Sunday's final processional stage into Madrid took a little time to get going, but once the 10 city circuits were under way the thrills and spills followed. Let's take a look back at the movers and shakers at the end of this intriguing Vuelta...


The smiling Sardinian made the most of his position as race leader to show off a new set of wheels on the final ride into Madrid.
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His resplendent red paint job capped a rollercoaster three weeks for Aru, who experienced more ups and downs in Spain since the time One Direction went on Tour to the Costa del Sol.
The 25-year-old became the youngest current Grand Tour champion and his performances over the season (second in the Giro and now first in the Vuelta) will surely have him demanding a leadership role from manager Alexandre Vinokourov during the Tour de France next July.


If that happens, then it could well spell the end for Aru’s team-mate and compatriot Nibali – the last Italian 25-year-old to win the Vuelta (back in 2010).


Giant-Alpecin could wipe away the tears of disappointment with a determined win by their man Degenkolb in the final stage – although he went so early on the home straight it was quite some feat that he managed to hold off Danny van Poppel and Jean-Pierre Drucker.
But Degenkolb’s 10th career win in the Vuelta was just deserts for him and his team, who put aside their Tom Dumoulin-themed setback to put in a textbook performance in Madrid when it mattered.
And if Nibali’s looking over his shoulder at Aru, then the same can be said for the German contingent at Giant...


The wily Spaniard was up to his tricks on Sunday, pouncing on a mechanical to his old foe Joaquim Rodriguez to snare the intermediate sprint and seize the green jersey from Purito’s shoulders.
Valverde has now finished the Vuelta on nine occasions (withdrawing just the once, in his debut race in 2002) and has never finished outside the top 10. In fact, his seventh place was the lowest of his career, which includes six podium finishes and one overall win.


Purito was all smiles ahead of the final stage in green...
But in the end he had to settle for just the white combined jersey as well as his second place on GC. To make matters worse, once again Rodriguez came undone by the man who was erased from his Christmas card list following the 2013 world championships in Florence.


It was a fantastic Vuelta for debutants – none more so that 25-year-old Fraile, whose constant attacks in key mountain stages saw him secure the polka dot jersey in his maiden Grand Tour.


Dropping off the podium on Saturday was a cruel twist of fate for the man who wore red for three separate stints and fought Aru right to the bitter end.
So it was a welcome sight to see Dutchman Dumoulin on the podium in Madrid after all...


He started the race as one of the favourites but illness and lingering Tour fatigue ensured that the Colombian climber was very much an also-ran over three weeks in Spain.
His fourth place may have helped Movistar win the team classification, but it was Quintana’s worse Grand Tour result since his debut in the Vuelta back in 2012 – and came at the end of a race in which he won neither stage nor jersey.


Cycling was the winner in Spain – and Senors Aru and Dumoulin should be congratulated for making it such a compelling race.
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