Vuelta a Espana 2010, stage 21 photo gallery by Graham Watson>>

The real Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) appeared to be missing in the Vuelta a Espana’s final stage on Sunday in Madrid. Cavendish failed to show the same acceleration that won him three stages over the last three weeks and lost to American Tyler Farrar (Garmin).

Cavendish, racing in the green jersey of the classification leader, came off the rear wheel of team-mate Matt Goss in the final metres and looked across the road to his left. He appeared to be watching his rivals – Farrar, Danilo Hondo (Lampre) and Allan Davis (Astana) – or seeing if Goss might have a go.

Garmin-Transitions’ Farrar took control, accelerating on the left side towards Madrid’s Plaza de Cibeles.

“I have been feeling good the whole Vuelta,” Farrar said. “To win two stages was more than I could hope for. I owe a big thanks to [team-mate] Matt Wilson.”

Cavendish will have another, and more important, chance to beat Farrar in two weeks’ time on another continent. The two are leading their nations at the road race World Championships in Geelong, Australia.

Cavendish will have the support of Brits David Millar and Jeremy Hunt. Farrar won’t have Wilson to help him, but, due to national rankings, will have eight men at his side. USA Cycling will announce Farrar’s helpers as early as tomorrow.

Vincenzo Nibali wins first grand tour
Vuelta a España winner, Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) became teh first Italian to win the Spanish race for 20 years. Nibali will depart for Australia on Tuesday as part of Italy’s nine-man team. His mind will be on the Vuelta a España, though, because over the last three weeks he evolved from one of the many Grand Tour hopefuls to an actual winner. At 25 years old, there are many voices singing his praise and talking about the possibility of him dethroning Alberto Contador at next year’s Tour de France.

“I still cannot believe in what I have won. Within a cycling’s small some things change, but I will not change as a person,” Nibali said.

“It is very difficult to beat him [Contador], others have tried over the years, but one day, perhaps at the Tour, we will go head-to-head for the win.”

Nibali enjoyed the day, which was essentially an 85-kilometre parade from San Sebastián de los Reyes to Madrid for him and his Liquigas team-mates. Not so for Dominik Roels (Milram), who attacked at only 19 kilometres into the race. Roels gained four companions, but it was not enough to hold off the work of HTC and Garmin in the circuits around Madrid.

The sunny day in Madrid was meant to be for Vuelta’s big winners: Tyler Farrar (two stages), Mark Cavendish (three stages and the green jersey), Vincenzo Nibali (the overall by 41 seconds on Ezequiel Mosquera), and David Moncoutié (his third mountain jersey).

Results
Vuelta a Espana 2010, stage 21: Madrid
1. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Transitions in 2-02-24

2. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Columbia
3. Allan Davis (Aus) Milram
4. Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Quick Step
5. Matt Goss (Aus) HTC-Columbia
6. Grega Bole (Slo) Lampre-Farnese Vini
7. Manuel Cardoso (Por) Footon-Servetto
8. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis
9. Juan Jose Haedo (Arg) Saxo Bank
10. Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre-Farnese Vini all same time

Final overall classification
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo in 87-18-33

2. Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Xacobeo-Galicia at 41secs
3. Peter Velits (Svk) HTC-Columbia at 3-02
4. Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 4-22
5. Frank Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank at 4-45
6. Xavier Tondo (Spa) Cervelo at 4-54
7. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 5-05
8. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo at 6-08
9. Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin-Transitions at 6-18
10. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne at 7-44
Other
109. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Transitions at 3-07-54
144. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Columbia at 3-55-57

Points classification: Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Columbia
Climbers classification: David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis

Madrid, Vuelta a Espana 2010, stage 21

Madrid finale

Tyler Farrar wins, Vuelta a Espana 2010, stage 21

Tyler Farrar wins the sprint on the final stage

Vincenzo Nibali wins overall, Vuelta a Espana 2010, stage 21

Vincenzo Nibali celebrates his overall win

Vincenzo Nibali wins overall, Mosquera second, Velits third, Vuelta a Espana 2010, stage 21

Mosquera (second), Niabli (winner) and Velits (third) on the podium

Mark Cavendish wins points classification, Vuelta a Espana 2010, stage 21

Mark Cavendish finished the Vuelta with three stage wins and the green jersey

Related links

Vuelta a Espana 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coveage index

Vuelta a Espana 2010: Stage reports
Stage 20: Mosquera wins penultimate stage on Bola del Mundo
Stage 19: Gilbert storms Toledo to take stage
Stage 18: Another stage win puts green jersey within reach for Cavendish
Stage 17: Velits rides himself into contention as Nibali reclaims lead
Stage 16: Rodriguez regains Vuelta lead as Nibali suffers
Stage 15: Barredo finally bags a grand tour stage

Stage 14: Nibali gains Vuelta lead after Anton crashes
Stage 13: Cavendish makes it two in a row
Stage 12: Cavendish completes the set of grand tour stage wins
Stage 11: Anton takes solo victory and reclaims lead
Stage 10: Erviti takes stage win as Saxo Bank self destruct
Stage nine: Lopez wins demanding day at Vuelta from escape
Stage eight: Moncoutie takes the stage win as Anton moves into lead
Stage seven: Petacchi wins, Cavendish second
Stage six: Hushovd demonstrates climbing skills on way to stage win
Stage five: Farrar beats Cavendish for stage win
Stage four: Anton wins stage but Gilbert keeps the red jersey
Stage three: Gilbert attacks to win stage and take race lead
Stage two: Hutarovich beats Cavendish to win
Stage one TTT: Cavendish leads after HTC-Columbia win team time trial

Vuelta a Espana 2010: Photo galleries

Stage 18 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 17 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 16 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 15 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 14 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 13 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 12 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 11 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage 10 photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage nine photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage eight photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage seven photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage six photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage six photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage five photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage four photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage three photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson

Stage one photos by Graham Watson