Skip to main content
Live coverage

Vuelta a Espana 2016: Stage 21


Live coverage of stage 21 of the Vuelta a España, 104.8 kilometres from Las Rozas to Madrid

Vuelta a España race hub on Cyclingnews
Stage 20 report: Quintana seals Vuelta victory on Alto de Aitana
Quintana: Winning Vuelta a Espana gives confidence for Tour de France
Contador criticizes Movistar for not chasing Chaves
Froome unable to dislodge Quintana in Vuelta a Espana finale

It's all over bar the shouting - and the sprinting - at the 2016 Vuelta a Espana. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) will ride into Madrid this evening in the red jersey and claim the second Grand Tour victory of his career, while the fast men ought to have one final opportunity at the Plaza de Cibeles. The stage gets underway in a little over ten minutes, and the pace should be sedate until the peloton hits the finishing circuit. Nine laps of a 5.8km circuit follow, with the pace ratcheting upwards all the way to the finish.

General classification:

The peloton is lined up on the start line in Las Rozas, with the jersey wearers Quintana, Chris Froome (Sky), Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo) and Omar Fraile (Dimension Data) on the front row.

The peloton ambles through the neutralised zone, though we shouldn't expect any dramatic change of pace when the flag drops in a few minutes' time.

Quintana and Froome share a few words as they soft pedal behind the race director's car. This year's Tour de France was billed by many as a prize fight between Froome and Quintana - Froome-Quintana III after their duels in 2013 and 2015 - but the Colombian's subdued performance there left many wondering if the greater challenges to Froome's supremacy might come from other quarters next July. Quintana's victory on this Vuelta breathes fresh life into that rivalry.

Quintana has been winner-elect of this Vuelta since he and Alberto Contador tore up the script en route to Formigal, but he endured a late scare when a reanimated Froome produced a startling display in Friday's time trial, setting up the denouement on the Aitana yesterday. Though Froome launched repeated attacks in the final five kilometres, however, Quintana was able to respond each and every time, and was full value for his final overall victory.

100km remaining from 104km

The final stage of the Vuelta is officially underway, but in truth, this stage will be one long neutralised zone until the race reaches the finishing circuit in Madrid.

Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r-La Mondiale) is riding his final race as a professional this evening, and the Frenchman will bring the curtain down on his career with 13th place overall. "When you see my previous results you can tell my overall ranking is not that outstanding or exceptional," Peraud said. "My last year of competition was much more complicated. That is why I really wanted to be in great shape again for this race."

A latecomer to the road scene after a fine mountain bike career that yielded the silver medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, Peraud went on to take second overall at the 2014 Tour de France. "I am truly proud of what I accomplished. The Olympics are the high point of sports and it was an honor to win a medal. It was a childhood dream and it came true," said Peraud. "I have, may be, one regret about my career: I never completed a Giro." Peraud, of course, started this year's Giro but was forced out by a crash before the race even reached Italy.

98km remaining from 104km

95km remaining from 104km

Chris Froome (Sky) preferred not to speak to the press at the summit of the Aitana yesterday, meaning that he has yet to clear up whether his applause for Quintana's late sprint was of the ironic variety... The Briton did, however, speak to Eurosport before the start of this today's stage. “It’s been tough. It’s been tough, I won’t lie, especially on the back of the Tour de France and then going to Rio for the road race and time trial. Coming here, it means I haven’t had much time at home for the last three months, I’ve had a lot time away from the family,” he said.

90km remaining from 104km

88km remaining from 104km

Quintana wore a helmet to match his jersey during this Vuelta, but for today's final leg, he has handed red shorts, socks and a red bike to the ensemble. His Movistar teammates, meanwhile, share in his victory by donning red socks and using red handlebar tape.

81km remaining from 104km

75km remaining from 104km

70km remaining from 104km

Cannondale-Drapac has endured another low-key campaign in 2016, but there are grounds for optimism for the future on the basis of this Vuelta. Andrew Talansky raised eyebrows when he opted to forgo the Tour de France, but the American's decision was vindicated by a solid fifth place at this Vuelta - the best Grand Tour result of his career, and his most impressive performance anywhere since he won the Dauphine in 2014. Davide Formolo, meanwhile, underscored his potential as a Grand Tour rider by riding his way to 10th place overall. Winner of a sparkling Giro stage on his debut in 2015, Formolo made little impression in the corsa rosa this season, but 4th place at the Tour de Pologne and 10th at this Vuelta puts a different slant on the 23-year-old's season.

58km remaining from 104km

54km remaining from 104km

51km remaining from 104km

The final intermediate sprint is up for grabs the next time the bunch comes around to the finish line. Felline's hold on the green jersey seems a safe one, but he will keep tabs on Quintana and Valverde nonetheless...

48km remaining from 104km

Koen Bouwman (LottoNL-Jumbo) is attempting to bridge across to the three escapees, who are 13 seconds clear of the peloton.

The peloton is still being led by Movistar and they seem content to give the trio of leaders some leeway. The gap yawns out to 40 seconds.

46km remaining from 104km

45km remaining from 104km

Quentin Jauregui (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Pete Kennaugh (Sky), Loic Chetout (Cofidis) and Koen Bouwman (LottoNL-Jumbo) are dovetailing their efforts well and holding their advantage at the one-minute mark.

40km remaining from 104km

39km remaining from 104km

35km remaining from 104km

Movistar are back at the head of the peloton, and there is a sizeable delegation from Etixx-QuickStep arranging itself in support of Gianni Meersman.

33km remaining from 104km

30km remaining from 104km

29km remaining from 104km

25km remaining from 104km

23km remaining from 104km

21km remaining from 104km

19km remaining from 104km

17km remaining from 104km

Contador makes it back to the rear of the peloton, having been guided by three of his Tinkoff teammates. Etixx-QuickStep have taken the reins at the head of the bunch and the pace rises accordingly.

15km remaining from 104km

12km remaining from 104km

11km remaining from 104km

Etixx-QuickStep have been very active this evening as they bid to set up the sprint for Meersman. Out in the break, Chetout and Jauregui seem a little more generous than Kennaugh with their turns on the front. 

10km remaining from 104km

9km remaining from 104km

8km remaining from 104km

7km remaining from 104km

6km remaining from 104km

5km remaining from 104km

5km remaining from 104km

4km remaining from 104km

3km remaining from 104km

Giant-Alpecin's train moves into place just behind Boaro.

2km remaining from 104km

1km remaining from 104km

Giant-Alpecin lead out the sprint, Arndt is well placed ahead of the final turn.

Daniele Bennati opens the sprint from distance but Cort Nielsen and Meersman are moving up...

Magnus Cort Nielsen (Orica-BikeExchange) wins the final stage of the Vuelta a Espana in the bunch sprint.

Bennati held on for second place, while Meersman took third.

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) throws his arms skywards as he crosses the line midway through the peloton. The Colombian wins the Vuelta a Espana.


Final general classification:        

1 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:23
3 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-BikeExchange 0:04:08
4 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff Team 0:04:21
5 Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac 0:07:43
6 Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-BikeExchange 0:08:33
7 David De La Cruz (Spa) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:11:18
8 Daniel Moreno (Spa) Movistar Team 0:13:04
9 Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac 0:13:17
10 George Bennett (NZl) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 0:14:07

Thanks for joining our live coverage on Cyclingnews throughout this Vuelta a Espana. Our man in Madrid Alasdair Fotheringham will, as ever, have all of the news and reaction from the final stage, and a full report, results and photos from the night are available here.

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Latest on Cyclingnews