Degenkolb held on to take the win ahead of Danny van Poppel (Trek) and Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC).
Alcalá de Henares - Madrid
Vuelta a España - 13 September 2015
Vuelta a España – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 16:41 on 13 September 2015. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Fabio Aru crosses the line all smiles with his Astana team-mates. What a performance.
John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) goes early... very early... but he manages to hold on for the win! At last - that's the 10th of his career.
Reza and Bennati are lurking too... and Sbaragli.
Giant-Alpecin onto the front for Degenkolb now. He's in search of a 10th Vuelta stage win.
It's all strung out here - and whatever happens, Aru has now won the Vuelta. Provided he finishes, of course.
It's all Orica-GreenEdge now for their man Impey.
It's all back together after Knees is reeled in. Giant, GreenEdge and Trek are all on the front.
Gougeard is caught before Team Sky's Christian Knees goes for a long pop...
Kiesse is caught but Gougeard still has a small gap. He won't hold on.
An Ag2R-La Mondiale rider has joined Keisse on the front - but they have just a couple of seconds over the pack. It's Alexis Gougeard, the stage 19 winner.
Keisse approaches the finish line with a small gap... the bell rings out and the gap is just seven seconds.
The six leaders have been swept up and we have one rider having a long pop. It's Iljo Keisse of Etixx-QuickStep, who is trying to do what he did in the Giro's final stage and nab a win.
Two laps to go now: the gap is 13 seconds.
The peloton is really closing in on those six leaders - six, not seven: Duarte never actually made the connection. Just 10 seconds now as the sun comes down on Madrid.
BMC have come to the front of the pack - their man for the sprint is Jean-Pierre Drucker, winner of the Prudential RideLondon Surrey Classic last month.
Four more laps as the break - now seven-strong - zip over the line 18 seconds ahead of the pack. There's no concern quite yet for the pack and the teams of the main sprinters.
Colombian Fabio Duarte has jumped out of the peloton in pursuit of the six leaders. He has almost made the junction as the leaders pass through the finish line to complete five of 10 laps. The gap is down a little to 25 seconds.
There are not many sprinters left in this race and you expect the stage is set for Giant-Alpecin's John Degenkolb to finally pick up his first win of the race and help ease the pain of team-mate Tom Dumoulin's heartbreak yesterday. Other potential winners today are Danny Van Poppel (Trek Factory), Kristian Sbaragli (MTN-Qhubeka), Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar), Jempy Drucker (BMC), Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal), Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge), Max Richeze (Lampre-Merida), Nikolas Maes (Etixx-QuickStep).
The six-man group have a lead of 27 seconds now over the Lampre-led peloton. They have six more laps to go.
Confirmation that Joaquim Rodriguez needed to change his rear wheel because of a puncture ahead of that intermediate sprint. A flat could be the difference between the green jersey and nothing for Purito.
Those six riders are: Matteo Montaguti (AG2R-La Mondiale), Omar Fraile (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Carlos Verona (Etixx-QuickStep), Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar), Ben King (Cannondale-Garmin) and Laurent Pichon (FDJ). They have about 15 seconds.
Six riders - including the polka dot jersey Omar Fraile - have broken clear during the lull following the intermediate sprint.
Big coup for Valverde, who crosses the line ahead of two Movistar team-mates to take the points. Katusha sent two men up to spoil but they did not have a sniff in it - and there was no sign of the green jersey Rodriguez, who must have had a mechanical because he was nowhere in the peloton when it whizzed by... That puts Valverde two points ahead now.
The pace is high now with the peloton strung out. That's because there's an intermediate sprint ahead - and Valverde has eyes on the points he needs to get the green jersey...
The riders have passed through the finish line on the Madrid city circuit for the first time - they will have 10 laps of a 5.8km finishing circuit so things should start to hot up soon. Up until here it's been an average speed of 25.1km/h, which sums it up really.
The team classification was - or will be - won by the Movistar team of Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana, who finished seventh and fourth on GC respectively. Movistar collectively finished 29:47 quicker than Team Sky, with Team Katusha finishing third at 35:44.
Astana said that their target this season was at least one Grand Tour victory. Well, they did that after yesterday's master class - plus with Aru's second place in the Giro, Nibali's fourth in the Tour (plus a stage win), it has been quite a successful season for the Kazakh-funded team - despite the early doping controversies and the Nibali disqualification. Team manager Alexandre Vinokourov told lavuelta.com: "It is not just about Fabio Aru, it is a team victory. We prepared out strategy with Martinelli and Zanini. On paper it was easy but in reality it was much harder. It shows that you cannot achieve those results without a team around you. I'm sorry for Dumoulin, I would have liked to see him on the podium."
Tom Dumoulin was all smiles this morning despite his horror show yesterday. He did say that once the dust settled his disappointment would turn to pride. He did, after all, ride a very good Vuelta - a breakthrough race in that he will now possibly come back as a Grand Tour contender rather than simply a time trialling power house. Dumoulin is in the white combined jersey today although he's third in that competition behind Rodriguez and Aru.
The king of the mountains competition proved very much a one-way affair this years, with Spanish Grand Tour debutant Omar Fraile (Caja Rural) running away with the polka dot jersey thanks to placing himself in the break during all the key mountain stages. Fraile finished with 82 points with a late rally from Ruben Plaza (Lampre) cutting the gap to 19 points.
The pace is very slow - as expected - as the peloton edges its way towards Madrid amid a flurry of photo opportunities. Here's a photo of Fabio Aru's bike today to keep thngs ticking over...
For the fifth time in his career Spanish veteran Joaquim Rodriguez will finish on the podium of a Grand Tour - but it will be the second step and not that elusive top rung for a second time alongside his three third place finishes. The veteran from Katusha is on course to win the green jersey, though, unless Alejandro Valverde picks up some points today. Purito leads his Movistar rival by 116 points to 114, with Estaban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) in third on 108 points.
At 25 years of age, Sardinian Aru will become a Grand Tour winner for the first time - four months after he finished runner-up in the Giro d'Italia. He rode a brilliant race and has a big future ahead of him.
The remaining 158 riders rolled through the neutral zone to get this final stage under way - but don't expect too much action for now: like the final stage of the Tour de France to Paris, this is usually a fairly sedate affair before the laps around town.
Dutchman Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) plummeted off the podium as he dropped from first place to sixth on GC. Fabio Aru (Astana) leads the race going into the final stage by 1:17 over Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and 1:29 over Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo).
Yesterday a dramatic penuiltimate day saw Ruben Plaza's winning wondrous 114km solo break overshadowed by the Astana master class that cracked Tom Dumoulin and saw Italian Fabio Aru into the red jersey.
Hola, buenos tardes and welcome to live coverage of 21st and final stage of the Vuelta a Espana - a processional roll into Madrid before an evening criterium-style circuit race around the streets of the city centre.