Nairo Quintana repels Chris Froome attacks on route to Vuelta a España glory

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Nairo Quintana is poised to win the Vuelta a España after protecting his lead over Chris Froome in a gruelling penultimate stage in the southern mountains on Saturday.

Barring an accident or incident on the flat final stage – a flat 105km ride from Las Rozas to Madrid – the Colombian Movistar rider will add the 2016 Vuelta to the 2014 Giro d’Italia on his Grand Tour list of honours.

Pierre-Roger Latour of France won the 193km (120 mile) stage, traversing three category-two ascents from Benidorm before a summit finish at Alto de Aitana in five hours, 19 minutes. Latour, who rides for AG2R La Mondiale, edged Darwin Atapuma at the line for his first win at a major race.

Froome had reduced Quintana’s lead by more than two minutes by winning Friday’s time trial, moving to within 1m21sec of his rival. Quintana kept Froome in check throughout Saturday’s ride, responding to his repeated attacks on the final 21km (13 mile) climb and passing him just before the finish. Froome applauded as Quintana pulled past him, following the last of several one-on-one climbing duels the two stars had at the three-week Grand Tour.

Froome lies 1m23sec behind Quintana, while Esteban Chaves moved past Alberto Contador into third place after making up time with a long-distance attack. A three-time Tour winner, Froome is set to finish the Vuelta as runner-up for a third time, having finished second in 2011 and 2014. Quintana has twice finished runner-up to Froome at the Tour de France, the last time in July when Froome and his Sky team were dominant.

News Source TheGuardianNews

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