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Vuelta’15 St. 21: Eventually Degenkolb Wins In Madrid!

Race Report: The final stage of the Vuelta a España was always going to end in a bunch sprint and John Degenkolb wanted that win more than anything, for himself and for his Giant-Alpecin team. In the peloton Fabio Aru was ecstatic as he crossed the line for his Grand Tour win, the first of many. Shelley Olds took the Challenge Madrid in an exciting sprint.

There were TV coverage problems for the last stage of the Vuelta in Madrid, but John Degenkolb had no problem putting his wheel across the last finish line of the Spanish grand Tour in Madrid. Fabio Aru was safe in the peloton and confirmed his promising future in one of the hardest three week stage races for years. But before all that; the ladies fought out the Madrid Challenge.

La Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta 2015
Before the final stage of the Vuelta came into Madrid, the women’s peloton took on the Madrid Challenge on the finishing circuit used by the men. The Madrid Challenge was fought out over 87 kilometers – 15 laps of 5.8 kilometers. The circuit took in some of the main sights of the center of the Spanish capital city, from the start/finish in the Plaza de Cibeles and the Gran Via, Paseo del Prado, the Plaza Neptuno and back.

Shelley Olds gave her Alé-Cipollini-Galassia team a top class win, out-sprinting Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda) and Kirsten Wild (Hitec Products). After many failed breaks, the last escape was caught with 10 kilometers to go and the race was all together at the bell with the sprinters teams readying themselves for the lead-out. Olds punctured but managed to regain the peloton in time to latch onto the Hitec sprint train for Wild. The American came off Wild’s wheel and held off Bronzini all the way to the line.

La Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta Result:
1. Shelley Olds (USA) Alé Cipollini in 2:06:21
2. Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle-Honda
3. Kirsten Wild (Ned) Hitec Products
4. Roxane Fournier (Fra) Poitou-Charentes-Futuroscope.86
5. Lucy Garner (GB) Liv-Plantur
6. Eugenia Bujak (Pol) BTC City Ljubljana
7. Elena Cecchini (Ita) Soudal Ladies
8. Kelly Druyts (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Pro-Duo
9. Arianna Fidanza (Ita) Alé Cipollini
10. Sheyla Gutiérrez (Spa) Lointek.


Stage 21 of the 2015 Vuelta a España started in the outskirts of town in Alcalá de Henares for a ‘ride’ of 97.8 kilometers, including ten laps of the finish circuit. Just like all other last stages of a Grand Tour it was an easy start, unlike other races there was an air exclusion zone over Madrid due to a security alert at Madrid airport, so not much TV coverage except for the start/finish area. Spanish station TVE showed a ‘humorous’ retro musical program that was slightly more interesting than the racing and after explanations they showed a modern western film. Thank goodness for Eurosport.

The early kilometers were the usual photo opportunity for the jersey holders before they hit the circuit.

At the intermediate sprint Alejandro Valverde was led out by his Movistar team for points towards the Green jersey. Jersey holder Rodriguez was not to be seen and Valverde took 4 points and his two teammates took the remainder, so the man from Murcia now has the jersey. ‘Purito’ had a wheel change just before the sprint and has lost out again, you have to feel sorry for the little Catalan rider.

La Vuelta 2015 stage-21
The peloton raced passed the Madrid Town Hall

A small break managed to slip off the front: Benjamin King (Cannondale-Garmin), Matteo Montaguti (AG2R-La Mondiale), KOM, Omar Fraile (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Laurent Pichon (FDJ.fr), Carlos Verona (Etixx – Quick-Step) and Giovanni Visconti (Movistar). They gained 30 seconds (40K to go) on the Trek and Giant-Alpecin controlled bunch who were working for Van Poppel and Degenkolb for the stage win. LottoNL-Jumbo and Lampre-Merida had also moved forward as they had missed the move.

35 kilometers out and the six escapees where being held at 25 seconds, five kilometers later and they had lost a further 5 seconds as Trek began to lift the pace. Next lap through and Lampre were at the head of the chase and the lead had dropped another 5 seconds. Colombian rider, Fabio Duarte tried and failed to cross to the leaders and the gap came down to 17 seconds.

Through the finish again with 3 laps to go, and Ben King was dragging the others over the line with a stabilized lead of 17 seconds. BMC took up the reins for a bit of a turn on the front and it was only a matter of time before the six were caught.

La Vuelta 2015 stage-21
A very happy Vino with his bright new star

Another lap down and King was really putting the pressure on and split the lead group as they were within touching distance of the peloton. With less than 2 laps to go the race was all together and the sprinter teams were stretching the peloton into a thin line. Before the last lap, Iljo Keisse (Etixx – Quick-Step) went for a long solo and came over the line with a little gap as the bell rang.

Katusha came to the front, but Alexis Gougeard (AG2R-La Mondiale) jumped past him as the helicopter pictures came back in time for the finish.

Sky and MTN-Qhubeka came to the front, but it was Orica-GreenEDGE who dominated the final turns to the last straight with Mathew Hayman powering on the front. Giant-Alpecin smothered the Australian team on the finish straight to put Degenkolb on the front with 200 meters to go. Van Poppel kicked hard on his left but there wasn’t enough road left and the German took the win he had been trying to get for three weeks. Danny Van Poppel second and BMC’s Jean-Pierre Drucker in third.

La Vuelta 2015 stage-21
The stage Degenkolb has been looking for

The Astana team riders encircled Fabio Aru for a big cheer as the Sardinian showed his big toothy grin. Astana team manager Alexander Vinokourov said that Aru has a big future ahead of him and it would be hard to say other wise.

La Vuelta 2015 stage-21
A big grin from Fabio Aru

Thanks for traveling the roads of Spain with PEZ, we hope you enjoyed our coverage, remember you only have one week to wait for the World Championships to start with the team time trial next Sunday.

Keep it PEZ.

Vuelta a España Stage 21 Result:
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Alpecin in 2:34:13
2. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Trek
3. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Bel) BMC
4. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEDGE
5. Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6. Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida
7. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
8. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka
9. Kevin Reza (Fra) FDJ.fr
10. Tom Van Asbroeck (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
11. Leonardo Fabio Duque (Col) Colombia
12. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar
13. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo
14. Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis
15. Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) IAM Cycling
16. Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R-La Mondiale
17. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar
18. Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ.fr
19. Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar
20. Fabrice Jeandesboz (Fra) Europcar
21. Nelson Filipe Santos Simoes Oliveira (Por) Lampre-Merida
22. Martin Velits (Svk) Etixx – Quick-Step
23. Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Sky
24. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar
25. Romain Sicard (Fra) Europcar.

Vuelta a España Final Overall Result:
1. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana in 85:36:13
2. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 0:57
3. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1:09
4. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 1:42
5. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEDGE at 3:10
6. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin at 3:46
7. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 06:47
8. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Sky at 7:06
9. Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha at 7:12
10. Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka at 10:26
11. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale at 11:10
12. David Arroyo (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 13:29
13. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step at 15:26
14. Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 16:34
15. Romain Sicard (Fra) Europcar at 16:46
16. Kenny Elissonde (Fra) FDJ.fr at 17:07
17. Fabrice Jeandesboz (Fra) Europcar at 17:10
18. Andre Cardoso (Por) Cannondale-Garmin at 23:31
19. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar at 36:19
20. Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana at 43:27
21. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida at 44:24
22. Sergio Luis Henao (Col) Sky at 44:30
23. Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek at 45:19
24. Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek at 48:48
25. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana at 51:30.

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