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Vuelta a Espana 2017: Stage 20


Hola and welcome to the big day: Stage 20 of the 2017 Vuelta a Espana.  


 As we kick off our live coverage, the riders re lined up for the start in Corvera for the 117.5km stage to the legendary summit of the Angliru. 

It is raining at the start and the rain is expected to fall for all the stage and the steep climb up to the finish.  

The riders have rolled out from the start and face a neutralised sector before the official start.

Of course today's stage is the decisive stage of the race. The Angliru will decide the final overall winner of the red jersey before Sunday's parade stage into Madrid. 

Chris Froome (Team Sky) is leading the peloton in the red jersey.

With the GC so close, anything could happen today on the Angliru.

We'll have full coverage of all the action during the stage and reaction and photos after the finish.  

The riders are still in the neutralised sector, tucked in behind the red race car.

The skies are still dark and heavy, with the roads wet. 

The riders are wrapped up against the rain.

This is the general classification before stage 20. 

Here we go!  The flag drops for the start of the 117.5km stage. 

We have the first attacks. Several riders are trying to get away. 

Igor Anton of Dimension Data is the first rider to move. Both others are going after him.

111km remaining from 117km

The GC contenders are staying safely in the peloton for now, as other attacks go off the front. 

As the early climb starts, we have another attack. Denifl is dragging a move away. 

The attack group has grown in number and in its lead. There are at least 12 riders in there. 

Crash! The first of the day sees David Arroyo goes down.  

11 riders are confirmed in the break. But others are chasing them. 

We have several groups spread across the climb.

104km remaining from 117km

The sun is now out by the roads are wet. 

The sun is now out by the roads are wet. Riders are still nervous about the conditions.

We have a total of 18 riders in the break now with Marco Haller of Katusha trying to get across. 

93km remaining from 117km

The riders are in a lush, green valley at the moment. The finish at the Angliru is so much different, so very rugged and exposed.

Enric Mas (Quick Step), Simon Yates (Orica-Scott), Marc Soler (Movistar Team), Soren Kragh Andersen (Team Sunweb), Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe), Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates), Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto-Soudal), Tobias Ludvigsson (FDJ), Lluis Mas (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) are amongst those in the break.

The Trek-Segafredo team is helping to chase the attack or at least keep it under control, probably in the hope to set up Alberto Contador a final, goodbye attack on the Angliru. 

88km remaining from 117km

The road ramps up after 54km and then the Alto de Cobertoria tops out after 79.5km. 

We can see both Adam and Simon Yates in the attack today.  They're chasing a stage victory.  

Aslo in the attack are Romain Bardet (AG2R) and Nico Roche (BMC).  

Trek-Segafredo are keeping the gap to 55 seconds. 

Six years ago, it was the time loss on the Alto de l'Angliru that ultimately undid Chris Froome's hopes of winning the Vuelta a Espana, a race that made his name as a Grand Tour contender.

To read the full article on what Froome said before the Angliru, click here. 

The break has pushed out its lead to 1:10 but Trek is still chasing them. 

78km remaining from 117km

Trek are setting a furious pace and so holding the break at 1:00.

Despite the early climb, the riders covered a rapid 43.3km/h in the first hour. 

68km remaining from 117km

Alasdair Fotheringham and Sadhbh O'Shea are on the ground for Cyclingnews at the Vuelta a Espana.

Sadhbh is already at the summit of the Angliru and sent this shot of the finish. 

The Trek team is still working on the front of the peloton with help from Astana, as Miguel Angel Lopez also eyes a stage victory and a chance to win the climber's jersey.

55km remaining from 117km

The descent of the Cordal - the second major climb, is especially difficult. 

The narrow, single-track road up to the Angliru was used originally for herding cattle. It has been resurfaced but there have been no other changes. There are still no buildings at the top: this is cycling'’s ultimate road to nowhere - barring victory in the Vuelta.

The section of the Angliru that really leaves a lasting impression is the big left-hander known as Cobayos, at km 10.

The last part of the climb maintains the pain, with the final hard segment of El Aviru which has slopes of 21 percent with 1.5 kilometres to go, very likely to extend any gains made by an attack on the Cabres ‘ramp’.

49km remaining from 117km

The roads are dry in the valley but very different up at the summit of the Angliru. The temperature is down to 6C, with wet low clouds.  

Other GC teams are moving up to the front of the peloton now. We can see Katusha positioning Zakarin. 

Alto de la Cobertoria begins.

43km remaining from 117km

Here comes the rain, adding an extra dimension and extra danger to the stage.

The break is falling apart on the climb now.

The rain is heavy and cold now. It is going a big factor on the 10km descent coming up in 3km.

The break has split into several groups, with the peloton at 1:45.

Bahrain-Merida is also helping with the pace setting in the peloton. We could see Nibali try to force things on the descent.

Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors) was one of the rider setting a hard pace at the front on the climb. He has been joined by Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates), Marc Soler (Movistar), Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto Soudal), Soren Kragh Andersen (Team Sunweb).

39km remaining from 117km

Soren Kragh Andersen (Team Sunweb) is doing lots of work on the front of the break.

Some riders are grabbing bidons and capes as team cars go up to the peloton.  

The break is on the rain-soaked descent. Everyone is being very careful.

The peloton is now on the wet descent. It's a key moment in the race. 

30km remaining from 117km

Froome goes wide on a curve but seems in control. 

26km remaining from 117km

25km remaining from 117km

There are only 20 or so riders left in the peloton. 

The riders are on the Alto de la Cordal now. It is short but steep, with a terrible descent to the foot of the Angliru. 

Some of the break are being swept up as Bahrain lead the peloton.

Several big names are missing from the peloton. 

Zakarin is behind and Aru has been suffering too. Pantano has been setting a fast pace for Contador. 

Zakarin and Aru could lose their GC placings today. 

23km remaining from 117km

Michael Woods is at the back of the peloton, hanging not his GC spot. 

22km remaining from 117km

Ilnur Zakarin and David De La Cruz (Quick-Step Floors) make it back to the peloton but that was a scare for their GC placing.

21km remaining from 117km

With the break taking the points, it means that Davide Vilella of Cannondale-Drapac is sure of winning the climber's competition.

The Cannondale team confirmed that it has found a a new sponsor and new majority owner for 2018 today, with EF International taking over the title sponsor.

Crash! Soler goes down on the descent. 

He slid out but does not seem hurt. He as pushing it a little too much. 

The 8km descent is covered in leaves, with sun and shadows making it difficult to judge speed. 

17km remaining from 117km

He's up and chasing but is 20 seconds behind Froome's group.

Nibali should get back on just in time for the Angliru. 

De la Curz also crashes ands goes off the road. He does not seem hurt but will need time to get going. 

That's De la Cruz of Quick-Step Floors. He was 11th overall. 

The remains of the break are still out front but we can see that Contador is chasing behind. 

He has Pantano with him but is 30 seconds back on the peloton.

Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto Soudal) is up front and alone. He's pushing on trying to win another stage.

We stand corrected, Contador is upfront!!!

In the confusion on the descent, with crash going on, few noticed that Contador attacked early on the start of the Angliru. 

10km remaining from 117km

Only Enrico Mas (Quick-Step) is with Contador now. 

This is the Angliru! 

Contador is on the easier middle section no but the gradient will soon kick up again. 

Contador catches Bardet and others. They only 20 seconds down on Tomasz Marczynski.  

Froome has four teammates to help him. 

8km remaining from 117km

Marczynski, Bardet, Mas and Soler are with Contador. 

There are dozen riders in the Froome group, including Michael Woods.

There is a strong side/head wind on some parts of the climb. This will help Team Sky chase.

Klderman and Nibali are in the Froome group. Zakarin seems to be there too. 

6km remaining from 117km

For now the roads are dry below the cloud level. 

Nibali and Pelizzotti are on the front of the peloton now. They are 40 seconds back.  

5km remaining from 117km

He gets going again and has gone clear alone.

The problem with the fan does not seem to have affected Contador. He's powering away. 

5km remaining from 117km

Contador is fighting the double-digit gradient. He dances on the pedals for a spell and then sits down to push from the saddle. 

The roads is wet in the shadows and so grip is a problem. 

Behind the Froome group is down to just eight riders.

4km remaining from 117km

Zak is only 12 seconds down on the Dutchman and so even the time bonuses for second and third could play a part in the final result of the Vuelta.

Poels takes up the pace as Contador opens his lead to 1:20.

Contador is on the steepest part of the climb. He's on his lowest gear as he fights to win the stage. 

The Spanish fans are cheering him on, with the police trying to hold them back.  

Pelizotti is again pushing the pace ahead of Nibali. 

Contador has such a gap that he close to taking a place on the podium. Zak is back in the Froome group. 

Kruiswijk is in the middle, trying to chase Contador but he is 55 seconds back. 

Contador is getting a running police escort on the packed climb. He needs it, the fans are going crazy.

2km remaining from 117km

Contador needs a magic number of 1:17 to take a podium spot and he's set to gain that time. He also has a ten second time bonus if he wins the stage.   

Contador is grinding his gear into the ground. He's suffering like probably never before in his career. 

Behind Nibali is suffering and losing ground. 

Froome is 20m ahead of him now, with Zak and others. 

1km remaining from 117km

Poels joins him and they benefit from a tailwind section.

Pelizzotti is trying to pace Nibali back up. 

It is everyone for themselves. 

1km remaining from 117km

Contador is heading to a great final stage victory. 

Froome and Poels are only 30 seconds down on Contador.

Contador is suffering as he tries to stay clear.

Zakarin is set to move up overall.

1km remaining from 117km

Contador looks behind him and takes a big breath. 

The gap is 25 seconds to Froome and Poels.

But nobody can stop Contador winning on the Angliru.

As he hits the line Contador celebrates in style. What  final win for the Spaniard. 

Froome and Poels finish 16 seconds behind as they try to drag Poels up onto the poduim. 

Other riders come in. Nibali is in and so seems set to finish second behind Froome.  

Contador waved to the fans to cheer him and then fired off his Pistolero celebration. 

Results show that Poels and Froome finished at 17.

Zakarin managed to distance Wilco Kelderman in the final kilometre of the Angliru and gain enough time to move past the Dutchman. 

Froome, Poels and the Team Sky staff celebrated their great day and Froome's Tour-Vuelta double just after the finish line, letting out lots of cheers and hugging each other. 

This is the top 10 stage result: 

It confirms that Michael Woods finished tenth, 1:36 down on Contador.

Only Anquetil and Hinault have won the Tour-Vuelta double before Froome. 

Alberto Contador spoke briefly after crossing the finish line and winning the stage. 

This is the General Classification after stage 20:


Chris Froome also spoke briefly about his day and lining up his Tour-Vuelta double.

"It's an absolute incredible feeling, and what a way to end such a massive three weeks of racing, having completed the Tour-Vuelta double that’s an amazing feeling, thanks to everyone for all of the support for the last few weeks," Froome said, after congratulating Contador on his stage victory. 

The Trek-Segafredo team posted this shot of Contador and Froome together.

This is one of the first images of Contador celebrating his stage victory. 

To read our full stage report and see our photo gallery from the dramatic stage, click here. 

Due the strong winds blowing at the summit of the Angliru, the podium ceremony was held inside a tent. 

It seems the Team Sky riders and staff are also celebrating. This is a photo posted by the team on Twitter.

However it was not an easy day for others. Vincenzo Nibali crashed on a descent and was unable to launch any attacks on Froome during the climb of the Angliru. He did manage to defend his second place but suffered doing so. 

Contador also flexed his muscles as he celebrated a very special and final stage victory. 

Chris Froome was also happy to have set up his Tour-Vuelta double.

Vincenzo Nibali prefered not to speak at the summit of the Angliru but has reassured people he is not too hurt, tweeting: 

The tweet was cut off. This is the full message from Nibali. 

That's about it from today's live coverage.

With Froome dropping Nibali and Zakarin distancing Kelderman, the overall classification changed, with The Russian up to third overall and Contador up to fifth. 

Michael Woods (Cannondale-Drapac) fought hard to finish seventh overall, while Tejay van Garderen (BMC) also fought to move up to tenth overall. 

For our full stage report and photo gallery from the epic stage, click here. 

Join us tomorrow for live coverage of the final evening stage in Madrid, as Chris Froome is set to become the first tour-Vuelta winner of the modern era and Alberto Contador races for the very last time.

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