Vuelta: Stage to Peter Sagan, Overall for Jose Cobo

Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins both sealed podium positions behind winner Juan José Cobo as Peter Sagan (Liquigas) claimed the final stage of the Vuelta a Espana in Madrid.

In a landmark day for Team Sky, who were registering their best overall result so far in a Grand Tour, British pair Froome and Wiggins were confirmed in second and third, 13 seconds and one minute and 39 seconds respectively behind Geox rider Cobo.

They are the first Britons to make a Grand Tour podium since Robert Millar’s second place at the 1987 Giro d’Italia. And it completed a memorable Vuelta for Team Sky who had seen that pair in the leader’s red jersey at various points of an absorbing race while the team also won two stages during the course of the three weeks, Chris Sutton taking stage two while Froome claimed an epic victory over Cobo in the race’s final mountain-top finish on Wednesday.

Since then the Kenyan-born Brit had done everything he could to try and overhaul Cobo’s 13 seconds advantage but opportunities were limited and his Spanish rival held firm throughout.

Dave Brailsford, Team Sky Principal: “It’s never been done before by two Brits so it’s very, very pleasing.

“It’s a sign of just how far we are moving forward and just how well Team Sky are performing this year to achieve an historical result like that. Obviously we’d have liked to be on the top step but credit to the guys, they’ve both done fantastic races.”

“It was a breakthrough performance from Chris Froome. We’ve always known from training that Chris produces fantastic power and great numbers. He’s done that back-to-back in a consistent way over the three weeks here. Bradley was being operated on for a broken collarbone only eight weeks ago so it’s a remarkable turnaround. For him to perform at this level against some of the best riders in the world is an achievement in itself.”

“We set out wanting to be the first team that puts a British rider on the top step of a Grand Tour and we’ve come a long, long way and as close as we could possibly get to that which gives us great confidence looking ahead to the three Grand Tours next year.”

Chris Froome, Team Sky Rider: “I’m over the moon and it was an experience of a lifetime. Over the last week when it became clear that my early form and time trial performance were not one-off results I really began to enjoy myself and came to the realisation that I can now compete with some of the best GC riders in the world.”

“It’s been really enjoyable and the best thing has been having my family over here to see me in the red jersey and also win a stage. The highlight for me was definitely winning that 17th stage at the top of the Pena Cabarga climb; it was a special day and will live long in my memory.”

“Hopefully I’ve done something good for the team but I wouldn’t have been in this position if it wasn’t for everyone else. The other riders have worked so hard over the last three weeks to keep myself and Bradley protected. The support staff and the people behind the scenes were also amazing and they don’t get enough credit for what they do. It’s them that have got us here and I’m so happy that I and Bradley finished on the podium.”

Bradley Wiggins, Team Sky Rider: “Thinking back to where I was a couple of months ago it’s a fantastic feeling to finish on the podium here and obviously it’s a massive result for the team to have Froomey on the podium with me too.”

“With my shoulder as it was this race was always going to be a bit of a testing ground for me and I’m really happy with the way I’ve been able to ride. This race has proved that what happened two years ago at the Tour de France was no fluke and I know in my mind now that I have what it takes to match strong riders at the Tour next year.”

“Froomey deserves massive praise for the way he’s ridden this race. He buried himself for me during those first two weeks and has been able to maintain his form right the way through to today. He’s produced ride after ride and also got his deserved stage win – I’m delighted for him.”

Stage 21 – Circuito del Jarama to Madrid, 94.2km

STAGE RESULT
1. Peter Sagan – Liquigas (2h20m59s)
2. Daniele Bennati – Leopard Trek (s.t.)
3. Alessandro Petacchi – Lampre (s.t)

7. Chris Sutton – Team Sky (s.t.)

OVERALL STANDINGS
1. Juan Jos̩ Cobo РGeox (84h59m31s)
2. Chris Froome – Team Sky (+13s)
3. Bradley Wiggins – Team Sky (+1m39s)

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