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Remco Evenepoel seals Vuelta a Espana Victory!

Juan Sebastian Molano sprints to win the final stage in Madrid, beating Pedersen and Ackermann on the line

Remco Evenepoel seals Vuelta a Espana Victory!

Remco Evenepoel ended the long wait for Belgian cycling on Sunday when he became the first rider in Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl's illustrious history to win a grand tour at the Vuelta a España.

Evenepoel led the race since stage six when he took the leader's red jersey off the shoulders of Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ) and despite crashing during stage 12, the 22-year-old rarely looked troubled. Indeed, following repeated attacks from defending champion Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) in the days following his fall, Evenepoel showed a maturity beyond his years as he kept his cool.

Two stage wins – the individual time trial on stage 10 and Thursday's uphill finish on Alto del Piornal – underlined Evenepoel's status as grand tour champion elect, before the former footballer ended Belgium's long wait for a grand tour champion. Not since Johan De Muynck at the Giro d'Italia in 1978 had a Belgian won a grand tour.

After all but sealing the title on Saturday night – while becoming the youngest rider in 61 years to win La Vuelta – Evenepoel dedicated the win to his parents, fiancée, and team-mates.

“I don’t know what’s going through my head and body at the moment. The only thing I know is that I am happy,” said Evenepoel. “Happy that a dream came true and that I proved what I am capable of. Happy that I am the first to win a grand tour for Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl general manager Patrick Lefevere and happy I did it in this fantastic team.

“This is the biggest victory, the biggest moment of my career, and it feels incredible. It’s for my parents, my fiancée, my team-mates. It’s the result of many weeks and months of hard work and sacrifices and always believing in yourself.

“I love racing in Spain, I have had success here since my first pro season and to win La Vuelta is a dream. It wasn’t easy, I had some stiff opposition, but I did it and I can’t tell you how much this means for me”

Climbing ace Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) won the climbers Polka-dot jersey.

Sprinter Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) won the Green points Jersey with a significant margin.

At 22 years old, Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) also won the White jersey in the best young riders category.

Stage 21 Top 10

1 COL Sebastian Molano UAE Team Emirates 02:26:36
2 DEN Mads Pedersen Trek-Segafredo + 00
3 GER Pascal Ackermann UAE Team Emirates + 00
4 NED Mike Teunissen Jumbo-Visma + 00
5 NED Danny van Poppel BORA-hansgrohe + 00
6 AUS Kaden Groves Team BikeExchange-Jayco + 00
7 GBR Fred Wright Bahrain Victorious + 00
8 BEL Lionel Taminiaux Alpecin-Deceuninck + 00
9 GBR Ben Turner INEOS Grenadiers + 00
10 BEL Cédric Beullens Lotto Soudal + 00

2022 La Vuelta Final General Classification Top 10

01 BEL Remco Evenepoel Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team 80:26:59
02 ESP Enric Mas Movistar Team + 02:02
03 ESP Juan Ayuso UAE Team Emirates + 04:57
04 COL Miguel Ángel López Astana Qazaqstan Team + 05:56
05 POR Joao Almeida UAE Team Emirates + 07:24
06 NED Thymen Arensman Team DSM + 07:45
07 ESP Carlos Rodriguez INEOS Grenadiers + 07:57
08 AUS Ben O'Connor AG2R Citroën Team + 10:30
09 COL Rigoberto Uran EF Education-EasyPost + 11:04
10 AUS Jai Hindley BORA-hansgrohe + 12:01

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