Madrid - American Chris Horner became the oldest ever winner of a cycling
grand tour as the 41-year-old rubber stamped his victory in the Vuelta a Espana in Madrid on Sunday.
Australian Michael Matthews won the
21st stage of the race around the capital's city centre in a bunch
sprint ahead of American Tyler Farrar and German Nikias Arndt.
finished 47th but maintained his 37 second advantage over Italian
Vincenzo Nibali with Spain's Alejandro Valverde taking third.
"I knew how hard it was going to be for this team to win the Vuelta a Espana," Horner told a press conference on Saturday.
have faced younger and great riders like Nibali, Valverde and Joaquim
Rodriguez. They have had a great tour so for me it is a legendary moment
that may not be repeated.
"I know I am also the first North
American to win the Vuelta a Espana and this makes me very proud of my
work and above all that of my teammates."
Horner's bid for the
title began in earnest on the third stage from Vigo to Villagarcia de
Arosa, which he won to register his first ever stage victory in a grand
tour and move ahead in the general classification.
He held the
leader's red jersey for just a day as 2010 champion Nibali regained the
lead on stage four, but he took the lead once more with another stage
victory in the 10th stage from Torredelcampo to Guejar Sierra.
responded again and the Giro d'Italia winner seemed set for his second Vuelta a Espana title as he headed into the final week of the race with a
50 second lead.
However, Horner made significant strides into
Nibali's advantage in the 16th and 18th stages before finally moving
ahead of the Italian on the climb up the Alto Naranco in Oviedo in
Friday's 19th stage.
And the RadioShack rider all but sealed his
triumph when he moved away from Nibali in the final few kilometres of
Saturday's dauting 12.2km climb to the top of the Alto de L'Angliru to
open up his 37 second lead.
Nibali was content with his tour
overall but accepted he may have underestimated Horner in the climb to
Formigal on the 16th stage which handed the American a lifeline.
think I have competed well from the first stage. It was a very
difficult tour but I think I honoured the red jersey," he said.
"It is possible that on Formigal I underestimated Horner and he gained some seconds there.
can't complain with how my year has gone. I won the Giro and I came
here with the intention to win again in the Vuelta a Espana.
everything I had to wear the red jersey and defend it, but perhaps our
strategy wasn't correct."
Horner also won the combined classification, whilst Valverde took the green jersey for the winner of the points classification.
rider Nicholas Edet rounded off a generally successful tour for French
riders as he was crowned king of the mountains and in their final grand
tour before a revamp fronted by Formula One driver Fernando Alonso,
Basque team Euskaltel-Euskadi won the team classification.
Leading results from the 21st stage of the Vuelta a Espana, a 109.6km ride from Leganes to Madrid:
1. Michael Matthews (AUS/ORI) 2h44min 00sec
2. Tyle Farrar (USA/GRM) at s.t.
3. Nikias Arndt (GER/ARG) s.t.
4. Gianni Meersman (BEL/OPQ) s.t.
5. Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (ARG/LAM) s.t.
6. Grega Bole (SLO/VCD) s.t.
7. Adrien Petit (FRA/COF) s.t.
8. Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA/ARG) s.t.
9. Francesco Lasca (ITA/CJR) s.t.
10. Robert Wanger (GER/BKN) s.t.
11. Lucas Sebastian Haedo (ARG/CAN) s.t.
12. Daniele Ratto (ITA/CAN) s.t.
13. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR/SKY) s.t.
14. Rigoberto Uran (COL/SKY) s.t.
15. Klaas Lodewyck (BEL/BMC) s.t.
16. Zakkari Dempster (AUS/APP) s.t.
17. Tosh Van der Sande (BEL/LTB) s.t.
18. Anthony Roux (FRA/FDJ) s.t.
19. Vladimir Isaichev (RUS/KAT) 0:03.
20. Michael Morkov (DEN/SAX) s.t.
24. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST) s.t.
34. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/ALM) s.t.
39. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) s.t.
46. Nicolas Roche (IRL/SAX) s.t.
47. Chris Horner (USA/RSH) s.t.
1. Chris Horner (USA/RSH) 84h 36min 04sec
2. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST) at 0:37.
3. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 1:36.
4. Joaquin Rodriguez (ESP/KAT) 3:22.
5. Nicolas Roche (IRL/SAX) 7:11.
6. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/ALM) 8:00.
7. Thibaut Pinot (FRA/FDJ) 8:41.
8. Samuel Sanchez (ESP/EUS) 9:51.
9. Leopold Knig (CZE/APP) 10:11.
10. Daniel Moreno (ESP/KAT) 13:11.
11. Tanel Kangert (EST/AST) 14:05.
12. Jose Herrada (ESP/MOV) 16:48.
13. David Arroyo (ESP/CJR) 17:34.
14. Dominik Nerz (GER/BMC) 19:26.
15. Michele Scarponi (ITA/LAM) 22:04.
16. Andre Cardoso (POR/CJR) 25:03.
17. Robert Kiserlovski (CRO/RSH) 25:06.
18. Chris Anker Sorensen (DEN/SAX) 27:02.
19. Rafal Majka (POL/SAX) 32:52.
20. Igor Anton (ESP/EUS) 33:05.