Vuelta a Espana: Nairo Quintana wins as Chris Froome finishes second

Winner Nairo Quintana, runner-up Chris Froome and third-placed Esteban Chaves toast their success
Winner Nairo Quintana, runner-up Chris Froome and third-placed Esteban Chaves toast their success

Colombia's Nairo Quintana won the Vuelta a Espana as Britain's Chris Froome finished second.

Movistar rider Quintana, 26, finished in the bunch in Sunday's final stage to maintain his lead of one minute 23 seconds over Team Sky's Froome.

"It is a dream come true. I have a huge amount of respect for Chris Froome and he for me," Quintana told Eurosport.

Orica-BikeExchange's Magnus Cort Nielsen won the 104.8km stage in a sprint finish in Madrid.

The win is Movistar rider Quintana's second in a Grand Tour after his 2014 Giro d'Italia triumph.

Esteban Chavez, riding for Orica-BikeExchange, finished third, 4:08 behind compatriot Quintana.

Sunday's 21st stage from Las Rozas was a largely processional stage for Quintana, who repelled Froome's attacks and finished two seconds ahead in Saturday's summit finish.

Stage 15 cost me - Froome

Three-time Tour de France champion Froome, 31, admitted stage 15 cost him his chance to become the first man to win the Tour and Vuelta in the same season since Bernard Hinault in 1978.

Froome lost 2:40 to Quintana after missing a surprise early breakaway as his main rival extended his lead to 3:37.

Although Froome regained 2:16 in winning the stage 19 time trial, Quintana held on to win the third and final Grand Tour of the season.

"What happened on stage 15 possibly cost me victory but we will learn from that," said Froome.

"One of the things that makes cycling so special is that it can change in the blink of the eye. That's racing."

He added: "This is a gruelling race and I have enjoyed it. "I'm thrilled with how the season has gone - it's been my most successful to date.

"It has shown me that it is possible to win two Grand Tours in a year and maybe that is something I will look to do next year."

Chris Froome tweet

Stage 21 result:

1. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den/Orica-BikeExchange) 2hrs 48mins 52secs

2. Daniele Bennati (Ita/Tinkoff) same time

3. Gianni Meersman (Bel/Etixx - Quick-Step)

4. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita/Dimension Data)

5. Nikias Arndt (Ger/Giant-Alpecin)

6. Lorenzo Manzin (Fra/FDJ)

7. Romain Hardy (Fra/Cofidis, Solutions Credits)

8. Jhonatan Restrepo (Col/Team Katusha)

9. Rudiger Selig (Ger/Bora-Argon 18)

10. Salvatore Puccio (Ita/Team Sky)

Final general classification:

1. Nairo Quintana (Col/Movistar) 83hrs 31mins 28secs

2. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) +1mins 23secs

3. Esteban Chaves (Col/Orica-BikeExchange) +4mins 08secs

4. Alberto Contador (Spa/Tinkoff) +4mins 21secs

5. Andrew Talansky (US/Cannondale) +7mins 43secs

6. Simon Yates (GB/Orica-BickExchange) +8mins 33secs

7. David de la Cruz (Spa/Etixx - Quick-Step) +11mins 18secs

8. Daniel Fernandez-Moreno (Spa/Movistar) +13mins 04secs

9. Davide Formolo (Ita/Cannondale) +13mins 17secs

10. George Bennett (NZ/LottoNI-Jumbo) +14mins 07secs

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