Vuelta a Espana: Quintana sails to first overall victory in Madrid

Magnus Cort Nielsen (Orica-BikeExchange) won the final stage of the Vuelta a España in a bunch sprint in Madrid while Nairo Quintana (Movistar) finished safely in the main peloton to seal overall victory ahead of Chris Froome (Sky) and Esteban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange).

In keeping with tradition, the short final leg from Las Rozas to the finishing circuit in the city centre was largely a promenade, with Quintana and the protagonists of the general classification battle sharing flutes of champagne as they soft-pedalled towards the conclusion of this Vuelta.

The pace gradually ratcheted upwards as the race reached the streets of the capital and as shadows lengthened in Madrid, the final stage spluttered into life, with Quentin Jauregui (AG2R La Mondiale), Pete Kennaugh (Sky), Loic Chetout (Cofidis) and Koen Bouwman (LottoNL-Jumbo) providing the early entertainment by escaping with a little under nine laps of the 5.8km finishing circuit remaining.

The quarter built up a maximum lead of 1:20 over the peloton, but with Etixx-QuickStep, Orica-BikeExchange and Giant-Alpecin all eager to keep things under the control, there would be no escaping the ineluctable bunch finish.

Chetout and Lauregui were the last two survivors from the break, but they were swept up at the beginning of the final lap, as darkness fell over Madrid. Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff) produced a long, long turn on the front in support of his teammate Daniele Bennati, but it was Giant-Alpecin who led into the final kilometre.

Magnus Cort Nielsen was well-placed on the wheel of his teammate Jens Keukeleire and he bided his time when Bennati opened his sprint from distance. Inside the final 200 metres, however, the Dane duly produced a fine finishing effort to claim the stage honours. Bennati held on for second, while Gianni Meersman (Etixx-QuickStep) had to settle for third.

The win was Cort Nielsen's second of this Vuelta and the fourth for Orica-BikeExchange after the earlier triumphs of Keukeleire and Simon Yates. The team's principal target, meanwhile, was the general classification, and Chaves lived up to his billing by taking third place overall.

"It was a long lead out for Jens and I could feel his speed was dropping a little bit, but luckily there was a small gap and I was able to squeeze through. To get the win is fantastic," said Cort Nielsen. "The main goal for the team was the GC with Chaves and it can be tricky to combine going for stages with a target like that."

Quintana seals overall victory

Quintana wins the Vuelta by 1:23 from Froome, while Chaves takes the third spot overall, 4:08 back. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) had to settle for fourth, 13 seconds behind Chaves, while Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Drapac) will look to 2017 with rightful optimism after his consistent three weeks of racing yielded fifth overall, one spot ahead of Simon Yates (Orica-BikeExchange).

The all-action Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo) sealed the points classification, while Omar Fraile (Dimension Data) carried the king of the mountains jersey to Madrid for the second successive year.

The night truly belonged to Quintana, of course, and just as in Trieste two years ago, there was a vociferous contingent of Colombian supporters on the Plaza de Cibeles – where Real Madrid's support traditionally gathers to celebrate victory – and all along the circuit. The red jersey was cheered raucously each time he came by, the usual impassive expression replaced by the broadest of smiles for much of the evening.

"This morning in my head I was already the winner but I knew I still had to cross the line in Madrid," Quintana said. "Until you do that, you can't say you're the winner.

Quintana's rapport with the Vuelta has not always been a felicitous one to this point, at least after the sparkling cameo he produced in support of Alejandro Valverde on his Grand Tour appearance back in 2012. In 2014, Quintana crashed out while leading the race overall, while he could only manage a listless fourth a year ago.

This time around, he was not to be denied. Victory at Lagos de Covadonga showcased Quintana's physical strength, the stage-long raid to Formigal highlighted his tactical acumen, and the repelling of Froome's onslaught on the Aitana demonstrated his resolve.

"It's spectacular, it's a dream come true. I've been fighting many times to win the Vuelta and finally we've done it," said Quintana, who added that he rated this victory more highly than his Giro triumph of two years ago due to the level of opposition that he faced.

"I've done many things in my career but this is the most important victory because of the rivals and the other riders who were here," Quintana said.

As the peloton ambled towards Madrid early in the stage, Quintana engaged in a lengthy conversation with Froome after they had shared a glass of champagne for the benefit of the cameras.

After failing to mount the anticipated challenge to Froome and Sky's hegemony at the Tour de France in July, this was a hugely important triumph for Quintana as he rebuilds his morale for 2017. His sprint past Froome atop the Aitana on Saturday evening had the feel of an early shot across the bows ahead of next year's Tour de France, even if Quintana downplayed the incident on Sunday evening.

"Obviously, we have a great deal of respect of each other," he said. "Froome is a great rival and we've never had a problem between us. We don't want the media creating any polemics."

Quintana confirmed that his 2017 campaign will be built around the month of July – "The Tour is a dream for me, I'd love to win it" – but given the night that was in it, he was all but compelled to pledge a return to the Vuelta next season. "Most probably," he smiled.

Video Highlights

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica-BikeExchange2:48:52
2Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff TeamRow 1 - Cell 2
3Gianni Meersman (Bel) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 2 - Cell 2
4Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Dimension DataRow 3 - Cell 2
5Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 4 - Cell 2
6Lorenzo Manzin (Fra) FDJRow 5 - Cell 2
7Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 6 - Cell 2
8Jhonatan Restrepo (Col) Team KatushaRow 7 - Cell 2
9Rudiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Argon 18Row 8 - Cell 2
10Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team SkyRow 9 - Cell 2
11Eduard Prades (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 10 - Cell 2
12Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Lampre - MeridaRow 11 - Cell 2
13Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Trek-SegafredoRow 12 - Cell 2
14Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 13 - Cell 2
15Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) Team KatushaRow 14 - Cell 2
16Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R La MondialeRow 15 - Cell 2
17Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) IAM CyclingRow 16 - Cell 2
18Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R La MondialeRow 17 - Cell 2
19Ryan Anderson (Can) Direct EnergieRow 18 - Cell 2
20Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-SegafredoRow 19 - Cell 2
21Pavel Kochetkov (Rus) Team KatushaRow 20 - Cell 2
22Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing TeamRow 21 - Cell 2
23Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-BikeExchangeRow 22 - Cell 2
24Merhawi Kudus (Eri) Dimension DataRow 23 - Cell 2
25Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 24 - Cell 2
26Benjamin King (USA) Cannondale-DrapacRow 25 - Cell 2
27Gert Dockx (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 26 - Cell 2
28Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-BikeExchangeRow 27 - Cell 2
29George Bennett (NZl) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 28 - Cell 2
30Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto SoudalRow 29 - Cell 2
31Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-BikeExchangeRow 30 - Cell 2
32Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 31 - Cell 2
33Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 32 - Cell 2
34Brian Nauleau (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 33 - Cell 2
35Rudy Molard (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 34 - Cell 2
36Clement Chevrier (Fra) IAM CyclingRow 35 - Cell 2
37Christopher Froome (GBr) Team SkyRow 36 - Cell 2
38Bram Tankink (Ned) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 37 - Cell 2
39Loïc Chetout (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 38 - Cell 2
40Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek-SegafredoRow 39 - Cell 2
41Gregor Muhlberger (Aut) Bora-Argon 18Row 40 - Cell 2
42Yves Lampaert (Bel) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 41 - Cell 2
43Luis Angel Mate (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 42 - Cell 2
44Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar TeamRow 43 - Cell 2
45Egor Silin (Rus) Team KatushaRow 44 - Cell 2
46Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC Racing TeamRow 45 - Cell 2
47Koen De Kort (Ned) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 46 - Cell 2
48Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 47 - Cell 2
49Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-BikeExchangeRow 48 - Cell 2
50Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Bora-Argon 18Row 49 - Cell 2
51Jaco Venter (RSA) Dimension DataRow 50 - Cell 2
52Daniel Moreno (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 51 - Cell 2
53Marcel Wyss (Swi) IAM CyclingRow 52 - Cell 2
54Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-DrapacRow 53 - Cell 2
55Axel Domont (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 54 - Cell 2
56Pello Bilbao (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 55 - Cell 2
57Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJRow 56 - Cell 2
58Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 57 - Cell 2
59Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 58 - Cell 2
60Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 59 - Cell 2
61Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-DrapacRow 60 - Cell 2
62Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 61 - Cell 2
63Simon Pellaud (Swi) IAM CyclingRow 62 - Cell 2
64Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) FDJRow 63 - Cell 2
65Alberto Losada (Spa) Team KatushaRow 64 - Cell 2
66Lawrence Warbasse (USA) IAM CyclingRow 65 - Cell 2
67Yury Trofimov (Rus) Tinkoff TeamRow 66 - Cell 2
68Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff TeamRow 67 - Cell 2
69Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 68 - Cell 2
70David De La Cruz (Spa) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 69 - Cell 2
71François Bidard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 70 - Cell 2
72Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 71 - Cell 2
73Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Argon 180:00:14
74Michal Golas (Pol) Team SkyRow 73 - Cell 2
75Jelle Wallays (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 74 - Cell 2
76Perrig Quemeneur (Fra) Direct Energie0:00:25
77Michael Gogl (Aut) Tinkoff TeamRow 76 - Cell 2
78Christian Knees (Ger) Team SkyRow 77 - Cell 2
79Sergey Lagutin (Rus) Team KatushaRow 78 - Cell 2
80Jesus Hernandez (Spa) Tinkoff TeamRow 79 - Cell 2
81Kenny Elissonde (Fra) FDJRow 80 - Cell 2
82Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-SegafredoRow 81 - Cell 2
83Ian Boswell (USA) Team SkyRow 82 - Cell 2
84Pierre Rolland (Fra) Cannondale-DrapacRow 83 - Cell 2
85Kristijan Durasek (Cro) Lampre - MeridaRow 84 - Cell 2
86Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 85 - Cell 2
87Sergio Pardilla (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 86 - Cell 2
88Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJRow 87 - Cell 2
89Pierre-Roger Latour (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 88 - Cell 2
90Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 89 - Cell 2
91Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 90 - Cell 2
92Sergio Paulinho (Por) Tinkoff TeamRow 91 - Cell 2
93Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) IAM CyclingRow 92 - Cell 2
94Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 93 - Cell 2
95Tiago Machado (Por) Team KatushaRow 94 - Cell 2
96Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:00:38
97Matvey Mamykin (Rus) Team Katusha0:00:43
98Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 97 - Cell 2
99Laurent Didier (Lux) Trek-Segafredo0:00:49
100Joe Dombrowski (USA) Cannondale-DrapacRow 99 - Cell 2
101Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 100 - Cell 2
102Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro TeamRow 101 - Cell 2
103David Arroyo (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 102 - Cell 2
104Martin Velits (Svk) Etixx - Quick-Step0:00:57
105Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM CyclingRow 104 - Cell 2
106Manuele Boaro (Ita) Tinkoff Team0:01:00
107Tyler Farrar (USA) Dimension Data0:01:04
108Kiel Reijnen (USA) Trek-SegafredoRow 107 - Cell 2
109Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 108 - Cell 2
110Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac0:01:06
111Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:01:11
112Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Astana Pro TeamRow 111 - Cell 2
113Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 112 - Cell 2
114Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:01:17
115Niki Terpstra (Ned) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 114 - Cell 2
116Omar Fraile (Spa) Dimension DataRow 115 - Cell 2
117Valerio Conti (Ita) Lampre - MeridaRow 116 - Cell 2
118Jaime Roson (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 117 - Cell 2
119Damien Howson (Aus) Orica-BikeExchangeRow 118 - Cell 2
120José Herrada (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 119 - Cell 2
121Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 120 - Cell 2
122Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 121 - Cell 2
123Ivan Rovny (Rus) Tinkoff TeamRow 122 - Cell 2
124David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Team SkyRow 123 - Cell 2
125Riccardo Zoidl (Aut) Trek-SegafredoRow 124 - Cell 2
126Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Lampre - MeridaRow 125 - Cell 2
127Tsgabu Grmay (Eth) Lampre - MeridaRow 126 - Cell 2
128José Mendes (Por) Bora-Argon 18Row 127 - Cell 2
129Martijn Keizer (Ned) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 128 - Cell 2
130Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 129 - Cell 2
131Julien Morice (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 130 - Cell 2
132Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 131 - Cell 2
133Jerome Cousin (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 132 - Cell 2
134Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale-DrapacRow 133 - Cell 2
135Romain Cardis (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 134 - Cell 2
136Chad Haga (USA) Team Giant-AlpecinRow 135 - Cell 2
137Ilia Koshevoy (Blr) Lampre - MeridaRow 136 - Cell 2
138Nick Dougall (RSA) Dimension DataRow 137 - Cell 2
139Scott Thwaites (GBr) Bora-Argon 18Row 138 - Cell 2
140Hugh Carthy (GBr) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 139 - Cell 2
141Maxime Bouet (Fra) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 140 - Cell 2
142Pieter Serry (Bel) Etixx - Quick-StepRow 141 - Cell 2
143Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Team SkyRow 142 - Cell 2
144Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 143 - Cell 2
145Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky0:01:34
146Romain Sicard (Fra) Direct Energie0:01:52
147Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step0:01:54
148Sindre Skjoestad Lunke (Nor) Team Giant-Alpecin0:01:57
149Rory Sutherland (Aus) Movistar TeamRow 148 - Cell 2
150Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:02:04
151Svein Tuft (Can) Orica-BikeExchange0:02:15
152Sam Bewley (NZl) Orica-BikeExchangeRow 151 - Cell 2
153Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-Argon 180:02:34
154Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:03:28
155Koen Bouwman (Ned) Team LottoNl-JumboRow 154 - Cell 2
156Quentin Jauregui (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 155 - Cell 2
157Dries Devenyns (Bel) IAM CyclingRow 156 - Cell 2
158Louis Meintjes (RSA) Lampre - Merida0:03:32
159Jack Haig (Aus) Orica-BikeExchange0:05:22
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Intermediate sprint, km. 59
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Team Sky4pts
2Quentin Jauregui (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale2Row 1 - Cell 3
3Loïc Chetout (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits1Row 2 - Cell 3
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Points
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica-BikeExchange25pts
2Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff Team20Row 1 - Cell 3
3Gianni Meersman (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step16Row 2 - Cell 3
4Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Dimension Data14Row 3 - Cell 3
5Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin12Row 4 - Cell 3
6Lorenzo Manzin (Fra) FDJ10Row 5 - Cell 3
7Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits9Row 6 - Cell 3
8Jhonatan Restrepo (Col) Team Katusha8Row 7 - Cell 3
9Rudiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Argon 187Row 8 - Cell 3
10Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky6Row 9 - Cell 3
11Eduard Prades (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA5Row 10 - Cell 3
12Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Lampre - Merida4Row 11 - Cell 3
13Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Trek-Segafredo3Row 12 - Cell 3
14Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal2Row 13 - Cell 3
15Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) Team Katusha1Row 14 - Cell 3
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Teams
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Team Katusha8:26:36
2Orica-BikeExchangeRow 1 - Cell 2
3AG2R La MondialeRow 2 - Cell 2
4Lotto SoudalRow 3 - Cell 2
5Trek-SegafredoRow 4 - Cell 2
6Dimension DataRow 5 - Cell 2
7Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 6 - Cell 2
8Bora-Argon 18Row 7 - Cell 2
9IAM CyclingRow 8 - Cell 2
10Etixx - Quick-StepRow 9 - Cell 2
11Movistar TeamRow 10 - Cell 2
12FDJRow 11 - Cell 2
13BMC Racing TeamRow 12 - Cell 2
14Team LottoNl-JumboRow 13 - Cell 2
15Tinkoff TeamRow 14 - Cell 2
16Cannondale-DrapacRow 15 - Cell 2
17Astana Pro TeamRow 16 - Cell 2
18Team Sky0:00:14
19Direct Energie0:00:25
20Team Giant-AlpecinRow 19 - Cell 2
21Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 20 - Cell 2
22Lampre - Merida0:01:42
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Final general classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team83:31:28
2Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky0:01:23
3Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-BikeExchange0:04:08
4Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff Team0:04:21
5Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac0:07:43
6Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-BikeExchange0:08:33
7David De La Cruz (Spa) Etixx - Quick-Step0:11:18
8Daniel Moreno (Spa) Movistar Team0:13:04
9Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac0:13:17
10George Bennett (NZl) Team LottoNl-Jumbo0:14:07
11Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:15:33
12Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team0:15:57
13Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:18:22
14Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:19:10
15Egor Silin (Rus) Team Katusha0:22:05
16Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:29:37
17Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale0:36:30
18Sergio Pardilla (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:38:38
19Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek-Segafredo0:40:29
20Kenny Elissonde (Fra) FDJ0:42:26
21Marcel Wyss (Swi) IAM Cycling0:44:27
22Luis Angel Mate (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:57:11
23Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step0:58:02
24Matvey Mamykin (Rus) Team Katusha1:00:10
25