Nairo Quintana repels Chris Froome and moves to verge of Vuelta a Espana title

Nairo Quintana is poised to win the Vuelta a Espaa after protecting his leading over Chris Froome in Saturdays gruelling penultimate stage from Benidorm to Alto de Aitana

Nairo Quintana is poised to win the Vuelta a Espaa after protecting his result over Chris Froome in a gruelling penultimate stage through Spains southern mountains between Benidorm and Alto de Aitana on Saturday.

Barring an accident or incident on the flat final stage a flat 105 km ride from Las Rozas to Madrid the Colombian Movistar rider will add the 2016 Vuelta to the 2014 Giro dItalia on his Grand Tour list of honours.

Pierre-Roger Latour of France won the 193 km( 120 mile) stage, traversing three category-two ascents from Benidorm before a summit finish at Alto de Aitana in five hours, 19 minutes. Latour, who rides for AG2R La Mondiale, edged Darwin Atapuma at the line for his first win at a major race.

Froome had reduced Quintanas lead by more than two minutes by winning Fridays time trial, moving to within 1min 21 sec of his competitor. Quintana maintained Froome in check throughout Saturdays ride, responding to his repeated assaults on the final 21 km( 13 mile) climb and passing him just before the finish. Froome applauded as Quintana pulled past him, following the last of several one-on-one climbing duels the two stars had during the three-week Grand Tour.

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