2013 Vuelta a Espana: Stage 21 live updates, blog

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    A gruelling 2013 Vuelta a Espana concludes today with a 109.6km stage from the city of Leganés to the centre of Madrid. It is a rather featureless day suited to the sprinters, but how often have people stated that before this Vuelta. Join us for live updates from 12.00am AEST.

    There should be few excuses for one of sprinters to not claim the victory in Stage 21, with the stage designed to favour them.

    There are no climbs to mention, the weather should be rather fine and sunny with temperatures around 30-degrees celsius, and the race finishes with a straight forward circuit.

    Whilst there are areas where crosswinds could threaten, the wind is predicted to be quite pleasant.

    Beginning in Leganés the stage shall follow a similar suit to the Tour de France and travel through some of the countryside and cities which form the Commune of Madrid.

    Before the stage then turns and heads towards Madrid proper. There are two intermediate sprints to contest along the way, however, the Points Classification (Green Jersey) has already been claimed by Alejandro Valverde, barring some freak results.

    When the peloton reach Madrid they shall commence a nine lap finishing circuit of 5.7 kilometres.

    The circuit around the streets of Madrid should be rather uncomplicated, with several kilometres of near-on perfectly straight road.

    There are three evenly spread out 180-degree hairpin bends for the riders to navigate, with the third bend coming just a kilometre from the finishing line.

    With Lampre-Merida still missing a stage victory, and their Argentine sprinter Richeze threatening to better his podium results, I expect the Italian team to fight hard for the victory.

    Argos-Shimano will be high on confidence thanks to Warren Barguil, and the Dutch team arguably have the best, if inexperienced, lead-out train here.

    Orica-GreenEDGE will be in a difficult situation, they have few riders left to support their sprinters, but Michael Matthews and Leigh Howard could perhaps piggyback off the work of the other teams.

    Team Sky may go ‘all in’ in an attempt to help Edvald Boasson Hagen finally claim that elusive Vuelta stage victory.

    With the likes of Tyler Farrar, Gianni Meersman, and Adrien Petit likely to be there or thereabouts as well.

    Prepare your celebrations as we bid farewell to an exciting 2013 Vuelta a Espana. Remember to join us from 12.00am AEST for live updates.

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