negative result."

The UCI president, Pat McQuaid, believes the results indicate cycling's authorities are on course to eradicate the doping problems which have blighted the sport in recent years.

"This excellent news further highlights the quality of the various anti-doping measures brought in by the UCI in recent years, especially the introduction of the biological passport," McQuaid said.

Floyd Landis, Michael Rasmussen and the 2010 winner Alberto Contador are among those who have tested positive for banned substances.

Contador's case will be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in November. He tested positive for clenbuterol in last year's event, but blamed contaminated meat and was acquitted by the Spanish Cycling Federation. The UCI and World Anti-Doping Agency are appealing.