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VUELTA’22 Final Stage 21: Remco Evenepoel King of the Vuelta!

Vuelta Stage Report: Belgium’s Remco Evenepoel had no problems in the final stage 21 of the Vuelta a España to take his Vuelta crown in Madrid. The sprint for the stage win was a bit messy, but in the end Juan Sebastián Molano beat points leader Mads Pedersen and his UAE Team Emirates teammate Pascal Ackermann.

The last kilometre of the 2022 Vuelta a España

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Juan Sebastian Molano couldn’t believe he won the final stage of the Vuelta

Remco Evenepoel has made history by winning the 2022 Vuelta a España. The 22-year-old Belgian of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl received the overall winner’s trophy in Madrid. The final stage was surprisingly won by Juan Sebastián Molano of UAE Team Emirates.

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The last stage of their last Grand Tour – Alejandro Valverde and Vincenzo Nibali

Race director, Fernando Escartín: “La Vuelta returns to Madrid. A well-known route through the capital’s main arteries, enjoyed by the peloton like a prize in itself. It is a day for smiles and celebrations. Sports-wise, a sprint to the finish-line is expected, where the winner of La Vuelta 22 will be crowned.”

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Stage 21 profile

Before the start in Las Rozas, there was a tribute to Alejandro Valverde and Vincenzo Nibali, who are both retiring after this season. The Spaniard and the Italian were honoured before the start of their final stage in a Grand Tour. Then it was time for the famous final party stage.

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A statue made from recycled glass of retiring Alejandro Valverde was presented at the stage start in Las Rozas

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Red bike for Remco

From the start of the stage there was chatting, laughing and photos to be taken. Rohan Dennis jokingly went on the attack, but he quickly dropped back into the bunch. Remco Evenepoel also tried to ‘escape’ but he was taken back by green jersey Mads Pedersen.

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A green bike for Mads Pedersen

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The leaders line up for the final stage

When entering Madrid, Alejandro Valverde had his own lap of honour, but after that the race was on and there was immediate attacks. At the only intermediate sprint, Carlos Rodriguez hoped to make up for his 1 second gap on Thymen Arensman, but that didn’t work as he lost the wheels of his teammates. Enric Mas surprisingly won the sprint and moved up to third place in the points classification, which was good for 20 much needed UCI points.

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Remco Evenepoel and the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team

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More photos for the jerseys

Shortly after the intermediate sprint, Julius Johansen (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) and Luke Plapp (INEOS Grenadiers) broke away from the peloton. The fast riders from Denmark and Australia had a good 15 to 25 seconds on the chasers. The sprinter teams made sure that the difference didn’t become too big, but they had to work hard.

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The stage eventually got under way

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Madrid in the distance

At the start of the final lap of 5.8 kilometres Johansen and Plapp had 10 seconds. It looked like they were about to be caught 3 kilometres from the finish line, but they accelerated again and again on each of the ‘U’ turns and forced the sprinter’s teams to the limit. In the final kilometre they were pulled in.

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Valverde was the first onto the circuit

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Evenepoel kept out of trouble

UAE Team Emirates had the best lead-out train in that last kilometre and that seemed to be for their man, Pascal Ackermann, but surprisingly it was Juan Sebastián Molano who finished off the sprint from the front. He beat Mads Pedersen and teammate Ackermann. Mike Teunissen and Danny van Poppel finished fourth and fifth.

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The race was on

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Evenepoel passing the Madrid town hall

Little changed on the general classification. Remco Evenepoel crossed the finish line in the peloton and went on the podium as the final winner of the General Classification and the Best Young Rider. He was flanked on the podium by Spaniards Enric Mas and Juan Ayuso.

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Could it be another stage win for the green jersey Pads Pedersen?

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The speed lifted as the stage went on

Mads Pedersen was sure of the points classification and Richard Carapaz won the KOM. The most combative rider was Marc Soler.

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Stage win for Molano and UAE

Stage winner, Juan Sebastián Molano (UAE Team Emirates): “The truth is I’m still processing it. I knew I had to do a good job for Ackie [Pascal Ackermann], I had very good legs today and so did he. In the end, I launched with 300m to go, like I usually do in a lead-out. The team did a perfect job. I looked on the left and I saw Pedersen coming, and I never thought about stopping. I’m very happy and grateful to the team. I want to dedicate this victory to my mother, I love her so much, my brothers, all my family. I’m very moved. You can’t imagine such happiness. I think of everything I’ve done to get there, all the efforts we do fort his as athletes, cyclists, human beings, when we leave our families at home to go far away. I’m very happy and grateful.”

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Evenepoel crosses the line in Madrid

Final overall winner and Best Young Rider, Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): “Now it really sinks in, it’s really official. Already yesterday the emotions were quite high. We were actually there but we still had to finish the race safe and in a good way. I think we did perfect. We enjoyed as much as possible and now we can really enjoy. I didn’t have much time to think in Madrid because there it was a really technical course. It was getting more nervous every lap. I’m happy we survived here. It’s history for team, for my country, for myself. I think we can be really proud of what we did the last three weeks.”

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The 2022 Vuelta a España final podium

# Stay PEZ for more from la Vuelta on Monday in EUROTRASH and the ‘Final Round Up’. #

Vuelta a España Stage 21 Result:
1. Juan Sebastián Molano (Col) UAE Team Emirates in 2:26:36
2. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
3. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) UAE Team Emirates
4. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
5. Danny van Poppel (Ned) BORA-hansgrohe
6. Kaden Groves (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
7. Fred Wright (GB) Bahrain-Victorious
8. Lionel Taminiaux (Bel) Alpecin-Deceuninck
9. Ben Turner (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
10. Cedric Beullens (Bel) Lotto Soudal.

Vuelta a España Final Overall Result:
1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl in 80:26:59
2. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar at 2:02
3. Juan Ayuso (Spa) UAE Team Emirates at 4:57
4. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana Qazaqstan at 5:56
5. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 7:24
6. Thymen Arensman (Ned) DSM at 7:45
7. Carlos Rodríguez (Spa) INEOS Grenadiers at 7:57
8. Ben O’Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën at 10:30
9. Rigoberto Urán (Col) EF Education-EasyPost at 11:04
10. Jai Hindley (Aus) BORA-hansgrohe at 12:01.

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