Vuelta a Espana: Nairo Quintana takes confidence for Tour de France
By Matt Westby
Last Updated: 11/09/16 3:50pm
Nairo Quintana said beating Chris Froome to victory at the Vuelta a Espana has given him confidence to repeat the feat at next summer's Tour de France.
Quintana defended his lead over second-placed Froome on stage 20's summit finish and now only has to avoid crashing on Sunday's final stage into Madrid to seal 1min 23sec triumph.
It will be the first time the 26-year-old Colombian has defeated Froome in a Grand Tour, having been edged out by the Briton at the Tour de France in 2013, 2015 and 2016.
Quintana said: "I'm very proud of having been able to beat him. He is the biggest rival out there. He fought incredibly hard and you can't let him gain a single metre on you.
"Froome is strongly protected but we have to try to take advantage of all kinds of different situation [at the Tour de France]. Winning here has given us the confidence to try."
Froome launched six attacks on the climb to stage 20's finish on Alto de Aitana in a bid to overturn his 1min 21sec deficit but was chased down by Quintana on each occasion.
"I had no problem following Froome," Quintana added. "He started to attack very early. That's normal, and we were very attentive.
"My team was always very concentrated and we could keep everything under control all the time. Finally, on the climb, I felt very good and I had no trouble countering Froome's surges.
"He's a great rider, and his team was at a very good level, and they always made trouble for me. He did a great time trial [on stage 19] and he suffered to try to win this Vuelta."
Find out more about stage 21 in our race guide and follow all the action with our live blog from 4pm BST.