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Vuelta a Espana stage 21: photo gallery

The 2012 Vuelta a Espana will be remembered as one of the most exciting Grand Tours for years, with Alberto Contador securing his second title a little more than a month after returning from a doping ban.

The Spaniard, who also won his home Grand Tour in 2008, defended his one minute and 16 second lead over compatriot Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) on the final stage into Madrid.

German sprinter John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) won the stage to earn his fifth victory in this year’s race. Here’s how the action unfolded.

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The final 115km stage began with a processional ride into Madrid before ten laps of a finishing circuit

That gave Contador the chance to show off his red leader’s jersey on the streets of his home city

Degenkolb claimed yet another victory to add to his wins on stages two, five, seven and ten

Contador held seven fingers in the air to represent his seven Grand Tour victories, although the SaxoBank-Tinkoff rider was stripped of two of those by the Court of Arbitration for Sport earlier this year

The final podium: Contador, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)

Valverde finished sixth in the final sprint to wrestle the green jersey from Rodriguez at the last possible opportunity

Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEDGE) was crowned King of the Mountains

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