Chris Froome (Team Sky) failed to distance Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) on the final climb of the 2014 Vuelta a España and so failed in his attempt to take the overall race lead, but he insisted he is happy with second place overall.
Team Sky set up Froome before the climb and he tried several attacks, but then Contador went on the attack more successfully to extend his overall race lead on Froome to 1:37. Froome leads Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) by 58 seconds and so seems set to finish second overall. On Twitter, Froome said he 'emptied the tank' as he tried to distance Contador.
“The guys rode their hearts out for me today to try and set me up for the finale to see if we could expose Alberto. I also gave it everything I had on that final climb. Unfortunately I ended up pulling him along all the way up the climb, giving him a free ride but that's how the race worked out. But I really gave it everything. He was better than me,” Froome told a huddle of journalists at the summit finish.
“I think given how I've come into this race, I couldn't be happier with this result. I didn't know if I was coming here to fight for top ten, to fight for the podium or to fight for the win, so this is really going to give me a lot of motivation going forward and hopefully this has secured my place on the podium in this race, which is a huge achievement.”
Froome acknowledged that he needed to finish a Grand Tour this season to lay the foundations for the 2015 season when he hopes to challenge for the Tour de France. Crashing out of this year's Tour is now a fading memory.
“I think we can take away a lot from this race. As a group we've worked really well in the last three weeks, that's going to give me a lot of motivation going forward. I'm really happy to sit second overall at this point, especially considering that I came back from a broken scaphoid and a broken hand. My training wasn't ideal coming into this race and so I'm really happy.”