Contador completes Vuelta win
Spaniard makes it safely to the finish as Degenkolb wins last stage
Last Updated: September 9, 2012 6:46pm
Alberto Contador: Has won the Vuelta a Espana for a second time
Alberto Contador secured overall victory in the Vuelta a Espana as Argos-Shimano rider John Degenkolb won the final stage of the race in Madrid.
Contador (Saxo Bank-TInkoff Bank) made it safely to the finish of the largely-processional final stage to win the Spanish Grand Tour for a second time.
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) finished one minute 16 seconds adrift in second position while Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) completed an all-Spanish podium.
As expected the Madrid finale ended in a sprint, with Degenkolb once again proving his credentials as the fastest man in the race by beating Elia Viviani (Liquigas-Cannondale) to the line for his fifth stage win.
The final stage of the race set out at a leisurely pace as Contador, who was riding in his first major race since serving a doping suspension, had time to savour his imminent victory.
As the riders approached Madrid for the finishing circuit six riders chipped off the front in a bid to upset the sprinters.
Kevin Seeldraeyers (Astana), Sergey Lagutin (Vacansoleil-DCM), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Sergio Carrasco and Javier Chacon (Andalucia) and Javier Aramenida (Caja Rurual) were the riders who went up the road.
But the peloton kept them on a tight leash and it was the fast men who came to the fore on the run to the finish line.
Degenkolb was given a perfect lead out by his team-mates and finished off the job in his trademark powerful style, with Viviani edged into second and Daniele Bennati (RadioShack-Nissan) completing the top three.
Valverde showed his all-round abilities by sprinting to sixth place, meaning he overtook Rodriguez to claim victory in both the points and combination classifications at the last possible opportunity.
Rodriguez, who had been set for overall victory until a daring move from Contador on stage 17, ultimately finished the race empty-handed.