Cape Town - Britain's Chris Froome came out on top in his battle with Alberto Contador to win the Tour of Andalusia on Sunday and start the season on a high.
The Team Sky rider came first overall in the five-day race having finished sixth in the final 170km stage from Montilla down to the southern Spanish coast at Alhaurin de la Torre which was won by Juan Jose Lobato.
Spaniard Contador, who beat Froome to win the Tour of Spain last September, was unable to make up the two-second gap that separated him from the lead and finished in ninth place.
The victory was set up by a spectacular performance on day four when Froome took the lead after finishing 29 seconds ahead of Contador who could not cope with the pace set by the Briton on the climb up the Alto de Allanadas.
There was a breakaway by seven riders after the first 40 kilometres but the peloton kept in touch and began to rein them in with Froome and Contador, both former Tour de France winners, at the head of the chasing group.
Pole Maciej Paterski kept up the tempo and still held a lead of around 10 seconds going into the final 10 kilometres.
He was eventually overtaken and the lead exchanged hands before Lobato flew to the front inside the final 200 metres pursued by John Degenkolb who finished second with Sylvain Chavanel third.