Chris Froome attempts to put time into Alberto Contador in mountain finale, but Contador is too strong

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) strengthened his overall lead in the Vuelta a Espana on Sunday, winning the race’s final mountain test and putting more time into his rivals.

Chris Froome (Sky) placed second, with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) in third.

Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre-Merida) was the sole survivor of the day’s original four-man escape group that also included Wouter Poels (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Jerome Coppel (Cofidis) and Maxime Mederel (Europcar). Niemiec ploughed a lone furrow at the start of the final climb of Puerto de Ancares, but the Sky-led peloton whittled down his advantage and he was caught just after the 10km-to-go marker.

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) attacked with 8.5km to go, and Valverde tried to follow but dropped back and was caught by Froome, Contador and Fabio Aru (Astana). Froome and Contador then dropped Valverde and Aru to catch Rodriguez with 5.5km to go, with Froome setting the pace. Rodriguez paid for his earlier efforts was distanced with 4km to go.

Froome continued setting the pace, with Contador glued to his rear wheel. Contador then attacked Froome in the final kilometre, dropping the British rider and taking the stage win to cement his race lead.

Just Sunday’s final, short 9.7km individual time trial remains to sort out the winner of the 2014 Vuelta a Espana – but it looks highly unlikely that anyone can overhaul Contador now.

Results
Vuelta a Espana 2014, stage 20: Santo Estevo de Ribas de Sil to Puerto de Ancares, 185.7km

1. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
2. Chris Froome (GBr) Sky at 16 secs
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 57 secs
4. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 1-18
5. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 1-21
6. Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Shimano at 2-51
7. Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha at 2-55
8. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing at 2-58
9. Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis at 3-15
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale at 3-20

Overall classification after stage 20
1. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo in 81-12-13
2. Chris Froome (GBr) Sky at 1-37
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 2-35
4. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 3-57
5. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 4-46
6. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing at 10-07
7. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 10-24
8. Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Shimano at 12-13
9. Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis at 13-09
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale at 13-15

Chris Froome and Alberto Contador on stage 20 of the 2014 Tour of Spain

Chris Froome and Alberto Contador on stage 20 of the 2014 Tour of Spain

  • poisonjunction

    Monitoring ones performance a-la-race and maintaining cadence and gear ratio within predetermined personal parameters, seems key to Froomes performance’s. But a not infrequent consequence is his inability and or lack of confidence, to maintain an increase in cadence or gear to match challengers opposing him in a higher ratio as they speed off at a faster rate, usually in the wake of filming motorcycles et al!

    Similarly if he attacks he rarely changes gear – simply increasing his cadence. His adversaries usually counter by a simple change to a higher gear, digging deeper for a few revs, then sit comfortably on his back wheel, and wait.

    20 [or more] gears to choose from, all battery powered for excellence. If say, he currently rev’s a 63″ gear, there must be a 66″ amongst those 20 available ………. just my opinion. Has Brailsford more work to do?