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Froome drifts as Matthew takes Vuelta lead

ESPN staff
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Chris Froome is 31 seconds off the overall lead © Getty Images
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Chris Froome's attempts to close on the Tour of Spain lead suffered a further blow after Australian Michael Matthews clinched stage three in a thrilling sprint finish.

Matthews, of Orica-GreenEdge, took the overall lead having finished the 197.8-km route between Cadiz and Arcos de la Frontera in five hours 12 minutes and 14 seconds, pipping Ireland's Dan Martin to the line.

He takes the red jersey from 2009 Vuelta winner Alejandro Valverde having been given a 10 second time bonus.

Froome clocked the same time as Matthews, as did rival Alberto Contador, with the Brit crossing the finish line in 10th. The Team Sky rider is now 17th in the overall standings.

Matthews tops the standings with an overall time of nine hours 27mins and 53secs, with race favourite Nairo Quintana four seconds adrift and Valverde third, 11 seconds off topspot.

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