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Summary

  1. GB's Chris Froome set to complete Tour-Vuelta double
  2. Froome third on penultimate stage to extend lead to more than two minutes
  3. Froome will become first British winner of the race
  4. Alberto Contador wins stage 20 in his final race
  5. Sunday's stage to Madrid largely processional

Live Reporting

By Peter Scrivener

All times stated are UK

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Goodbye

And that's where I'm going to leave it for today. The report on today's stage is taking shape.

Thanks for reading and you're input this afternoon. We'll be back from 16:00 BST on Sunday to watch Chris Froome complete his quest to become the first British rider to win the Vuelta.

It's a twilight finish in Madrid so we'll have all the build-up and the post-race reaction. Be sure to join us.

Froome to go for the Giro?

Great question Matt. And one that has been at the forefront of my mind for a few days now. A Giro-Tour double next season?

Only two riders have won three in a row - Eddy Merckx, who actually did four, in winning the Giro, Tour, Vuelta, Giro across 1972 and 1973 in the years when the Vuelta was raced earlier in the season.

Bernard Hinault won the Giro and Tour in 1982 and then followed that with the 1983 Vuelta.

Get Involved

Liam Watson: Fairytale ending to a brilliant Contador career but history maker Chris Froome does again absolutely brilliant by him & @TeamSky#bbccycling

Matt Taggart: Now the question is does Froome aim for the Giro next year to hold all three at the same time, or go for a TdF dynasty? #bbccycling

Froome all smiles

Are there tears there from Chris Froome? I'm not sure. He looks to be sneezing a heck of a lot too.

One thing is for certain, that smile is going to linger for some time.

He has cameras galore in his face and is receiving bigger hugs than you'd give your kids on their return from their first day at school.

Top 10 on stage 20

1. Alberto Contador (Spa/Trek-Segafredo) 3hrs 31mins 33secs

2. Wout Poels (Ned/Team Sky) +17secs

3. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) Same time

4. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus/Katusha-Alpecin) +35secs

5. Franco Pellizotti (Ita/Bahrain-Merida) +51secs

6. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita/Bahrain-Merida) Same time

7. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned/LottoNL-Jumbo)

8. Wilco Kelderman (Ned/Team Sunweb) +1min 11secs

9. Romain Bardet (Fra/AG2R La Mondiale) +1min 25secs

10. Michael Woods (Can/Cannondale-Drapac) +1min 36secs

Froome makes more history

BBC Sport's chief sports writer Tom Fordyce: "Brilliant from Froome, surviving everything his rivals and this cruel climb could throw at him to make history once again. Local delight in Contador's valedictory win,

"British joy at what Froome has done over the past five seasons - four Tour de France titles, the first Briton to win the Vuelta, only the third man in history to win the Tour and Vuelta in the same season. He has earned it the hard way."

Froome's winning margin more than two minutes

Chris Froome had a huge grin on his face as he crossed the finish line.

And so long as he doesn't do anything daft tomorrow, like crash, he will win the Vuelta a Espana by two minutes, 15 seconds from Italy's Vincenzo Nibali.

Froome wins La Vuelta*

And Chris Froome crosses the finish line 17 seconds or so behind and when he crosses the line in Madrid on Sunday he will complete the Tour-Vuelta double.

* he has to cross the finish line in what is a largely processional stage to the Spanish capital to complete his victory.

Chris Froome of Sky team
EPA

Contador wins stage 20

Alberto Contador makes a grand gesture to the few fans at the top as he crosses the line.

Alberto Contador celebrates
AFP

500m remaining

Alberto Contador is out of his saddle for one last time. He reaches a summit with 800m remaining and the road drops down. It looks like he will win his final stage.

Froome is within 25 seconds but it's going to be a little too late. Not that he'll be too bothered, I guess.

Final kilometre

They can't, can they?

Wout Poels is setting a furious pace and Froome is digging in to try and keep pace with his team-mate. Can they catch Bertie?

Contador looks over his shoulder as he rounds another hairpin. He knows Froome is coming...

1.5km remaining

Chris Froome continues to push on. He has Team Sky team-mate Wout Poels for company. They have left Nibali.

Their efforts have closed the gap on Alberto Contador to 30 seconds...

Nibali cracks

Is this the moment for Chris Froome? He doesn't attack but suddenly Vincenzo Nibali is losing time here.

He drops two, three, four, five metres off the pace.

Froome suddenly senses it and stomps on his pedals. He's going to do the Tour-Vuelta double.

Crowds cheering Contador on

There may not be many spectators at the finish, but there are hundreds a couple of kilometres from the finish.

Alberto Contador continues to bob and weave through them as he makes his slow journey to the top. Just the 23% gradient for him.

Nibali yet to attack

Alberto Contador is down to walking pace as the security guards continue to try and push the crowds back.

Thankfully for him, so is Stephen Kruijswijk behind him and Chris Froome and Vincenzo Nibali a little further down the road.

With 2.5km remaining, Nibali has to go soon you feel.

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Stevie Bees: "With the final day of Vuelta a procession a la TdF, what happens if leader falls and unable to finish? #bbccycling

The race leader has to cross the finish line in Madrid. If they don't, they haven't completed the race and whoever was second going into the stage takes the win.

3km remaining

The television pictures of the peloton are few and far between as the director follows Alberto Contador as he tackles a 20% ramp. The crowds are encroaching, car horns are beeping and it's all getting a little chaotic.

Contador's lead is up to 75 seconds. Are they going to let Bertie take the glory?

Stephen Kruijswijk of the Lotto-Jumbo team isn't in the mood for charity as he leaps clear and immediately closes to 55 seconds.

4km remaining

Alberto Contador, who has won seven Grand Tours, including three Vuelta a Espana's in a glittering career, is grimacing as he toils up the Angliru.

He's had his dark moments with a doping ban and having one Tour de France and one Giro d'Italia title stripped from him - he strenuously denied the accusations - but this would be a sensational end to his career.

Fairytale for Contador as Soler cracks?

Marc Soler suddenly looks like he's pedalling through tar.

Alberto Contador looks over his shoulder and sees the Movistar rider disappearing backwards. He jumps out of his saddle and starts dancing on his pedals.

His lead is up to almost a minute. But the road is about to start ramping up again. There are sections of gradient at 24% in the final couple of kilometres and others in the high teens. This stage is far from over.

Contador almost taken out

The local constabulary are doing all they can to keep the fans back but one has just almost knocked Contador off his bike.

The Spaniard was crawling around a hairpin and collided with a spectator. And seconds later, he almost takes a carrier bag out of someone's hands.

Marc Soler, to give him his due, waited for his fellow Spaniard, but would he be brave enough to challenge Contador if it came down to it in the final run-in?

They lead Froome's group by 40 seconds.

6km remaining

Alberto Contador is trying to push on as he hits an 11% gradient. Romain Bardet is finding the pace tough, while Adam and Simon Yates are long gone from this leading group, which is now down to three.

Incredibly, Marc Soler is one of them, having clambered back on after crashing on the previous descent!

Alberto Contador
EPA

7km remaining

Team Sky's David Lopez, who is leading Chris Froome up this ascent, nearly comes unstuck as he gets to grip with an over-excited flag-waver. He snatches the cloth, screws it up and tosses it aside without breaking his rhythm.

The climb has flattened out a little where Froome is and the gap to Contador is narrowing.

The Spaniard's leading group is just 35 seconds.

8km remaining

It is not going to be Tomasz Marczynski's day. He is no more than a handful of seconds clear of a group of five riders, who are being dragged up the Angliru by Alberto Contador.

The Spanish fans are going bonkers as they realise what is happening.

Even the sun is coming out.

How cold is at the top?

Tom Fordyce says: "I'm wearing two pairs of socks, two coats, two t-shirts and a jumper. Plus a cap. 5 Live producer Gemma is wearing the rest of my clothes on top of hers, including a t-shirt, hoodie and running vest, although not in that order. And we're still cold. Cycling the hardest professional sport in the world?"

9km remaining

Team Sunweb are pulling what is left of the peloton along. Their man Wilco Kelderman is currently third overall but his lead over Contador is just 77 seconds so clearly they are keen to keep the Dutchman on the podium.

Two Team Sky riders are close in attendance, with Chris Froome in their slipstream. Vincenzo Nibali is going to have to show his hand soon.

Britain's Chris Froome
EPA

10km remaining

Alberto Contador has opened up a lead of 30 seconds over the peloton.

He is still trailing Tomasz Marczynski by almost one minute though.

A quick reminder that Contador is more than three minutes adrift of Chris Froome in the overall standings so the Briton won't be too concerned at this point.

Vincenzo Nibali at 97 seconds is the real threat.

'I'll have plenty of time to rest'

Before today's stage, Alberto Contador said: "I feel happy. It's been an unforgettable sensation throughout the race with the reaction I've had from the fans.

"On a day like this so many things can happen. I'd love to win, that's obvious. But the other GC riders will want to fight me.

"It's the last few kilometres of climbing in my career and then I'll have plenty of time to rest."

Contador attacks

Tomasz Marczynski of Lotto-Soudal is on the Angliru. His lead is one minute, 45 seconds over the peloton. Is that enough to see him take the victory?

Alberto Contador is on the attack. He has ridden clear of the peloton and has a team-mate with him. He has 12km of climbing left in his career.

He said he would go for it...

Nibali back pedalling

Vincenzo Nibali is back up and riding. I've no idea how it happened. But the Bahrain-Merida rider has a team-mate with him, pacing him back to the peloton.

TV pictures show that Nibali appeared to hit a barrier on the side of the road, rather than completely come off.

Our new stage leader Tomasz Marczynski is enjoying this descent a lot more. He has opened up a lead of more than one minute as the roads dry the further down the mountain they go.

Nibali has crashed

News from race radio - the Italian has slid off on the descent.

Soler slides off

Whoa! Marc Soler is no longer our stage leader. The Movistar rider bins it on a right-hander and rolls into a ditch.

More evidence that this race could still be decided before we get to the Angliru.

Heading to the Angliru

The peloton goes over the top 34 seconds later. This descent is 8km in length and then we are into the final climb of the race.

How are the nerves?

Cordal conquered

Romain Bardet attacks the break. He is the best placed rider on general classification but he is almost 30 minutes adrift of Chris Froome.

The Frenchman does not manage to distance his companions though and Marc Soler puts in one final spurt to reach the summit of the Alto del Cordal first.

It appears to have stopped raining but the road is still very damp. And there is a motorcycle in the crash barrier at the side of the road, in case any more proof was needed that the corners are treacherous.

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Cracking work James. One to rival Hawaii. #bbccycling for your hardest climbs conquered.

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1km to the summit

Marc Soler's bid comes to nought as he slides back into the comfort of the eight riders left jousting for the overall stage victory, although their advantage is now down to 30 seconds over the peloton.

Simon and Adam Yates are both still looking strong, as is Romain Bardet. It will be interesting to see if they have the energy to stay with the peloton when they do get swallowed up.

The breakaway breaks

The race is splintering all over the Cordal. Movistar rider Marc Soler has made his bid for glory, riding away from the break.

I'm not sure of his conviction though, he seems to be spending half of his time looking over his shoulder.

Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali and Alberto Contador are all continuing to keep tabs on each other at the nose of the peloton.

Get Involved

Neil Burns: #bbccycling I more of less did this route (see 15:26 entry) 10 days ago - on a motorbike! Visibility was next to nothing so it's good to see where I went.

25km remaining

Chris Froome has one slightly nervy moment on the descent, sliding wide, but he manages to knock off the pace and keep himself upright.

Meanwhile, the leaders are already on the next climb. The Alto del Cordal is another category one. It is 5.7km long with an average gradient of 8.6% and a maximum of 12.9% near the top.

All the main riders have made it down the descent and are on the lower slops of the Cordal.

Froome adopts accent

I've just listened to an excellent interview with Chris Froome on the Vuelta website.

He does that brilliant British thing of adopting a slightly foreign accent when answering the questions. Think Joey Barton or Steve McLaren in their prime!

Anyway, he said: "The final big test. We'll see how it goes. I hope the weather gets better but if not we'll still make the race the same."

On the Angliru, he added: "It's a wall, it's an extremely tough climb and for the final test i think it's the perfect climb."

Slipping and sliding

The road is quite wide and that is helping. The top speed I have seen is 86km/h, which is not too shabby. But there have been plenty of wobbles and back wheel slides.