Movistar rider Nairo Quintana took a sensational stage victory on the final day of the Vuelta a Burgos while also sealing the overall win.
With no fewer than seven categorised climbs, the queen stage of the race was set to be the key deciding factor in who would take the general classification, and it was Quintana who added more glory to what has been a sensational season for the Colombian.
The decisive moment of the race came on the final climb of the day; a steep hors-categorie hill which desomated the main group, upon which Vicenzo Nibali (Astana) launched an attack at five kilometres to go.
But the Italian wasn't alone, as Quintana, Ivan Basso (Cannondale) and David Arroyo (Caja Rural) followed the 2013 Giro D'Italia champion up the testy climb to leave only four riders in contention for victory.
Arroyo made the first attack, but it only served to inspire a response from Nibali and Quintana with the latter driving clear of his rivals towards the finish line.
Nibali ended the stage in fourth, 48" back on Quintana, while Basso and Arroyo took the remaining places, finishing 25" and 23" respectively behind the winner.
The day's result pushed Quintana to the overall win, while Arroyo finished second 23" off and Nibali in third at 55" adrift.
There were a number of early attempts at a breakaway during the stage, but only one held out for a significant period as five riders, including Ben Gastauer (AG2R-La Mondiale), Robinson Chalapud (Colombia), Amets Txurruka (Caja Rural), Igor Merino (Euskadi) and Francesco Failli (Vini Fantini), escaped before the first categorised climb.
It was Movistar who reeled them in however, setting the pace so high that only 17 riders remained with two climbs to go, ensuring another victory in an outstanding year for Nairo Quintana.
Richard began working with Cycling Weekly in 2013 alongside the then web editor, Nigel Wynn. Taking over as digital editor or Cycling Weekly and mbr in 2014, Richard coordinates site content and strategy with the team.
WorldTour transfers 2022: All of the men's and women's new signings for the 2022 season
Who's changing teams for 2022 and who's retiring from the world of professional cycling
By Tim Bonville-Ginn •
Here are all the riders retiring from the men's & women's WorldTour peloton in 2021
A list of every rider who is hanging up the bike and stepping back from racing at the end of 2021
By Tim Bonville-Ginn •