And so the 2011 Vuelta a España ends; and whilst the Madrid final didn’t deliver an ultimate overall British winner it was the scene of a spectacular UK two, three podium finish for Sky’s Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins respectively, one of the finest results for a grand tour in living memory and the first time a Brit has been on the podium since Robert Millar (second in 1986). It was, of course, Spain’s Juan Jose Cobo of Geox-TMC that rode for crowning glory with a total time of 84:59:31 – with Froome on +13seconds and Wiggins + 1minute, 39seconds.
With the final stage in the country’s capital a parade lap in all but name, the unofficial rule dictates no attack on the race leader meaning Cobo’s victory was all but guaranteed by the end of the penultimate Stage 20 (185km Bilbao to Vitoria) which was won by Leopard Trek’s Italian sprint specialist Daniele Bennati. Although in theory, with a time bonus 32 seconds up for grabs, Froome could still have snatched victory, it was not to be. The final standings marked the first major tour victory of Cobo’s career.
Full results and analysis from www.lavuelta.com