MADRID – Chris Froome (Team Sky) completed a rare same-year Tour-de-France-Vuelta a España double on Sunday, becoming the first cyclist from the United Kingdom to win the Spanish grand tour.
Froome finished 11th in the 21st and final stage, which provided little drama after Froome had topped his main rivals on Saturday in the brutal penultimate Corvera de Asturias – Alto de l’Angliru mountain stage.
The 32-year-old Froome finally achieved his goal in his sixth participation in the Vuelta, which had become a major personal goal after three second-place finishes. The Kenyan-born cyclist also became the first to complete the Tour-Vuelta double since France’s Bernard Hinault in 1978.
Froome led nearly from start to finish, having first put on the red jersey in the third stage and never relinquishing it.
He was joined on the podium by Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Russia’s Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin). Spain’s Alberto Contador, who won an emotional summit finish on Saturday at Angliru, finished fifth in his final career race.
In the anti-climactic final stage from Arroyomolinos to the Spanish capital, Matteo Trentin (Quick-Step Floors) came out on top in a bunch gallop for his fourth stage win.
Froome, who won the ninth and the 16th stages, was overjoyed at the result.
“It’s just incredible. Today in the finale I figured this would probably be the only time in my life to try and win the points classification in a Grand Tour. We gave it everything and managed to get a few points … I obviously couldn’t be happier with the result. It was a competition to be won and that’s it. I’m still coming to terms with everything. It’s been such an incredible journey,” he said afterward.