Froome stays safe on Vuelta's final day to claim second overall
Chris Froome wins stage, Vuelta a Espana 2011, stage 17
Britain's Chris Froome (Sky) said his second place in the 2011 Vuelta a Espana represented a major turning point in his career and that he would be fighting for major Tours in the future.
"It's a big step forward," Froome told Cycling Weekly as he stood in the shadow of the podium in Madrid.
"Hopefully it's the start of a lot of things to come for me, I've been trying for a long time to get to this level, so this has been a first introduction to this kind of racing."
"Hopefully, too, I can come to a race like this in the future and fight for the general classification."
Froome thanked his team-mates and the Sky staff for "helping me so much all the way through" and he said that what he had learned from Wiggins had been instrumental in helping maintain his top position overall.
Nineteenth on the stage, Froome said that the Sky plan on the last day had not been to attack Cobo, but to set things up for an attack for team-mate and earlier stage winner Chris Sutton (Sky).
"It was a bit of a crazy day, only 90 kilometres and it's quite hard to keep everyone together on such a short day because everybody's feeling strong over such a short distance."
"A lot of people wanted to go for the stage win today, so personally I was just trying to stay up there, and if something happened to Cobo I'd still be in front."
"But it was pretty obvious there was not going to many big changes today. I'd had my chance in the mountains and Cobo rode very well, he didn't put a foot wrong all the way through."
Vuelta a Espana 2011: Latest news
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Confusion reigns in Vuelta stage as riders tackle roundabout wrong way
Sky uses rest day to regroup before final leg of Vuelta
Wiggins upbeat despite losing Vuelta lead on Angliru
Crunch time for Wiggins and Froome in Vuelta
Wiggins says he will give it 100 per cent to defend Vuelta lead
Vuelta tackles unknown mountain top finish today
Froome: "This lead is a big milestone"
Wiggins in Vuelta: "We're in an amazing position"
Dan Martin delighted with King of the Mountains jersey
Sky dominates in Vuelta a Espana
Martin delighted with first ever grand tour stage win
Wiggins: A fantastic finish
Interview: Wiggins looks ahead of crucial three days of Vuelta
Farrar taken to hospital after Vuelta crash
Arvesen quits Vuelta with crash injuries
Anton suffers again but Rodriguez becomes Spain's top contender
Wiggins pleased with strong ride in Spanish sierras
Cavendish abandons Vuelta a Espana
Vuelta a Espana 2011: Stage reports
Stage 21: Froome and Wiggins finish on Vuelta podium
Stage 20: Bennati wins Vuelta stage 20 as Cobo keeps slim lead over Sky's Froome
Stage 19: Anton takes win on Basque home soil as Cobo foils Froome
Stage 18: Gavazzi salvages poor Vuelta for Lampre as Cobo enjoys trouble-free day
Stage 17: Froome wins Vuelta stage 17 but can't unseat Cobo from race lead
Stage 16: Haedo wins confusing stage 16 finish in Vuelta
Stage 15: Wiggins loses race lead as Cobo stakes claim for overall on Angliru
Stage 14: Taaramae takes stage as Wiggins puts time into rivals
Stage 13: Albasini wins Vuelta stage 13 as Wiggins hangs on to lead
Stage 12: Sagan takes second 2011 Vuelta stage win
Stage 11: Wiggins takes overall lead as Moncoutie wins stage
Stage 10: Brit Froome moves into overall Vuelta lead after time trial
Stage nine: Martin wins as Wiggins moves further up GC
Stage eight: Rodriguez wins again to take overall lead
Stage seven: Kittel wins chaotic bunch sprint
Stage six: Sagan takes Vuelta stage win in controversial circumstances
Stage five: Rodriguez takes second win for Katusha but Chavanel holds on
Stage four: Moreno wins first mountain skirmish at Sierra Nevada
Stage three: Lastras solos to stage and takes red jersey
Stage two: Sutton grabs stage win to set things right for Sky
Stage one: Leopard-Trek win opening TTT to put Fuglsang in front
Vuelta a Espana 2011: Photo galleries
By Graham Watson
Stage 20 photo gallery
Stage 19 photo gallery
Stage 18 photo gallery
Stage 17 photo gallery
Stage 16 photo gallery
Stage 15 photo gallery
Stage 14 photo gallery
Stage 13 photo gallery
Stage 12 photo gallery
Stage 11 photo gallery
Stage 10 photo gallery
Stage nine photo gallery
Stage eight photo gallery
Stage seven photo gallery
Stage six photo gallery
Stage five photo gallery
Stage four photo gallery
Stage three photo gallery
Stage two photo gallery
Stage one photo gallery
Vuelta a Espana 2011: TV guide
Vuelta a Espana 2011: ITV4 TV schedule
Vuelta a Espana 2011: British Eurosport TV schedule
ITV to show 2011 Vuelta