• Rafal Majka crosses the line of the 20th Stage of the 2015 Vuelta a Espana. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Rafal Majka and Joaquim Rodriguez were among the big winners on the final mountain stage of the Vuelta a Espana.
By
Cycling Central

13 Sep 2015 - 8:02 AM 

Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) along with Nairo Quintana went with Fabio Aru as the Astana rider made his race-winning attack on the penultimate climb of the stage.

Majka then attacked again with Quintana on the final climb in an attempt to unseat Joaquim Rodriguez from second position. While this bid was unsuccessful, Majka still climbed onto the podium - making him and team owner Oleg Tinkov very happy (in his own special way).

"To reach the podium of a Grand Tour is very special for me," said Majka.

"Movistar and Astana set a fast pace on the first climbs and everybody were on their limit so I decided to attack and follow Quintana on the last climb. It was Astana’s job to drop Dumoulin and it was Tinkoff-Saxo’s and my job to reach the podium.”

Majka added that he was on the limit all the way to the finish line in his bid to bag second place.

“We were pushing and pushing and on the top I met up with Jay McCarthy, who pulled very hard for me and on the finish line, I was only 12 seconds away from second place in the GC," he said. "It’s a pity since it’s such a small margin but it doesn’t matter, I am just so happy with the podium right now."

While Joaquim Rodriguez benefitted from Dumoulin's collapse, he came close to losing second overall - having to sprint for the line in order to keep his GC position.

"When Quintana and Majka attacked on the last climb, it looked suddenly bad for me," said Rodriguez. "I thought they would kick me off the Vuelta podium, but I didn't panic and with the help of Alberto Losado I managed not to lose too much time.

"To finish second after three weeks is beautiful: to do better was impossible," he added. "Aru deserves the victory."