The last step for Molano, Evenepoel validates his final victory

Mathieu WARNIER, Media365, published on Sunday September 11, 2022 at 8:12 p.m.

While Remco Evenepoel secured the general classification of the Vuelta 2022, Juan Sebastian Molano dominated a stormy bunch sprint that came to conclude the last stage of the event.

Juan Sebastian Molano knew how to play his card. While the UAE Team Emirates team started the sprint for Pascal Ackermann, the stormy unfolding of the final of the last stage of the Vuelta 2022 allowed the Colombian sprinter to find space to raise his arms in victory. Contested on an excessively flat course between Las Rozas and the center of Madrid, the last 96.7 kilometers of the 77th edition of the Tour of Spain were first of all a long parade. However, Rohan Dennis thought it was good to make a name for himself by placing a start early enough. But, after having counted up to a minute and a half in advance, the Australian returned to the ranks. From then on, Remco Evenepoel’s team members took part in the photo shoot game to immortalize the success of their leader, the first Belgian to win a Grand Tour since 1978. As they entered Madrid, everyone’s attention turned towards a single rider, for whom it was the last day of racing in the Vuelta.

Valverde got his lap of honor

A few weeks from hanging up his bike for good, Alejandro Valverde was able to get a little ahead of the peloton to take full advantage of the applause of the Madrid public. The 2018 world champion did not hesitate to wave to the crowd before enjoying these last kilometers in the heart of the peloton. His teammates from the Movistar team then took matters into their own hands because they had an idea in mind, not letting Jetse Bol go. Indeed, Enric Mas went for the points of the last intermediate sprint in order to move up to third place in the points classification at the expense of Remco Evenepoel. From then on, the race came alive with a duo formed by Luke Plapp and Julius Johansen who came out of the peloton and gave the sprinter teams cold sweats. Indeed, the Australian champion and the Dane have long kept a twenty second lead while Xabier Azparren was unable to make the connection.

Molano raises his arms, Evenepoel concluded

In the last kilometers, the peloton violently increased the pace against a leading duo who resisted as much as they could. But, after having worn out a good number of runners, Luke Plapp and Julius Johansen admitted defeat 900 meters from the finish line. The trains of sprinters were then set up, including those of the UAE Team Emirates and Trek-Segafredo teams. 200 meters from the line, Mads Pedersen started the sprint but the wearer of the green jersey presumed his strength after three weeks of racing. Pascal Ackermann thought he would take the lead as many riders drifted to the left of the road. It was finally Juan Sebastian Molano who crossed the finish line as the winner ahead of the Dane and his teammate. A few seconds later, Remco Evenepoel concluded this Vuelta as the winner. At only 22 years old, the native of Aalst won his very first Grand Tour during this Vuelta and announced the color for the future, even if he is not currently scheduled to participate in the next Tour de France.

CYCLING / VUELTA 2022
21st and final stage – Las Rozas-Madrid (96.7km) – Sunday September 11, 2022
1- Juan Sebastian Molano (COL/UAE Team Emirates) in 2h26’36”
2- Mads Pedersen (DAN/Trek-Segafredo) mt
3- Pascal Ackermann (GER/UAE Team Emirates) mt
4- Mike Teunissen (PBS/Jumbo-Visma) mt
5- Danny van Poppel (PBS/Bora-Hansgrohe) mt
6- Kaden Groves (AUS/BikeExchange-Jayco) mt
7- Fred Wright (GBR/Bahrain Victorious) mt
8- Lionel Taminiaux (BEL/Alpecin-Deceuninck) mt
9- Ben Turner (GBR/Ineos Grenadiers) mt
10- Cédric Beullens (BEL/Lotto-Soudal) mt

25- Antoine Raugel (FRA/AG2R-Citroën) mt

Final general classification
1- Remco Evenepoel (BEL/Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) in 80h26’59”
2- Enric Mas (ESP/Movistar) at 2’02”
3- Juan Ayuso (ESP/UAE Team Emirates) at 4’57”
4- Miguel Angel Lopez (COL/Astana Qazaqstan) at 5’56”
5- João Almeida (POR/UAE Team Emirates) at 7’24”
6- Thymen Arensman (PBS/DSM) at 7’45”
7- Carlos Rodriguez (ESP / Ineos Grenadiers) at 7’57”
8- Ben O’Connor (AUS / AG2R-Citroën) at 10’30”
9- Rigoberto Uran (COL/EF Education-Easypost) at 11’04”
10- Jai Hindley (AUS/Bora-Hansgrohe) at 12’01”

17- Thibaut Pinot (FRA / Groupama-FDJ) at 46’20”

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