Lennard Kamna, also part of the full-speed sextet that powered the final laps, finished 10th, with Evenepoel eighth.
It was the duo of Bora Dins and Kamna who threw down the gauntlet in the often uneventful final stage: 45 kilometers from the finish, the Germans attacked, accompanied by former world champion Rui Costa. Behind the trio, a bright group broke into the chase a few kilometers later: Evenepoel followed suit in the mountain jersey with Caden Groves, the points leader. They were accompanied by the Ineos trio of Italian ace Gana, Omar Friel from Spain and German Kim Hajduk.
A merciless chase developed, with Hayduk and Frail falling victim before the two groups of six top drivers combined. With the last of their strength, the field closed in on the home straight, but the top three places went to three of the main performers in the final hour of the Vuelta.
“It was fun,” Evenepoel said of the show, which was a welcome change for the audience from the often sterile final stages.
About half a minute behind the day’s winner, Sepp Kuss and his Jumbo teammates rolled together across the final finish line of the three weeks and celebrated the American’s overall victory after a total of almost 77 hours of racing in 21 stages.
Jumbo Trilogy with Kiss, Vingguard, Roguelike
The Dutch team celebrated its historic victory with a special black jersey decorated with stripes in the colors of the leading jerseys from the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France and the Vuelta: never before has a racing team won all three Grand National Tours in a single season. – Just like Jumbo with Primoz Roglic in Italy, Jonas Vengegaard in France and now Kos in Spain.
“It took me a while to realize this,” said an overjoyed Kos at the end. “Today is a celebration.”
The best German in the final standings was Emanuel Buchmann, who came in 20th place, almost an hour behind Kos. Kamna finished 30th, while Bora captain Aleksandr Vlasov of Russia finished seventh – just ahead of young teammate Cian Oijtdebrix. The 20-year-old Belgian mastered his impressive debut over the course of three weeks.
At least the Australian Groves (Alpecin) was denied victory in the points classification, and Juan Ayuso (UAE Team) consoled the Spanish fans with his victory in the junior classification.
The final section, which is only 101.5 kilometers long, began late Sunday afternoon on the horse racing track. From the Hippodromo de la Zarzuela on the outskirts of Madrid, the remaining 148 knights set off towards central Madrid. Firstly, obligatory photo sessions with jersey wearers around Kuss and defending champion Evenepoel as well as the winning team Jumbo-Visma and the top three in the general classification were on the program – before the wild finale began.
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