Molano and Evenepoel take glory in Madrid
September 11 th 2022 - 20:25
Juan Sebastian Molano (UAE Team Emirates) claimed a surprise victory in Madrid, edging Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and his sprinter Pascal Ackermann (UAE Team Emirates) in the final stage of La Vuelta 22. Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) went safely through the stage to win La Vuelta 22, his first Grand Tour victory, at 22 years old, a few months after winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège, his first Monument. The last Belgian success in a Grand Tour dated back to 1978. Enric Mas (Movistar) and Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) join him on the podium. The peloton also honoured Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Qazaqstan) in their last Grand Tour stage.
The final stage of La Vuelta 22 takes the riders from Las Rozas to Madrid, where the winners will be crowned on the iconic circuit around the Spanish capital, the 2022 World Capital of Sport. The 134 finishers from stage 20 start in the afternoon.
Evenepoel, Valverde, Nibali…
Following tradition, the first part of the stage is dedicated to celebrating the heroes of the race. Remco Evenepoel, set to become the youngest winner of La Vuelta since Angelino Soler in 1961, takes a picture with his Wolfpack, wearing a special jersey for the occasion with a red band featuring the names of his companions for this successful ride from the Netherlands: Julian, Rémi, Dries, Fausto, Pieter, Ilan and Louis.
The peloton also pay tribute to Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Qazaqstan), two icons of cycling in the 21st century, who are riding their last Grand Tour stage. The Spaniard is the first rider to cross the line after the peloton let him share his moment with the crowds. The riders then face nine laps of 5.8km.
Molano edges Pedersen and Ackermann
Luke Plapp (Ineos Grenadiers) and Julius Johansen (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) open a gap of 10’’ with 43km to go. Xabier Mikel Azparren (Euskaltel-Euskadi) tries to join them at the front but he is quickly caught by the peloton, led by Mads Pedersen’s Trek-Segafredo, Tim Merlier’s Alpecin-Deceuninck, Kaden Groves’ BikeExchange-Jayco and Danny van Poppel’s Bora-Hansgrohe.
With 5 laps to go, the two leaders have a lead of 20’’. The gap remains stable into the last 10km.. And Plapp and Johansen resist until UAE Team Emirates launch an impressive train inside the last kilometre. In the end, lead-out man Juan Sebastian Molano (UAE Team Emirates) takes victory ahead of Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and his leader Pascal Ackermann.