Veteran Horner creates history with Vuelta victory

American becomes oldest winner of Grand Tour event as Roche finishes fifth

At 41, American Chris Horner becomes the oldest winner of a Grand Tour event after his victory in the Vuelta a Espana. Photograph: Joseba Etxaburu/Reuters

American Chris Horner became the oldest winner of a Grand Tour when he took the overall classification of the Vuelta a Espana on Sunday for the biggest win of his long career.

RadioShack rider Horner, who turns 42 next month, left the sprinters to fight out the 21st and final stage of the three-week Vuelta and finished safely in the bunch to secure his maiden Grand Tour by 37 seconds ahead of Giro d'Italia champion Vincenzo Nibali. Spain's Alejandro Valverde was third overall.

Ireland's Nicolas Roche completed a fine coupe of weeks by finishing in fifth position, finishing just over seven minutes behind Horner, with Spain's Joaquin Rodriguez finishing in fourth spot.

The stage win went to Australia's Michael Matthews in a bunch sprint. with American Tyler Farrar second and Germany's Niklas Arndt third.