Vuelta a España: Stage 21

Distance: 99.1km
Category: Flat
Highest point: 690m

And finally to Madrid. The last stage of the race is the flattest, shortest and, by some distance, the most relaxed. Cava will be flowing at the start to toast the wearer of the red jersey and his team, and plenty more bottles will be popped at the finish after a sprinter has almost certainly provided a final flourish to one of the most mountainous grand tours of recent years. Many of the riders who started the Vuelta will have come looking for form in preparation for the World Championships in Florence but many of them will surely have bowed out before the last week in order to avoid over-cooking themselves. Those who reach Madrid will deserve every drop of cava that comes their way.

Abraham Olano: "The choice is to finish either with a time trial or with a simple road stage. This year we’ve opted for the latter. This is a fiesta day for the riders but the sprinters will save their celebrations until after the finish. Some will also be looking for a boost before the Worlds."  

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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).

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