Vuelta a Espana: Evenepoel celebrates 'historic moment' after first Grand Tour triumph

·2-min read

Remco Evenepoel hailed his Vuelta a Espana win as an "historic moment for the team, my country and myself".

The 22-year-old on Sunday became Belgium's first Grand Tour winner since Johan De Muynck took the 1978 Giro d'Italia title.

The Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider safely came through Sunday's 96.7km procession from Las Rozas to the finish in Madrid, which was won by UAE Team Emirates rider Juan Sebastian Molano.

Colombian Molano was the lead-out man, and he claimed his first Vuelta victory ahead of Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and his team-mate Pascal Ackermann.

Evenepoel, who led the Vuelta for 16 stages, longer than any other rider has held the red jersey since Chris Froome in 2017 (19 stages), was joined on the podium by Spaniards Enric Mas and Juan Ayuso, and put the victory down to his team and how they managed three gruelling weeks of racing.

"Yesterday the emotions were quite high because you could feel that we were actually there, but you still have to finish the race here [on stage 21] safe and in a good way," he told reporters.

"I think we did it perfectly. We enjoyed it as much as possible and now we can really enjoy it.

"I didn't have much time to think today because it was a technical course and it was getting more nervous on every lap, so it was not that nice. I'm happy we survived and that we are here now.

"It's an historic moment for the team, for my country and for myself. I think we can be really proud of what we did during the last three weeks."

Mas the nearly man

Mas and Ayuso took second and third, with this year the first time since 2014 that Spain has had two riders finish on the podium.

Movistar leader Mas, who also finished on the podium in the points and mountain classifications, had vowed to push Evenepoel in the wake of Primoz Rolgic's abandonment, but could not quite manage to do so. He has finished second in three of his four Vuelta appearances.

STAGE RESULT

1. Juan Sebastian Molano (UAE Team Emirates) 02:26:36
2. Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) same time
3. Pascal Ackermann (UAE Team Emirates) same time
4. Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma) same time
5. Danny van Poppel (BORA-Hansgrohe) same time

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 80:26:59
2. Enric Mas (Movistar) +2:02
3. Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) +4:57

Points Classification

1. Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) 409
2. Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious) 186
3. Enric Mas (Movistar) 138

King of the Mountains

1. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) 73
2. Robert Stannard (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 36
3. Enric Mas (Movistar) 28