Nairo Quintana adds Vuelta win to cycling resume

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    Nairo Quintana won the Vuelta (Image: Team Sky)

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    Movistar rider Nairo Quintana won the Spanish Vuelta on Sunday, adding the title to the 2014 Giro d’Italia on his grand tour list of honours.

    The Colombian climbing expert had cemented his commanding lead over nearest rival Chris Froome in Saturday’s decisive mountain stage.

    Following custom, Froome did not challenge Quintana on the traditional ride into the Spanish capital on the 21st and final stage.

    Instead, the two top cyclists of the moment spent some time chatting as they pedalled along side by side.

    Quintana finished the 71st edition of the race one minute, 23 seconds in front of second-placed Froome.

    Esteban Chaves finished in third place and more than four minutes off the pace. He was followed by three-time Vuelta winner Alberto Contador in fourth.

    Quintana wore the red leader’s jersey for the 12th consecutive day as he rode into Madrid flanked by his triumphant Movistar teammates.

    Quintana raised both arms in victory as he breezed across the line in the pack behind the sprinters competing for the stage. He then exchanged embraces with his teammates before shaking hands with Froome.

    “This is probably the most important (win) for me, considering the scenario and who I was racing against. Froome is a great rival.”

    Magnus Cort Nielsen of Denmark won the flat 105km ride starting in Las Rozas before making loops through Madrid’s centre in 2 hours, 48 minutes, 52 seconds. It was his second stage win of this race.

    At age 26, Quintana has established himself as one of the premier cyclists in the world and the top rival to three-time Tour de France champion Froome.

    Quintana has twice finished runner-up to Froome at the Tour, most recently in July when he couldn’t mount a serious challenge to Froome and his dominant Sky team.

    Two months later, Quintana finally got the better of the British cyclist after pulling away to win the Vuelta’s mountainous 10th stage finishing at Lagos de Covadonga.

    Froome finished second at the Vuelta for a third time, after also coming close in 2011 and 2014.

    “Nairo was great this Vuelta. Team Movistar was great this Vuelta … they really rode well and deserve the victory,” Froome said.

    © AAP 2017