Canadian cyclist Michael Woods among top 10 at Vuelta

Canadian cyclist Michael Woods is sitting ninth after the 14th stage of the Spanish Vuelta, while Chris Froome of Great Britain maintained his overall lead.

Chris Froome maintains overall lead after 14th stage, Woods sits 9th

Canadian rider Michael Woods, middle, is seen crossing the finish line of the third stage of the Spanish Vuelta cycling race on Aug. 21. (Javier Lizon/EPA)

Canadian cyclist Michael Woods sits is in ninth place after the 14th stage of the Spanish Vuelta on Saturday, while Chris Froome of Great Britain maintained his overall lead.

Polish rider Rafal Majka won the mountainous 14th stage with a time of four hours, 42 minutes and 10 seconds. 

Woods, 30, posted the 11th-best time in the stage at 4:43:23. Froome was fourth at 4:42:41 over a distance of 175 kilometres.

Woods was once a promising middle-distance runner, but transitioned to cycling four years ago after his track career was derailed by an injury.

The Ottawa native began riding with Garneau-Quebecor in 2013 and is now with Cannondale, an American professional team. 

Woods finished 38th at the Giro d'Italia earlier this season. 

Meanwhile, Majka, who was third overall in the 2015 edition of this race, won on a solo breakaway up the final special-category ascent. 

Miguel Angel Lopez was 27 seconds back in second.

Vincenzo Nibali beat Froome to a third-placed finish for the stage, grabbing a four-second bonus that shaved Froome's lead over the Italian to 55 seconds.

Froome aiming for 1st Vuelta win

Nibali attacked Froome on the climb, but the four-time Tour de France winner kept him close and then closed the gap with two kilometres left on the punishing final ascent.

Froome is trying to win the Vuelta for the first time after finishing the grand tour runner-up on three occasions.

Majka said he relished the win after dropping out of overall contention in earlier stages when he felt ill.

"So I am really happy, not for me, but for my teammates because they did a really great job," Majka said. "I was really confident. I knew I had good legs."

Wilco Kelderman moved into third place overall at 2:17 behind Froome. Esteban Chaves fell to fifth behind Ilnur Zakarin.

Riders face another tough test in the southern mountains on Sunday. The 15th stage is a 129.4-kilometre ride over two category-one climbs before a special-category finish at Alta Hoya de la Mora. The three-week race ends in Madrid on Sept. 10.

With files from CBC Sports