CORVERA DE ASTURIAS, Spain – Spain’s Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) won the 20th stage of the Vuelta a España cycling race on Saturday, while Briton Chris Froome (Sky) continues to hold a commanding lead in the general classification ahead of Sunday’s final stage.
Contador won the 117.5-kilometer (73-mile) stage between Corvera de Asturias and Alto de l’Angliru, finishing 17 seconds ahead of Team Sky cyclists Wout Poels of the Netherlands and Froome, who finished second and third, respectively.
Russia’s Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha Alpecin) came in fourth, 35 seconds behind Contador.
The 34-year-old Contador, who had announced that this year’s Vuelta would be his final race, said his victory in Saturday’s brutal mountain stage was the perfect way to cap off his career.
“I think you could have a thousand different farewells, but it’s tough to end a sporting career in a better way than winning on the Angliru. It’s yet another thing for the history books. There couldn’t have been a better farewell,” Contador said.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy also hailed Contador’s achievement.
“Amazing finale by @albertocontador on the Alto de L’Angliru. Proud of a great figure in cycling. The good ones always win.”
But Saturday also was a big day for the world’s greatest cyclist.
Froome finished well ahead of his nearest rivals to virtually lock up the first Tour de France-Vuelta double since 1978.
A victory here also would make him the first Vuelta winner from the United Kingdom.
Froome leads second-placed Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) in the general classification by two minutes and 15 seconds, and has an edge of 2:51 minutes over the third-placed Zakarin and 3:11 minutes over the fourth-placed Contador.
The final 117.5- kilometer 21st stage is scheduled for Sunday between Arroyomolinos and Madrid.