Chris Froome all but secured first Vuelta a Espana victory and a historic modern-day Tour/Vuelta double following an emphatic ride on the Alto de L’Angliru.
Wout Poels and Froome crossed the line second and third respectively on stage 20. That was enough to ensure Froome carries an advantage of two minutes and 15 seconds into the final day, and just has to cross the line in Madrid to make sure of his second Grand Tour victory of 2017.
“It’s an absolutely incredible feeling and what a way to end such a massive three weeks of racing, and of course for me now having completed the Tour/Vuelta double – that’s an amazing feeling,” he said.
“I have to say it’s probably the toughest Grand Tour I’ve ridden, this year’s Vuelta. Every day was something else. It’s just such a big relief to have now got to this point and I’m looking forward to getting to Madrid tomorrow. I’ve been trying for years and I’ve been second three times, so to win the Vuelta now is incredible.
“[The Angliru] was such a tough climb. We certainly did learn a big lesson back in 2011 riding up here in not quite the right gearing. Today we were well prepared. I have to say congrats to Contador finishing it off the way he did. What a way to end his career on a climb like that. Myself and Wout we did everything we could to try and catch him in the final there. Personally I was really hoping Wout would be able to get the stage win by he proved too strong for us today.
“For now I’m just happy to get to Madrid tomorrow. It’s an incredible feeling. The team has just been incredible over the last few weeks. It’s just meant to much to me, the way everyone has supported us has been fantastic. I just want to say thanks so much to everyone and of course thanks to my family back home for all the support and morale they’ve given me out on the road.”