Menchov takes penultimate Vuelta stage as contenders have one last dig

Denis Menchov wins stage, Vuelta a Espana 2012, stage 20

Billed as a ‘now or never' Vuelta a Espana stage for both the general classification as well as teams looking to salvage something from the race, it turned out to be a bust on both counts - though not for want of trying. Denis Menchov won the stage to save his season, although it was hardly compensation for Katusha not carrying off the overall.

As far as the battle for the overall classification went, Menchov's team leader Rodriguez gave it his best shot inside the final four crazy steep kilometres, but it was never going to be enough to recover the more than two minutes lead Contador had on him at the start of the day - short of Contador breaking down physically or mechanically. It didn't happen and Contador has - barring disasters - won the 2012 Vuelta.

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