CW’s British performances of 2011: No. 4

Number 4: Chris Froome wins at Pena Cabarga
Vuelta a Espana, September

Chris Froome, the quiet, unassuming man of Team Sky looked like becoming its forgotten man until an incredible campaign at the Vuelta a Espana.

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By the third week, Froome had surprised just about everyone. Probably even himself.

He had ridden superbly in support of Bradley Wiggins in the first week, then found himself in the leader’s red jersey after a brilliant time trial performance.

After that he just kept on going. We thought he might run out of gas at Lagos de Somiedo. He didn’t. We feared he may crack on the Angliru. He didn’t.

By the time the race reached stage 17, a tough mountain-top finish at Pena Cabarga, suddenly the Vuelta was up for grabs. All he had to do was distance Juan Jose Cobo.

Froome was magnificent and majestic, if ultimately unsuccesful.

The final 10 kilometres of the climb was old school edge-of-the-seat stuff as Froome attacked and Cobo dug deep.

More than once Froome must’ve thought he’d got him. More than once it looked like Froome himself was about to go pop.

The final kilometre was incredible entertainment. Cobo fought back and passed Froome only for Froome to dive for the inside line round the last bend and pip him to the stage win.

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