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Degenkolb Takes Stage 21; Aru Crowned Vuelta Champ

John Degenkolb sprinted to his first victory of the Vuelta as Fabio Aru strolled home to take overall honours.

Bryn Lennon Getty

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.

Stage Results
1. John Degenkolb 2.34.13
2. Danny Van Poppel s.t.
3. Jean-Pierre Drucker s.t.
4. Daryl Impey s.t.
5. Tosh Van der Sande s.t.
6. Max Richeze s.t.
7. Nicolas Maes s.t.
8. Kristian Sbaragli s.t.
9. Kevin Reza s.t.
10. Tom Van Asbroeck s.t.
General Classification
1. Fabio Aru 85.36.13
2. Joaquím Rodríguez .57
3. Rafal Majka 1.09
4. Nairo Quintana 1.42
5. Esteban Chaves 3.10
6. Tom Dumoulin 3.26
7. Alejandro Valverde 6.47
8. Mikel Nieve 7.06
9. Dani Moreno 7.12
10 Louis Meintjes 10.26

Points Classification
1. Alejandro Valverde 118
2. Joaquím Rodríguez 116
3. Esteban Chaves 108
4. Tom Dumoulin 105
5. Nicolas Roche 97
6. Fabio Aru 97
7. Rafal Majka 89
8. Nairo Quintana 84
9. José Joaquín Rojas
10. José Goncalves 69
Mountains Classification:
1. Omar Fraile 82
2. Rubén Plaza 63
3. Frank Schleck 30
4. Alessandro di Marchi 28
5. Mikel Landa 25
6. José Goncalves 24
7. Rodolfo Torres 22
8. Pierre Rolland 20
9. José Joaquín Rojas 19
10. Mikael Cherel 18