Tyler Farrar of Garmin-Transitions won the 21st and final stage of the 2010 Vuelta a Espana in Madrid this afternoon, but with Mark Cavendish finishing second, it's the HTC-Columbia who wins the green jersey, only the second British rider to win the points classification in a grand tour, the only other being Malcolm Elliott in the 1989 Vuelta.
Meanwhile, Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas-Doimo negotiated the 84km stage without mishap to clinch both the overall victory and combined classification, while the Cofidis rider David Moncoutié won the mountains competition for the third year running.
Inside the final kilometre, after Matt Goss had led him out, Cavendish appeared to be set to clinch his fourth stage of this year’s race as he moved ahead of others vying for the win including Astana’s Allan Davies and Quiskstep’s Wouter Weylandt, but Farrar came round the outside to take victory on the line.
Packed crowds in the Spanish capital greeted the race’s arrival following its three-week journey that began in Seville with a spectacular night-time time trial, with the riders completing a dozen laps of a 5.7 kilometre circuit after riding into the city from San Sebastián de los Reyes.
The final day’s breakaway was initiated after 20km by serial escapee Dominik Roels of Milram, joined quickly by Javier Ramirez from Andalucia-Cajasur, and the group soon grew to five with the addition of the Omega Pharma-Lotto pairing of Jurgen Van Goolen and Olivier Kaisen and Xacobeo Galicia’s Gonzalo Rabunal.
Today of all days, however, the peloton kept a very close watch and the escapees were never able to extend their lead to more than a minute in the Madrid sunshine, before they were reeled back in and caught with 15km to go as HTC-Columbia and Garmin-Transitions set the pace to guarantee that their star sprinters would contest the finale.
Vuelta Stage 21 result 1 FARRAR, Tyler (Garmin-Transitions) 2h 02' 24'' 2 CAVENDISH, Mark (HTC-Columbia) same time 3 DAVIS, Allan (Astana) " 4 WEYLANDT, Wouter (Quickstep) 5 GOSS, Matthew Harley (HTC-Columbia) 6 BOLE, Grega (Lampre-Farnese Vini) 7 CARDOSO, Manuel (Footon-Servetto) 8 DUMOULIN, Samuel (Cofids) 9 HAEDO, Juan Jose (Team Saxo Bank) 10 HONDO, Danilo (Lampre-Farnese Vini) 11 IGLINSKIY, Valentin (Astana) 12 FURLAN, Angelo (Lampre-Farnese Vini) 13 FERNÁNDEZ, Koldo (Euskaltel-Euskadi) 14 HUTAROVICH, Yauheni (Francaise des Jeux) 15 MATA, Enrique (Footon-Servetto) 16 MONTENEGRO, Jorge (Andalucia-Cajasur) 17 BAKELANDTS, Jan (Omega Pharma-Lotto) 18 KOLOBNEV, Alexandr (Katusha) 19 BENNATI, Daniele (Liquigas-Doimo) 20 HINAULT, Sébastien (AG2R-La Mondiale) Vuelta overall standings after Stage 21 1 NIBALI, Vincenzo (Liquigas-Doimo) 87h 18' 33'' 2 MOSQUERA, Ezequiel (Xacobeo-Galicia) + 41'' 3 VELITS, Peter (HTC-Columbia) + 3' 02'' 4 RODRIGUEZ, Joaquin (Katusha) + 4' 20'' 5 SCHLECK, Frank (Team Saxo Bank) + 4' 43'' 6 TONDO, Xavier (Cervelo TestTeam) + 4' 52'' 7 ROCHE, Nicholas (AG2R-La Mondiale) + 5' 03'' 8 SASTRE, Carlos (Cervelo TestTeam) + 6' 06'' 9 DANIELSON, Thomas (Garmin-Transitions) + 6' 16'' 10 SÁNCHEZ, Luis León (Caisse d'Epargne) + 7' 42'' 11 GARCÍA, David (Xacobeo-Galicia) + 9' 37'' 12 NIEVE, Mikel (Cervelo TestTeam) + 10' 58'' 13 KARPETS, Vladimir (Katusha) + 13' 05'' 14 MONCOUTIE, David (Cofidis) + 14' 32'' 15 LE MEVEL, Christophe (Francaise des Jeux) + 16' 36'' 16 PLAZA, Ruben (Caisse d'Epargne) + 16' 40'' 17 GUSEV, Vladimir (Katusha) + 17' 54'' 18 KASHECHKIN, Andrey (Lampre-Farnese Vini) + 21' 14'' 19 BAKELANDTS, Jan (Omega Pharma-Lotto) + 24' 36'' 20 LARSSON, Gustav (Team Saxo Bank) + 25' 15''
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.