Froome all but seals Vuelta a Espana win

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Chris Froome is virtually assured of being the first British rider to win the Vuelta a Espana as he increased his lead after the penultimate stage.

The Team Sky rider was powerless as Alberto Contador secured a gutsy stage win, pulling clear on the 13.2km ascent of Alto de Angliru in to the finish.

Froome was 18 seconds back but his lead overall is two minutes and 15 seconds.

He only needs to stay on his bike on Sunday, as traditionally the leader is not challenged on the last stage.

If the 32-year-old completes the stage – finishing in Madrid – he will become just the third man in history to win the Tour de France and Vuelta in the same year.

Froome has finished second in the Vuelta on three occasions but flanked by his team-mates he never looked in danger of losing his advantage on Saturday as riders faced up to the gruelling summit finish in northern Spain.

Contador, who has won seven Grand Tours, including three Vuelta a Espanas in a glittering career, grimaced on his way up the Angliru, where the gradient is around 20% in the closing few kilometres.

The Spaniard, 34, pushed clear in the final 6km. At one point he was almost forced to a standstill when he collided with a spectator as boisterous fans spilled onto the roads.

He celebrated wildly as he crossed the line moments before Team Sky’s Wout Poels led Froome home, all but ensuring the Tour-Vuelta double.

More to follow.

Stage 20 is known for it’s ascents and has been described as “vicious” by Froome in the past


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