Cobo pips Froome to Vuelta crown

Bradley Wiggins (left), Juan Cobo (centre) and Chris Froome

Cobo’s win is his maiden Vuelta – and major – victory

Britain’s Chris Froome finished second overall as Spain’s Juan Jose Cobo was crowned Vuelta a Espana champion after the final stage to Madrid.

Cobo held a 13-second lead over Froome, 26, and defended it on the final day, with another Briton Bradley Wiggins finishing third overall.

Robert Millar is the only other Briton to earn a Grand Tour podium spot, twice finishing second in the Vuelta.

Froome’s previous best in a major race was 36th in the 2009 Giro d’Italia.

Millar’s two second places came in 1985 and 1986 – and to have two Britons on the same podium at this year’s Vuelta was a remarkable achievement.

“The last three weeks have been an unforgettable experience. It’s actually quite overwhelming,” said Froome, who has previously acted as triple Olympic champion Wiggins’s “domestique”.

“If three weeks ago you had told me that I would be standing on the podium in Madrid I wouldn’t have believed you. This has really been a life-changing experience.

“I’ve moved up a lot. I think I’ve learnt a lot riding alongside Bradley, like learning how to conserve my energy instead of going off on crazy attacks and just being more consistent and being there on the big climbs.”


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Chris Froome

  • Born 20 May 1985 in Nairobi, Kenya
  • Won the 2006 Tour of Mauritius, including two stage victories
  • Turned professional in 2007
  • Finished 84th in the 2008 Tour de France and 12th in the young riders’ category
  • Joined Team Sky in 2010
  • Finished second in the 2010 British Time Trial Championships
  • Won the 17th stage of the 2011 Vuelta a Espana

Froome, however, remains unsure where his long-term future lies.

“The team has looked after me and we’re going to have to see going forward,” he added. “I haven’t signed a contract yet, but that’s still to be decided in the next week or so, I think.”

Kenyan-born Froome had become Cobo’s main challenger in the last few days of the three-week race after his Sky team-mate Wiggins had dropped steadily out of contention.

Wiggins, 31, led Cobo by 55 seconds at the start of the 15th stage, but he struggled on the notoriously tough climb to the summit finish at Angliru to hand the Spaniard the advantage with six stages left.

“I think that when you sit back and look at the season and see what has happened [suffering a broken collarbone at the Tour de France], I think you reflect on it with a bit of happiness, but when you finish third, you haven’t won and we live for winning unfortunately,” said Wiggins

“I’m learning from the disappointments, which is the main thing. Last year was a huge disappointment but we learnt from it and came back stronger.”

On the final 59-mile (95.6km) stage, Slovakian Peter Sagan won a sprint to the line ahead of Italian pair Daniele Bennati and Alessandro Petacchi to claim his third Vuelta stage win.

Final stage result:

1. Peter Sagan (Slovakia, Liquigas-Cannondale) 2:20:59secs

2. Daniele Bennati (Italy, Leopard Trek) same time

3. Alessandro Petacchi (Italy, Lampre) same time

12. Bradley Wiggins (Britain, Team Sky) same time

19. Chris Froome (Britain, Team Sky) same time

Overall standings:

1. Juan Jose Cobo (Spain, Geox) 84:59:31secs

2. Chris Froome (Britain, Team Sky) +13secs

3. Bradley Wiggins (Britain, Team Sky) +1:39secs

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