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Vuelta a España 2014: Stage 21

Welcome to live coverage of the final individual time trial of the Vuelta a Espana in Santiago de Compostela

Here we are, the final stage of the Vuelta a Espana. The riders just have 9.7-kilometres of time trialling separating them and the finish of the three week race.

Unfortunately for the riders, the skies have opened and the rain is falling, which could make it very difficult in the opening technical part of the course.

You can read Alasdair Fotheringham's full preview of the time trial here.

The time trial kicked off just over an hour ago and 71 riders have already finished their race. Adriano Malori is the top of the standings with a time of 11:12, with Jesse Sergent eight seconds behind him.

The rain isn't falling as hard has it has been, but there are soem pretty heavy showers still around.

Rohan Dennis has been targetting the time trial since the beigging but the Australian can't beat Malori's time. He finishes in the third fastest time.

Dennis actually posted the fastest time at the final split but lost 14 seconds to Malori between there and the finish line.

We've still got another 56 riders to roll down the start ramp. Race leader Alberto Contador will be the last to go at 20:18 local time.

Away from the Vuelta and the riders are currently under way at the GP Montreal. The Tour of Britain has finished with Bradley Wiggins taking the monring time tiral, Marcel Kittel winning the afternoon sprint and Dylan van Baarle winning overall. Read all about it here.

Luis Leon Sanchez is on the road. He is unlikely to be taking victory today, but he will be on the podium later with his mountain's jersey.

Adam Hansen is also out on the road. He has a special disc wheel today to mark his 10th consecutive Grand Tour. You can see gallery here.

Cadel Evans begins his race. He's been playing the team role at the Vuelta, what can he do today? It could be his last Grand Tour stage, as he is expected to announce his retirement in the coming weeks.

Something we definitely won't be seeing next year is a closing time trial, as the race will return to it's traditional finish in Madrid in 2015.

Some pictures coming through showing why Rohan Dennis lost so much time in the final stretch of the time trial. He crashed on a corner on the slippy roads.

Alejandro Valverde should finish on the podium for the third consecutive edition of the Vuelta, here is what he had to say ahead of today's final stage.

 

"The route might become dangerous because of the rain. I don’t how I’ll end up but I’m sure it’ll be nice to do this race in Santiago to enjoy the affection the fans have showed to us for those great three weeks of racing.”

Adam Hansen has crossed the line and finished his 10th consecutive Grand Tour. Can he do anther three next year?

As we said, it's unlikely that the their will be any big changes in the GC today, but here is a quick look at the top 10 anyway.

 

1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 81:12:13
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:37
3 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:02:35
4 Joaquím Rodríguez Oliver (Spa) Team Katusha 0:03:57
5 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:04:46
6 Samuel Sánchez Gonzalez (Spa) BMC Racing Team 0:10:07
7 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin Sharp 0:10:24
8 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Shimano 0:12:13
9 Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:13:09
10 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale 0:13:15

The course that the riders are riding is actually 50 metres shorter than the one that was planned. The organisers say that it is for security reasons. We can only presume that it is something to do with the cobbles at the finish and the heavy rain soaking the riders.

Esteban Chaves hits the line in a time of 13:11 almost 2 minutes down on Malori. The Colombian will just be happy to have made it through his first Grand Tour.

Adriano Malori has been sitting in the hot seat for some time now and the official website has been over to keep him company. Here is what he had to say to them.

 

"I've been working as a teammate the whole Vuelta except for yesterday, when the team told me to save energy. But with 4 000 metres of differences in height, you can imagine how hard it was to save. I felt very good, I immediatly realised I was riding one of my best TT this season and it's confirmed by the watts. I beat riders such as Jesse Sergent, who also rode before the rain, so I can be happy. Now let's wait and see, Christopher Froome can still beat me."

John Degenkolb is another of the classification leaders. He's had the jersey since stage five, although his teammate Warren Barguil went up to the podium to collect the jersey for him while he was still climbing up the Puerto de Ancares. This is how that classification looks.

 

1 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano 169 pts
2 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 146
3 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 145
4 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 139
5 Joaquím Rodríguez Oliver (Spa) Team Katusha 117
6 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica GreenEdge 105
7 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 103
8 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin Sharp 85
9 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek Factory Racing 64
10 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale 61

Needless to say, the jersey was a little lose fitting on Barguil, whose climber frame hardly filled the jersey.

There has been no changes to the top 10 in more than an hour now. The riders just want to finish and are picking their way over this course. There are still some rather large puddles out on the road and no one wants to hit any of those at speed.

Unless something major happens, we can expect to be crowning Malori as the stage winner today.

Ryder Hesjedal is out on course now and he is being very cautious going into the corners. The rain has stopped, but the roads are still very wet.

Yesterday's stage saw the battle we had been waiting for since the Tour de France. We didn't get a chance to see Contador and Froome go head to head, but they really fought each other hard on the Puerto de Ancares yesterday. Contador had the beating of Froome in the end and here is what he had to say afterwards.

The sun looks like it is breaking through the clouds, but it might be too late to dry off the road for the riders, less than an hour to go before the final rider will roll down the start ramp.

MTN-Qhubeka still have a couple more riders to complete their time trial and the team will have done their first Grand Tour. They've managed to make it through without losing a single rider. Away from the race, they've been busy taking on new riders and team manager Brian Smith has confirmed that an Australian and an Englishman will be joining the team next year, plus a few surprises.

Ryder Hesjedal crosses the line 2:12 down on Malori. That's proof as to how wet and tricky it is out there.

That is me for today, I will hand the controls of the Cyclingnews blimp to Daniel Benson for the remainder of the stage.

Froome is now on the rollers as he warms up. A reminder that Sky has not won a grand tour stage all season.

Kelderman has just started his TT. He's had a subdued race here compared to his ride in the Giro.

The roads continue to dry out, which will have a positive impact on some of the later starters who have a chance of beating Malori.

The roads continue to dry out, which will have a positive impact on some of the later starters who have a chance of beating Malori.

Arroyo who had that great Giro a few years ago, rolls over the line in 134th place for the day.

Meanwhile Kelderman is out of the saddle and looking to up his pace on a gentle incline. Contador, is also on the rollers, as he warms up. He had so many questions and was written off by many after his Tour ride last year but he's demonstrated that he is still the leading GC rider of his generation.

Nieve and Moreno have both started their time trials. The Spaniard's have worked for their team leaders - Froome and Rodriguez.

Sanchez has just started his effort. Dan Martin is out ahead of him and the pair are separated by just 17 seconds. The Irishman is giving it everything as he looks to overturn the gap.

Aru is out on the road too. The Italian isn't taking any chances around the wet corners.

Moreno crosses the line, another one well down on Malori's time.

Rodriguez is off too. He's given it everything in the Vuelta but just hasn't had enough to challenge the top three. Valverde is in the start house as well.

Froome looks down the ramp as Contador walks around the start house. The British rider is out on the course as Contador checks out an issue with his rear wheel.

Just 12 minutes until Contador can relax but there's a slip of his back wheel on the ramp. He's quickly over it and finds his pace.

Froome is giving it a huge effort on the flat sections but there are no time checks at this stage.

Valverde is pushing along nicely as well but further down the road Contador is in and out of the saddle.

And Froome pushes on for the stage win as he screams along a down hill section. Contador isn't taking any risks, and nor does he need to.

Aru comes over the line in 100th place.

Rodriguez finishes his TT. He will remain in fourth place overall.

32nd for Valverde on the day, and another podium finish for the Movistar man.

Contador is down on Froome as the British rider powers to the line.

Froome holds second overall as he coasts over the line.

Only Contador on the road now as the curtain is about to come down on the 2014 Vuelta a Espana.

And Contador comes over the line having offered a little fist pump as he finishes. Of course he's mobbed by the waiting the press on the line.

So a third Vuelta win for Contador, a sixth grand tour in total.

He has been the strongest rider in the race and battled everything Froome, Valverde and Rodgriguez could throw at him.

The biggest winners are probably the organisers, who saw the top two GC riders in the world go head to head throughout the three week race.

And Malori comes away with the stage win. The Lampre rider showing his form before the Worlds next week.

1 Adriano Malori (Ita) Movistar Team 0:11:12
2 Jesse Sergent (NZl) Trek Factory Racing 0:00:08
3 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:09
4 Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky 0:00:17
5 Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Team Europcar 0:00:18
6 Sergei Chernetski (Rus) Team Katusha
7 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Cannondale
8 Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
9 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek Factory Racing 0:00:19
10 Damien Gaudin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale

Final general classification

1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 81:25:05
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:10
3 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:50
4 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Team Katusha 0:03:25
5 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:04:48
6 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team 0:09:30
7 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin Sharp 0:10:38
8 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Shimano 0:11:50
9 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale 0:12:50
10 Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:13:02
 

And it's Malori on the podium right now as dusk begins to fall. The crowds have gathered in their thousands despite the weather and they should get a glimpe of Contador in  a couple of minutes.

And Contador takes to the podium and pulls on the final red jersey of this year's race.


Thanks for joining us today and throughout this year's event. You can find our report, results and photos, right here.

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