clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Contador Seals Vuelta Title; Froome Can't Shake Rival

Jaime Reina, AFP/Getty

Tinkoff-Saxo's Alberto Contador has all but assured himself of his third Vuelta a España overall title, sticking to rival Chris Froome of Sky all the way up the race's final climb, the fearsome Puerto de Ancares. Froome and his Sky mates did all they could to set the pace, but the one rider they needed to dislodge, Contador, simply wasn't going anywhere. Amid attacks early and late, including a long one by Katusha's Joaquim Rodriguez and a painfully short one by Alejandro Valverde of Movistar, Froome set a steady, hard tempo, which ultimately only Contador could match. In the final kilometer, Contador celebrated his victory, climbing out of the saddle and dancing on the graves of his rivals, passing a broken-at-last Froome for the stage victory and an additional 16 seconds with which to pad his lead. Nothing short of a major disaster in the final 9.7km time trial tomorrow can steal victory from the Madrileno.

Przemislaw Niemiec and Jerome Coppel were the last among the day's break to animate the stage, with Niemiec surviving out front alone, to the early phase of the Ancares. But this was clearly a day for the top favorites, with the virtual podium riding together as the climb tilted up over roads exceeding 15% gradient. Rodriguez took an early shot at stage glory, hoping to climb onto the podium from his fourth place, but his dreams were limited all along by a consistent inability to summon his once-fearsome climbing powers all the way to the line. Sky maintained relative control, even setting up Froome for a time bonus sprint early on in the final climb, but Contador was glued to Froome's wheel, rather than following teammates, making it clear what his strategy would be on this day. Froome gently lifted the pace from time to time, but never got more than a few meters on Contador. El Pistolero simply was too strong to be broken.

At this point there is little at stake tomorrow. The time gaps are too great between each of the top six spots for anyone to make a move over a short course. Sure, there will be a battle between 6 and 6, but few fans will take an interest in that. Ultimately, we have the final-day procession one would expect from a grand tour.

Stage:

1. ESPCONTADOR, Alberto 201 Tinkoff - Saxo 5h 11' 43''
2. GBRFROOME, Christopher 191 Team SKY 5h 11' 59'' + 16''
3. ESPVALVERDE, Alejandro 151 Movistar Team 5h 12' 40'' + 57''
4. ESPRODRIGUEZ, Joaquin 131 Team Katusha 5h 13' 01'' + 1' 18''
5. ITAARU, Fabio 21 Astana Pro Team 5h 13' 04'' + 1' 21''
6. FRABARGUIL, Warren 111 Team Giant - Shimano 5h 14' 34'' + 2' 51''
7. ITACARUSO, Giampaolo 132 Team Katusha 5h 14' 38'' + 2' 55''
8. ESPSÁNCHEZ, Samuel 41 BMC Racing Team 5h 14' 41'' + 2' 58''
9. ESPNAVARRO, Daniel 71 Cofidis Solutions Crédits 5h 14' 58'' + 3' 15''
10. ITACARUSO, Damiano 65 Cannondale Pro Cycling 5h 15' 03'' + 3' 20''

GC

1. ESPCONTADOR, Alberto 201 Tinkoff - Saxo 81h 12' 13''
2. GBRFROOME, Christopher 191 Team SKY 81h 13' 50'' + 1' 37''
3. ESPVALVERDE, Alejandro 151 Movistar Team 81h 14' 48'' + 2' 35''
4. ESPRODRIGUEZ, Joaquin 131 Team Katusha 81h 16' 10'' + 3' 57''
5. ITAARU, Fabio 21 Astana Pro Team 81h 16' 59'' + 4' 46''
6. ESPSÁNCHEZ, Samuel 41 BMC Racing Team 81h 22' 20'' + 10' 07''
7. IRLMARTIN, Daniel 102 Garmin Sharp 81h 22' 37'' + 10' 24''
8. FRABARGUIL, Warren 111 Team Giant - Shimano 81h 24' 26'' + 12' 13''
9. ESPNAVARRO, Daniel 71 Cofidis Solutions Crédits 81h 25' 22'' + 13' 09''
10. ITACARUSO, Damiano 65 Cannondale Pro Cycling 81h 25' 28'' + 13' 15''