Quick-Step Floors' Matteo Trentin dominated a mass sprint to win the final stage of the 2017 Vuelta a Espana on Sunday, while Chris Froome of Team Sky easily hung on to his lead in the general classification.
Trentin needed a good result to win the points jersey and did his part, taking a fourth stage win, but Froome sprinted to an 11th-placed finish, good enough to win that competition as well.
Sunday's ride toward Madrid was expected to be at a leisurely pace, giving Team Sky and the retiring Alberto Contador of Trek-Segafredo a chance to smile for the cameras and sip champagne.
As shared by Froome, Sky had provided the GC leader with a special bike:
Chris Froome @chrisfroome
All set for stage 21 of #LV2017 #lavuelta ❤️ #cycling https://t.co/ECiu6Wadv12017-9-10 14:29:09
The crowds showed up in massive numbers for the popular Contador:
#LV2017 At Arroyomolinos, the crowds have turned out for @albertocontador 's last race. Magical moments. https://t.co/gUWoWx3nyH2017-9-10 14:10:44
As expected, the pace was slow, although Sky sped things up close to the intermediate sprint, hoping to finish off the points classification as well. Trentin took four points, keeping the battle alive until the finish line.
Three riders escaped but were within sight of the peloton as the pack hit the final circuit, and as Sky upped the pace once again, Quick-Step started to lose riders. The formation did manage to get organised for a good lineout, just as the leaders were caught.
Trentin had to win to have any chance at the points jersey, and even in that situation, a 12th-placed finish or better for Froome was enough for the Brit. Per Daniel Benson of Cycling News, he managed an 11th-placed finish.
Froome became the first man since 1978 to do the Tour de France-Vuelta double, and the only man to do so in its current format, with the latter taking place behind La Grande Boucle. Per ESPN UK, he also made British cycling history:
ESPN UK @ESPNUK
Chris Froome becomes the first Briton to win the Vuelta a Espana! 👏🚴♂️ https://t.co/4T58RIHR8p https://t.co/Jp1vrv79FX2017-9-10 18:26:17
He'll have the chance to join an exclusive club next year if he wins the Giro d'Italia―only six riders have ever won all three Grand Tours.