Chris Froome earns himself a second place

Chris Froome’s been runner-up in Grand Tours three times now, but whereas on the two previous occasions, he could blame Bradley Wiggins for not being a place higher, this time it was all his own doing.

Not that finishing second to Alberto Contador should really be considered failure. Contador’s bust-legged performance in this race highlighted his character as much as his physiology. After a slightly limp 2013 Tour de France, he seems back to his best and with he, Froome, Nibali and Quintana in the peloton, the world’s biggest bike race should be hotly contested next year.

The Vuelta’s final day time trial didn’t change much and John Degenkolb in particular was thankful of that. His points jersey could have been claimed by either Alejandro Valverde or Alberto Contador, but the heavens decreed otherwise. That’s not a religious reference in honour of the race finishing in front of the Santiago de Compostela cathedral. I mean that it pissed it down halfway through the day. All the late starters – meaning the guys high up in the general classification – had to take care in the wet and so Degenkolb retained his green garb.

Carlos Betancur watch

Cannily benefiting from the best weather by being second to last and therefore second to start, he managed 54th place on the day. He still finished second-to-last though, 12 minutes behind the legendary Jimmy Engoulvent and nine ahead of Andrea Guardini.

What’s next?

Not a lot. It’s the World Championships time trial next Wednesday and then the road race on the Sunday. A week after that, it’s Il Lombardia, the final Monument of the season and that’s pretty much it. Technically, there’s still another World Tour stage race after that – the Tour of Beijing – but it’s a bit of an afterthought.