Three minutes and 18 seconds off the winning pace set by three-time Tour de France victor Chris Froome of Great Britain, the Nelson professional moved into 11th in the general classification and just 50 seconds off the next best rider with two stages remaining.
Britain’s Chris Froome closed the gap on Tour of Spain leader Nairo Quintana to one minute and 21 seconds with a spectacular performance in Friday’s individual time trial.
However, the Tour de France champion and 2016 Olympic time trial bronze medallist was the only rider to clock under 47 minutes, finishing with a time of 46 minutes and 33 seconds to beat Jonathan Castroviejo’s mark, the Movistar rider coming in 44 seconds adrift.
Sponsored content: Take our data storage survey and we’ll donate to the Federal Employee Education Assistance Fund.
Froome’s hopes of winning a Tour de France and Vuelta double are still alive.
“We have one more day of racing tomorrow”.
“Froome was flying, he posted a much better time than we expected”, said Quintana.
“He has more than one minute but we are going to keep on fighting”, Froome said.
Swede Tobias Ludvigsson was third, the Team Giant Alpecin rider posting a time of 47mins and 57secs.
Nairo Quintana all but sealed the Vuelta a Espana title by holding off a series of attacks from Chris Froome on the final climb of a penultimate stage which was won by Pierre Latour.
“This is the last race of my season, so I am really happy to still be in good condition”, Froome told Spanish TV station Teledeporte.
Quintana’s compatriot Esteban Chaves is set to claim a podium finish after making a break 44km from a summit finish to replace Alberto Contador in third.
Two stages of the three-week tour remain, but with today’s finale a mere procession around the streets of central Madrid, yesterday’s 193.2km ride from Benidorm to Alto de Aitana was key.
Following tomorrow’s mountain stage, the race is due to conclude on Sunday (September 11) with a 104km sprinters stage from Las Rozas to Madrid.