AFTER A TOUGH day in the saddle, Juan Jose Cobo went to bed last night knowing that the famous red jersey of the Vuelta a Espana was almost his.
The Spaniard dreamed about his moment of glory last night, then experienced it in the flesh today as the season’s final Grand Tour finished with its traditional ceremonial ride into Madrid.
Cobo, who bravely held off the challenge of Britain’s Christopher Froome since taking the lead last Sunday, crossed the finish line with the peloton to win his maiden Grand Tour by 12 seconds.
Froome, who sportingly observed the unwritten protocol of not challenging the red jersey on the final day, finished second in the G.C. standings while his Team Sky team-mate Bradley Wiggins took third.
Victory in today’s 96-kilometre stage went to Peter Sagan who pipped the Italian duo of Daniele Benatti and Alessandro Petacchi to the line. The Slovakian’s win moved him up to fourth overall in the points classification, won by Bauke Mollema (Rabobank).
France’s David Moncoutie was crowned King of the Mountains, while Cobo’s Geox-TMC team won the team classification.
Daniel Martin and Nicolas Roche, Ireland’s two representatives at this year’s Vuelta, will be pleased with their showing over three excellent weeks as they both sealed top 20 finishes today.
Martin, who won his maiden Grand Tour stage on day nine, finished 13th, 7’22″ behind Cobo. Roche finished three places behind his cousin in 16th, clocking an overall time 10’25″ slower than the race winner.