Photo Essay: The Vuelta’s homestretch

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 16 TT

Race leader Chris Froome warmed up for his stage 16 time trial start at the Circuito de Navarra under the watchful gaze of hundreds of fans. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 16 TT

Alberto Contador made his way around the race car track at the start of the time trial on the Circuito de Navarra. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 16 TT

The start of the third week of the Vuelta would be a battle for second and third places on the podium. Vincenzo Nibali needed a good time trial to hold onto his GC position. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 16 TT

Chris Froome powered his way to a commanding stage win, furthering his lead in the overall classification. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 16 TT

Ilnur Zakarin used the stage 16 time trial to inch himself closer to the podium with a strong fourth-place finish. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 16 TT

“You won!” “I did?” Chris Froome nailed the individual time trial, putting him a step closer to the overall victory. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 17

Cold rain, dark skies, and heavy fog greeted Aqua Blue’s Stefan Denifil as he approached the last kilometers of stage 17 up the steep Los Machucos climb, with Alberto Contador gaining and only 25 seconds behind. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 17

Alberto Contador went on the attack in search of time gains on the super steep mountaintop finish at Los Machucos. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 17

Michael Woods continued to show strong form and good legs as the last week of mountains took its toll throughout the peloton. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 17

Chris Froome suffered from the constant attacks of Alberto Contador, Vincenzo Nibali, and Ilnur Zakarin on Los Machucos, and he crossed the finish line 40 seconds down on Nibali. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 17

Stefan Denifil delivered Aqua Blue Sport a much sought-after win in the team’s first grand tour. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 17

Chris Froome suffered on the steep ascent to Los Machucos, but with the help of his team he maintained the red leader’s jersey. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 18

The peloton passed over a series of scenic bridges and bays near San Vicente de le Barquera as the riders traversed the coastal region of Asturias. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 18

The duo of Sander Armeé and Alexey Lutsenko reached the final kilometer of stage 18 in a tête-a-tête, leaving the breakaway in pieces on the final category 3 climb. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 18

Originally in the breakaway, Julian Alaphilippe couldn’t match the pace of the leaders and ultimately lost contact and struggled over the last few kilometers. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 18

Sander Armeé left Alexey Lutsenko and the rest of their breakaway companions behind on the final climb to Monasterio de Santo Toribio de Liébana to take his first ever grand tour stage win. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 18

Chris Froome attempted to jump in the last kilometer up Monasterio de Santo Toribio de Liébana but couldn’t shake his competition. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 18

On stage 18, Zakarin and Kelderman continued to battle for Madrid podium spots as they sat in fourth and third place, respectively, in the GC. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 19

Stage 19 was a flat finish but featured the Alto de la Colladona, a category 1 climb, early in the race and three category 3 climbs before reaching the beaches of Gijón. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España -

KOM leader Davide Villella took advantage of the early climb on stage 19 to build his lead in the mountains competition. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 19

The peloton climbed up the Alto de Santo Emiliano with Team Sky ay the helm. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España -

Thomas De Gendt added to the growing success for Lotto-Soudal at the 2017 Vuelta with a stage win in Gijón. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 19

Young phenom Iván García worked hard for a win in his home region but was beat out to the line by Belgian Thomas De Gendt. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 19

With the Vuelta’s penultimate stage up to the Alto de l’Angliru looming, Alberto Contador was all smiles after the finish in Gijón. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España -

Spanish and Asturian pride was evident on the roads of the last stages of the 2017 Vuelta. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 20

Alberto Contador caught and passed the breakaway on the lower slopes of the Alto de l’Angliru, proving once again he had the legs and the heart for the race. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 20

With less than 2 kilometers left before the summit on the Angliru, Alberto Contador looked back over his shoulder to find no one on his heels. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 20

Chris Froome closed some of the gap up the Angliru with the dedicated support of teammate Wout Poels. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 20

Ilnur Zakarin gave his all on the Angliru, pushing him up to third place and nudging out Alberto Contador’s podium chances by 20 seconds. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 20

Vincenzo Nibali held on to second place going into Madrid, proving himself a worthy contender throughout the race. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 20

Alberto Contador crossed the line first on the Alto de l’Angliru, marking his last victory before retirement. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 20

A beaming Chris Froome greeted teammates, Team Sky staff, and the press after the finish of stage 20 on the Angliru. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 20

Michael Woods, 7th in GC after stage 20, spoke earlier in the Vuelta about what a huge honor it was to be racing side by side with riders such as Chris Froome, Alberto Contador, and Vincenzo Nibali. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 20

The two cycling legends, Alberto Contador and Chris Froome, congratulated each other after the finale of stage 20. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 21

Hundreds of Alberto Contador fans gathered around the Trek-Segafredo bus for the last racing appearance of “El Pistolero” at the start of stage 21 in Arroyomolinos. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 21

Endless thanks for the champion Alberto Contador. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 21

Red jersey holder Chris Froome at the sign in before the start of stage 21. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 21

Alberto Contador could barely pass through the crowds in Arroyomolinos for the start of stage 21. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 21

Alberto Contador arrived through the finish line ahead of the peloton for the first lap of the circuits around Madrid. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 21

Clad in red, Team Sky ceremoniously brought the peloton into Madrid before the circuit racing began in earnest. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 21

Virtual Vuelta winner Chris Froome completed one of the eight laps around the historic center of Madrid. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 21

Alessandro de Marchi worked at the front of the breakaway during many of the final laps through Madrid. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 21

Matteo Trentin stole the show in Madrid after his Quick-Step Floors teammates worked to reel in the breakaway. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 21

Chris Froome fought valiantly to hold onto the red jersey throughout the last week of the Vuelta. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 21

Momentary elation for Matteo Trentin after the finish before finding out he had missed snatching back the green jersey by just two points. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 21

Davide Villella couldn’t believe it was finally over. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 21

Having just missed the green jersey in Madrid, Matteo Trentin took the top step of the podium in Madrid for his sprint victory on stage 21. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 21

Alberto Contador waved to the thousands of fans around the plaza from the podium in Madrid. Photo: Iri Greco / BrakeThrough Media | www.brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 21

The final podium in Madrid: Vincenzo Nibali, Chris Froome, and Ilnur Zakarin. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

2017 Vuelta a España - Stage 21

Team Sky had a lot to celebrate in 2017 with back-to-back victories at the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España. Photo: Jim Fryer / BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com