Nairo Quintana, chapeau! Following a relatively quiet season, the Colombian cycled a race perfectly suited to his climbing ability. Arguably won on stage 15 when Movistar caught Team Sky napping, this year’s Vuelta proved too much for Quintana’s biggest rival, Chris Froome.

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Even Froome’s excellent performance in the individual time trial stage wasn’t enough to seriously worry Quintana who looked incredibly comfortable checking Froomes attacks and even staging attacks of his own on the final climb on Saturday’s mountain top finish. Finally cycling fans got to see Quintana go toe to toe with Froome and win.

Winner of La Vuelta 2016, Movistar's Colombian cyclist Nairo Quintana (R) and second placed Sky's British cyclist Christopher Froome toast on the podium of the last stage of the 71st edition of "La Vuelta" Tour of Spain, a 104.8km route Las Rozas to Madrid, on September 11, 2016., Image: 299535188, License: Rights-managed, Restrictions: , Model Release: no, Credit line: Profimedia, AFP
Winner of La Vuelta 2016, Movistar’s Colombian cyclist Nairo Quintana and second placed Sky’s British cyclist Christopher Froome toast on the podium of the last stage of the 71st edition of La Vuelta.

Froome didn’t make it easy, and you can be certain that he’ll be disappointed that a double Grand Tour victory continues to elude him. This is the third time Froome has finished second in the Vuelta, but there’s always next year…

Quintana describes Froome as, “a great rival”, and given the years left in both their careers, we’ll see many great competitions between the two. I’m now willing to bet that Movistar will green light the team to give everything to Le Tour de France 2017, but the Vuelta is proving to be just as important to the biggest names in cycling in the world.

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