The start of the stage was pedestrian as only Stage 21 of a Grand Tour can be, helped little by the lack of cameras until the final lap of the 10 circuits of the Spanish capital. The most important event of the early stages was Alejandro Valverde taking enough points in the intermediate sprint to overhaul leader Joaquím Rodríguez to take the green jersey for the third time in his career. Purito was not impressed, saying that Valverde was not right to make an attempt at "his" jersey on the "easy" last day of the Vuelta.
A break did get away, six riders including Laurent Pichon, Ben King, Matteo Montaguti, Giovanni Visconti, Carlos Verona and King of the mountains winner Omar Fraile, who had one of the great unsung performances of the Vuelta, taking points on the difficult mountains of stage eleven and keeping the jersey for the whole race. The break was more of an annoyance than a threat to the peloton - every shot of them had the peloton looming in the background and sure enough they were caught.
Before the bell, there were a few attacks - Iljo Keisse and Alexis Gougeard got a few seconds, and so did Christian Knees, but they couldn't prevent it coming down to a sprint. Orica led it out for Impey on the left, and Giant for Degenkolb on the right. The German launched early, and was nearly caught by Danny Van Poppel who'd sprinted down the centre, before Degenkolb kicked again and won by almost two bike lengths.
Notably, Adam Hansen crossed the line to have finished thirteen consecutive Grand Tours, the most ever.
Aru, draped in the Sardinian flag, took the podium, after winning his first Grand Tour. Tom Dumoulin was - deservedly, in my opinion - awarded the prize for the most combative rider.
|2.||Danny Van Poppel||s.t.|
|5.||Tosh Van der Sande||s.t.|
|10.||Tom Van Asbroeck||s.t.|
|9.||José Joaquín Rojas|
|4.||Alessandro di Marchi||28|
|9.||José Joaquín Rojas||19|