Froome: No regrets from Vuelta a España

Sky rider claims his second runner-up finish in Spanish tour

Three years after Chris Froome scored a breakthrough performance with second place in the 2011 Vuelta a España, the Team Sky captain claimed a very different second place in the 2014 Vuelta.

Froome has now finished on the podium of a Grand Tour every year since 2011, with second in the 2012 Tour de France, a victory in the same race in 2013 and two runners-up spots in the Vuelta in his palmares.

The final, short time trial in Santiago de Compostela did not change any of the overall classifications, with Froome - like all the top favourites - concentrating on finishing safely rather than taking any risks on the dangerously rain-soaked city centre circuit.

"I did everything I could, I have no regrets," Froome told reporters afterwards. "We pushed together [in Team Sky] as a unit."

Regarding Contador he said, "Alberto was very impressive in this Vuelta, if I've learned anything in this year's Vuelta, it's not to let him get any time because I'm not going to get it back from him."

Like Contador, Froome has been fighting back from injuries in this year's Tour, and like the Spaniard, he had not raced at all before taking part in the Vuelta. He therefore needed time to get back to full race speed.

The key loss for Froome came when he lost nearly a minute to Contador in the mid-race time trial - at a point when he was expected to take the lead. Froome later explained he had over-estimated his strength in the first part of the course, and ended up running on fumes for the last half.

"I wouldn't say it's a cause for concern, I know how I came into this race and i definitely rode myself in," Froome said afterwards.

"I definitely owe this result to my teammates, they stood behind me and supported me even when I had a few bad days earlier on in the race. I think in the end it paid off and I was able to come away with a second place, which given how I came in, I can be happy with that."

As for next year and the Tour de France, and how the Contador-Froome rivalry may play out there, Froome argued that "I look forward to seeing what the Tour route holds, although right now I'm still focussed on the Vuelta and what I did here."

"I'm looking forward to a good winter. The Vuelta had a very high standard and I'm happy to be a part of it."
 

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