Vuelta a España • Stage21

Alcorcón - Madrid
Vuelta a España - 16 September 2018

Vuelta a España – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 16:15 on 16 September 2018. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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And that's a new record: three different riders from the same nation winning all three Grand Tours of a single season. Bravo Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and, now, Simon Yates!


Here's the final top 10 after 21 stages of the 73rd edition of La Vuelta.


Confirmation of the top seven today...


That's the 67th win of the season for Quick-Step, who today have notched their 88th stage win in a Grand Tour.


Here's how Viviani took his third win with that late surge to the line.


Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) wins the 73rd edition of La Vuelta.


In the end it was three and easy for Viviani, who powered on the left by the barriers to win by a bike length ahead of Peter Sagan. It looks like Giacomo Nizzolo took third place there alongside a cluster of others.


Victory for Elia Viviani of Quick-Step Floors! That's the hat-trick for the Italian champion.


The big guns are still far back with Van Poppel well placed.


We're into the final kilometre of this year's Vuelta - and after the tight bend, Sagan and Viviani find themselves well down. Quick-Step are looking over their shoulders...


Quick-Step Floors now have power in numbers on the front with their man Viviani poised behind the wheel of Sagan.


Groupama-FDJ have four men on the front now, with EF, Quick-Step and Lotto Soudal behind. It's getting quite feisty - and now Sunweb are there too, for their man Max Walscheid.


Mitchelton-Scott are getting in the mix too for Trentin, while Groupama-FDJ have men on the front for Marc Sarreau.


It's all over for Julien Duval, who's caught. Now Sky come to the front, oddly, before LottoNL-Jumbo bring their men up.


A rider from Ag2R-La Mondiale has jumped clear on a long pop ahead of the bell. One lap to go and this lone leader has a few seconds.


It's all over for our three leaders who are swept up on that tight bend near the flamme rouge. Vincenzo Nibali has come to the front to pace for his man Cortina.


Bora-Hansgrohe and LottoNL-Jumbo have flocked to the front for their men Sagan and Van Poppel. Neither team has a win yet in this year's race so this would see them end on a high.


Just 10 seconds now for the three leaders as we pass the 10-to-go marker.


Still 10 seconds for the three leaders as they round the tight hairpin bend which comes one kilometre from the end of the lap.


Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) told "I’m feeling good because it’s the last day. We’ve had three very hard weeks. Today will be a matter of good legs and positioning. We’ll try to do good. We want to beat Viviani but also Sagan, Van Poppel… It’s a nice finish and it will be a big party as usual."


With the break's lead down to just seven seconds, there's a flurry of movement off the front of the pack as numerous riders jostle in a bid to bridge over.


In the absence of Stage 6 winner Nacer Bouhanni, other riders to watch include Ivan Garcia Cortina (Bahrain Merida) and Tom Van Asbroeck (EF Education First-Drapac). There's also Italians Simone Consonni (UAE Team Emirates) and Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) as well as the Spaniard Jon Aberasturi (Euskadi-Murias).


Peter Sagan has finished second three times and third twice. The world champion from Bora-Hansgrohe should push Viviani all the way. Giacomo Nizzolo of Trek-Segafredo should be in the mix too, as should Danny van Poppel of LottoNL-Jumbo.


So, who's going to win today? The obvious candidate is Elia Viviani of Quick-Step Floors. He already has two wins and probably should have had more. He's clearly the fastest sprinter out there, so provided he gets a good lead out he should raise his arms for the third time.


Still 15 seconds for our three leaders with four laps to go.


Mechanical for Stalnov ends the Russian's time in the break. We're down to just three riders out ahead now.


With five laps to go, the gap is still only 16 seconds for the four leaders.


Mechanical for Pello Bilbao of Astana, who needs a bike change.


The new four-man break involves Diego Rubio (Burgos-BH), Joey Rosskopf (BMC Racing Team), Nikita Stalnov (Astana) and Garikoitz Bravo (Euskadi-Murias). Their gap is 12 seconds, so slim pickings again.


Seven more laps now and we have another break of three riders now ahead with a slender advantage.


The break is over and we now have another two riders - from BMC and Burgos-BH - trying to force a gap.


Quick-Step Floors are not giving this break any favours - they're clearly determined to deliver Elia Viviani to a third stage win today and are being helped by the Trek-Segafredo team of Giacomo Nizzolo. Still just a handful of seconds for these six riders, who have lost two of their number after a momentary lapse.


The six leaders are: Stephane Rossetto (Cofidis), Alessandro De Marchi (BMC), Tiago Machado (Katusha Alpecin), Jetse Bol (Burgos-BH), Mikel Iturria (Euskadi-Murias) and Loic Chetout (Cofidis). But the peloton is giving them no leeway whatsoever and the gap has yet to creep above the 10-second mark.


Mitchelton-Scott soaking up their success earlier on...

Video - Victorious Yates and Mitchelton-Scott team-mates ride together


Tiago Machado (Katusha Alpecin) is the man to make the first move, the Portuguese rider zipping clear with five riders to open up a small gap. 10 laps to go.


Anton is given an entire lap out ahead of the pack before he is reabsorbed by the peloton ahead of the intermediate sprint - which is uncontested before, finally, the racing gets going.


Just like Alberto Contador last year, Igor Anton - who is set to retire at the end of this race - is allowed to ride ahead of the peloton to milk the applause and say farewell to the Spanish fans.


The pace is increased a notch when the Mitchelton-Scott team come to the front to lead their man Simon Yates into the streets of Madrid. What a few weeks it has been by them: they have come close to winning a Grand Tour before with Esteban Chaves in the Giro in 2016 and, this May, with Yates in the same race. But now that wait is over.


While you're waiting for some action, why not watch the latest of our Average Man series? After being defeated by the Zoncolan, can Tom Bennett overcome Lagos de Covadonga...?

Video - Average Man vs Covadonga: Can our novice conquer Spain’s most spectacular climb?


The pace is still very slow as the peloton trundles along a motorway slip-road through barren, parched countryside en route to the Spanish capital. At this rate, we could be here until midnight.


We spoke to Simon Yates ahead of today's stage and asked him how he felt to be riding into Madrid in the red jersey: "Really incredible. I'll try and enjoy this moment as much as possible. Yeah, not much to say. I started after the Giro - a lot of hard work, persistence and belief. We really had to believe that we could pull it off. And choosing our moments well throughout the three weeks. It's a very long time and it's all come together, it's unbelievable."

Video - Yates: Seeds of Vuelta triumph sewn after Giro disaster


If you missed yesterday's stage, this was how Yates won the Vuelta and Mas took the stage...

Video - How The Race Was Won: Yates storms to glory on Stage 20, as Mas makes mark


One rider is bidding the sport farewell today: Igor Anton of Dimension Data retires aged 35 after a long career that included 21 Grand Tours, four Vuelta stage wins, one Giro stage win, and two Vuelta top tens. He came close to winning the 2010 Vuelta but crashed out while wearing the red jersey in stage 14.


As for the white combined jersey classification - Miguel Angel Lopez dons the white jersey today but it's actually Yates who leads that classification too after his consistent displays, which include one stage win and a handful of podium finishes in the high mountains.


In the king of the mountains classification, Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) became the first Belgian to secure the Vuelta's polka dot jersey after amassing 95pts to Bauke Mollema's 83pts. The Spaniard Luis Angel Mate led for most of the race before conceding the jersey on Thursday's stage to Balcon de Bizkaia.


You wouldn't believe it but they're off! The riders pass under the banner to get the official start under way - but they're still soft-pedalling their way along through the suburbs of Madrid.


In the green points classification, Alejandro Valverde will win his fourth title unless Simon Yates wins both the intermediate sprint and the stage today, something that will not happen. The Spaniard currently has 131 points to Yates' 104 points, with Lopez on 103 points and Peter Sagan, the world champion, on 99 points and likely to rise to second place after the final sprint.


Some photos from the start at Alcorcon here, as the riders continue their processional jaunt through the neutral zone.


There may be a swing of a few seconds here and there, but as it is Simon Yates will win this Vuelta by 1'46" over Enric Mas, with Miguel Angel Lopez in third at 2'04". Yesterday both Steven Kruijswijk and Valverde dropped out of the podium positions and are now fourth and fifth at 2'54" and 4'28".


The 158-strong peloton are currently rolling through the neutral zone ahead of the official start - not that there will be much difference between the two, until the racing gets going on the streets of Madrid. Spaniards Alejandro Valverde and Enric Mas chew the fat on the front - the past and future of Spanish cycling (although the man in green, Valverde, will still hope to have his say in Innsbruck in a couple of weeks).


The Mitchelton-Scott team of Simon Yates, the Vuelta winner elect, have gone in for a special limited edition red number today for the victory parade around Madrid.


Yesterday, Simon Yates has all but secured that unprecedented British cycling grand slam after finishing an impressive third place in Stage 20, won by the young Spaniard Enric Mas ahead of Colombia’s Miguel Angel Lopez in Andorra. The 26-year-old from Bury made his move on the penultimate of six climbs in the brutal 97km stage in the Pyrenees, riding with all the authority of a Grand Tour winner elect to finish 23 seconds down in third place behind Mas and Lopez.


Hello and welcome to live coverage of the final stage of La Vuelta - a 100.9km processional ride from Alcorcon to Madrid, which will conclude with some laps around the Spanish capital city, a likely third stage win for Elia Viviani, and Britain's third man atop a Grand Tour podium in the same year.