Kaden Groves wins final stage of Vuelta a España as Sepp Kuss confirms victory

Sepp Kuss completes his victory in the Vuelta a España around the streets of Madrid

Kaden Groves
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Kaden Groves won stage 21 of the Vuelta a España in the Spanish capital of Madrid, securing his third victory in the race and with it the points classification.

The Alpecin-Deceuninck rider was the favourite to win the stage, but his manner of victory was not expected: a bunch sprint had been predicted, given history and the processional nature of the stage, but instead Groves won ahead of his five breakaway colleagues who had jumped clear 40km from the finish.

Filippo Ganna of Ineos Grenadiers finished second, the third time in the past three weeks that the Italian has just missed out on a victory in a sprint finish. Bora-hansgrohe's Nico Denz was third.

Meanwhile, Sepp Kuss avoided any scares to ensure that he won the race overall, securing Jumbo-Visma their third successive Grand Tour success. Tour de France champion Jonas Vingegaard finished second, with Giro d'Italia winner Primož Roglič in third.

There was an element of symmetry for the race, with rain pouring just before the start in Madrid, a repeat of three weeks ago when the action got underway with a torrential downpour in the country's second city, Barcelona.

By the time the riders departed, the wet weather had been replaced by overcast skies, and the race remained as one for the first half of the 101.5km stage.

Groves, resplendent in the green jersey, won the intermediate sprint, and jumped into the first breakaway of note with 39km remaining. It comprised of the Australian, mountains classification winner Remco Evenepoel, Intermarché-Circus-Wanty's Rui Costa, Bora-hansgrohe's Lenny Kämna and Nico Denz, and three from Ineos Grenadiers: Ganna, Omar Fraile and Kim Heiduk.

With two of the sprinting teams - Ineos and Alpecin - represented, it meant that the chasing in the peloton was left to UAE-Team Emirates, DSM-Firmenich and EF Education-EasyPost. The six in front (Heiduk and Fraile were dropped) maintained a lead of around 20 seconds throughout, although that dipped slightly to 14 seconds with one lap remaining. 

At 3km to go, the sextet had a lead of nine seconds, but they were still working together to ensure that they would arrive as one; the same could not be said for the chase behind that was disjointed.

Under the flamme rouge and Denz led his breakaway companions out, but a risky game of cat and mouse opened the door for the peloton behind. At 500m, Evenepoel pulled clear but he was unable to hold off the late sprint of Groves as the peloton closed in.

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