The 2014 Vuelta a Espana started with a team time trial and finished with an individual ride against the clock, but it was in the mountains that the race was decided.

Thanks to both crashing out of the Tour de France, Alberto Contador and Chris Froome went head to head in the 2014 Vuelta a Espana.

This stellar start list gave the third Grand Tour of the year a welcome boost, and meant for some aggressive and entertaining racing.

It was the home rider who came out on top but Froome pushed him all the way to the final stage, and was rewarded with the overall combativity award for his efforts.

Nairo Quintana also took the start and held the red leader’s jersey until a crash on the stage 10 time trial forced him out of the race.

Looking ahead to the 2015 race and the line-up is already looking very good indeed. Astana look set to send a strong team, and Chris Froome is considering a tilt at a race that he has already finished second in.

Images from the last mountain stage of the 2014 Vuelta a Espana, won by Alberto Contador. Photos by Graham Watson

Chris Froome moved from third to second overall after stage 18 of the Vuelta a Espana today, won by Fabio Aru. Froome (Sky) finished runner-up to Aru (Astana) on the…