>>> Vuelta a España route 2016  

Chris Froome (second), Nairo Quintana (winner), Esteban Chaves (third) on the final Vuelta a Espana podiumNairo Quintana (Movistar) sealed the overall victory in the 2016 Vuelta a España on Sunday, with Chris Froome (Sky) placing second.

Quintana won stage 10 of the race to take the coveted red jersey of general classification leader, and never relinquished his lead despite a spirited challenge from Froome, Esteban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff).

The biggest breakthrough in the race for Quintana came on stage 15, when he put himself into an escape group with Contador and team-mates to gain over two and a half minutes on Froome, who found himself without team support.

Froome clawed back over two minutes as he convincingly won the key time trial stage to set up a thrilling final day in the mountains on stage 20. Froome repeatedly attacked Quintana on the final climb, but Quintana held firm – actually gaining a couple of second on Froome on the line.

Froome clapped his hands as he crossed the finish in recognition of Quintana’s effort, and that the Movistar leader had effectively sealed overall victory.

Quintana adds the 2016 Vuelta victory to his 2014 Giro d’Italia overall win, establishing himself as one of the world’s leading three-week race contenders at the age of 26.

The Colombian finished the race 1-23 ahead of second-placed Froome, with Chaves in third at 4-08. Contador finished fourth, with British rider Simon Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) in sixth, establishing himself as a future Grand Tour contender despite spending some of the race supporting Chaves.

Orica-BikeExchange’s successful Vuelta continued in the finale in Madrid with a second sprint stage win for Magnus Cort Nielsen. Coupled with Chaves and Yates top 10 GC positions, and stage wins for Yates and Jens Keukeleire, the Australian squad showed off its exciting young talent.

Italian Fabio Feline (Trek-Segafredo) took the points classification jersey, with Spaniard Omar Fraile (Dimension Data) ending a ding-dong climbing battle with Frenchman Kenny Elissonde (FDJ) with the mountains classification win.

2016 Final general classification

1. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar in 83-31-28
2. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky at 1-23
3. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-BikeExchange at 4-08
4. Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff at 4-21
5. Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac at 7-43
6. Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-BikeExchange at 8-33
7. David de la Cruz (Esp) Etixx-QuickStep at 11-18
8. Daniel Moreno (Esp) Movistar at 13-04
9. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac at 13-17
10. George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo, at 14-07


August 20 – September 11, 2016

>>> Vuelta a España route 2016 confirmed

The 2016 Vuelta a España looks set to be the toughest Grand Tour of the year with ten new summit finishes throughout the three weeks of racing.

As with the 2015 edition the Spanish race will once again start with a team time trial, but the organisers will hope to avoid the controversy that surrounded stage one in 2015.

Opening with the TTT is to the advantage of any GC contenders who might not have the strongest team behind them as there will be 20 more stages for them to make up for any time gaps that appear on day one.

Conversely, it is also wise for anyone with overall ambitions to avoid taking the lead this early on as the mountainous route will not allow for one team to control the whole race.

It’s becoming a trend, and is particularly true of the 2016 Vuelta a España, that the Spanish race does not have much to offer the sprinters. Other than some days that will suit a breakaway or reduced bunch sprint, the final stage is the only one that will likely come down to a standard bunch sprint.

At this stage in the season, choosing the contenders is more complicated than at any other time in the year – especially when riders may have targeted a different WorldTour event in the previous months.

Tour de France winner Chris Froome is set to lead Team Sky at the Vuelta a España, but he was off the pace in the Olympic Games road race so his form will be an unknown on the start line on Saturday August 20.

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff), three time Vuelta winner, is racing his home Grand Tour after crashes and illness ended his campaign at the Tour. He’s likely to be fresher than Froome but is arguably beyond his best years. However, it would be foolhardy to write-off the 33-year-old’s chances at La Vuelta.

The third big name contender is Nairo Quintana (Movistar). Third at the Tour de France was below expectations for the Colombian so he should be on the attach in Spain as he looks for his first Grand Tour win since the 2014 Giro d’Italia.

Four of the contenders for the 2016 Vuelta a España: Contador, Froome, Quintana and Kruijswijk

Four of the contenders for the 2016 Vuelta a España: Contador, Froome, Quintana and Kruijswijk

Others who will be competing for the win are Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) – looking to bounce back after his disastrous crash in the Giro, Esteban Chaves – who gained two stage wins at the 2015 Vuelta, and his Orica-BikeExchange teammate Simon Yates – whose twin brother Adam was a breakthrough success at the Tour.

If the last few years are anything to go by, whatever riders’ reasoning for taking the start line in Laias do Miño on August 20, this will still be a fan favourite.

Key info: 2016 Vuelta route | Start list | Contenders | Live TV guide | Vuelta videos | Brits in the Tours

Previous editions: 2015 Vuelta | 2014 Vuelta

Joaquin Rodriguez, Fabio Aru and Rafal Majka on the podium after the final stage of the 2015 Vuelta Espana. Photo: Graham Watson

Joaquin Rodriguez, Fabio Aru and Rafal Majka on the podium after the final stage of the 2015 Vuelta Espana. Photo: Graham Watson

2015 Vuelta a España final GC top ten

1. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana in 85-36-13
2. Joaquim Rodriguez (Esp) Katusha at 57s
3. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1-09
4. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 1-42
5. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge at 3-10
6. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin at 3-46
7. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar at 6-47
8. Mikel Nieve (Esp) Team Sky at 7-06
9. Daniel Moreno (Esp) Katusha at 7-12
10. Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka at 10-26

Vuelta a España: past five winners

2015 Fabio Aru (Astana)
2014 Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo)
2013 Chris Horner (Radioshack)
2012 Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff)
2011 Juan Jose Cobo (Geox-TMC Transformers)