Vuelta a Espana: Chris Froome almost assured of win as Alberto Contador shines

Chris Froome will win La Vuelta after finishing runner-up on three occasions

Chris Froome has effectively become the first Briton to win the Vuelta a Espana after Alberto Contador won the penultimate stage of this year’s race.

The Team Sky rider finished 17 seconds behind three-time winner Contador to extend his lead over Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali to two minutes, 15 seconds.

Contador, who retires after the race, surged clear on the gruelling 13.2km ascent of Alto de Angliru.

Sunday’s finale is largely processional and Froome will not be challenged.

If the 32-year-old completes the stage, which is expected to finish in a bunch sprint in Madrid, he will become just the third man in history to win the Tour de France and Vuelta in the same year, following Jacques Anquetil (1963) and Bernard Hinault (1978).

Contador delivered a dominant show of climbing and at one point collided with a spectator

Froome has finished second in the Vuelta on three occasions but flanked by his team-mates he never looked in danger of losing his advantage on Saturday as riders faced up to the gruelling summit finish in northern Spain.

Contador, who has won seven Grand Tours, including three Vuelta a Espanas in a glittering career, grimaced on his way up the Angliru, where the gradient rises to more than 20% in the closing few kilometres.

The Spaniard, 34, pushed clear in the final 6km. At one point he was almost forced to a standstill when he collided with a spectator as boisterous fans spilled onto the roads.

He celebrated wildly as he crossed the line moments before Team Sky’s Wout Poels led Froome home, all but ensuring the Tour-Vuelta double.

Stage 20 result

Stage 20 is known for it’s ascents and has been described as “vicious” by Froome in the past

1. Alberto Contador (Spa/Trek-Segafredo) 3hrs 31mins 33secs

2. Wout Poels (Ned/Team Sky) +17secs

3. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) Same time

4. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus/Katusha-Alpecin) +35secs

5. Franco Pellizotti (Ita/Bahrain-Merida) +51secs

6. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita/Bahrain-Merida) Same time

7. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned/LottoNL-Jumbo)

8. Wilco Kelderman (Ned/Team Sunweb) +1min 11secs

9. Romain Bardet (Fra/AG2R La Mondiale) +1min 25secs

10. Michael Woods (Can/Cannondale-Drapac) +1min 36secs

More to follow.

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