Remco Evenepoel (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) won the Vuelta a España 2022 on stage 21 in Madrid on Sunday, finishing with the main group and all other GC contenders, to seal his overall victory and 2:05 margin to 2nd place Enric Mas (Movistar).
The stage was won by Sebastian Molano (UAE Team Emirates) in a sprint finish, while almost the entire field finished with the same time - meaning the GC standings were completely unchanged following stage 20’s mountaintop battle.
A day earlier, Evenepoel secured his overall victory in the Vuelta a España on stage 20, where he finished in 6th place - only 15 seconds behind stage winner Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers).
Finishing 2 seconds ahead of Evenepoel were his major red jersey rivals, 2nd place Enric Mas (Movistar) and 3rd place Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates), who failed to open up a strong enough advantage to challenge the Belgian rider's 2:07 lead going into the stage.
Evenepoel finished ahead of Mas by 2:05, and Ayuso by 5:08 - representing a strong Spanish 2-3 on the podium.
Behind the Vuelta podium, there was little movement in the top 10 on stage 20 with Astana's Miguel Angel López securing his 4th place position, 5:56 behind the race leader Evenepoel.
Carlos Rodríguez (Ineos Grenadiers) was the big faller in the race's final days, finishing 1:23 behind stage 20 winner Richard Carapaz and so dropping from 5th to 7th in the overall standings. He finished the race 7:57 behind in the overall general classification.
Taking his 5th place spot was João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates), who gained 2 seconds on Evenepoel on stage 20, so finished 7:14 down in the overall standings.
Behind him, while taking 2nd place on stage 20 Thymen Arensman (Team DSM) gained 7 seconds on Evenepoel. Alongside a time bonus, that saw his overall margin shrink to 7:56 and saw him leapfrog Rodríguez to move into 6th place.
Ben O'Connor (AG2R Citroën Team) lost over a minute on stage 20, but that didn't alter his overall standing of 8th place, now behind Rodriguez. He finished 10:30 down on the red jersey.
Despite winning stage 17, Rigoberto Urán did not manage to shift above 9th place in the race's final week, and a deficit to the main GC contenders on stage 20 saw his gap in the overall GC extend to 11:04.
Rounding off the top 10, and nearly a minute down on Urán at 12:01, was the Giro d'Italia winner Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe).
With that comes the conclusion of GC battle at the 2022 Vuelta a España, meaning Belgium can celebrate its first Vuelta a España overall victory since Freddy Maertens in 1977.
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