Belgian Remco Evenepoel claimed the Vuelta a Espana title on Sunday for his first Grand Tour triumph, capping a dominant three weeks with one last push on the final stage from Las Rozas to Madrid that was won by Juan Sebastian Molano.

The 22-year-old had all but confirmed victory after holding off his nearest rival Enric Mas on Saturday's stage 20 and finished the job with ease as he rolled into the Spanish capital flanked by his Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team mates.

Evenepoel is the first Belgian winner of a Grand Tour since Johan De Muynck at the 1978 Giro d' Italia and the youngest Vuelta champion since Angelino Soler in 1961.

Mas of Movistar finished over two minutes back and settled for second place overall - his third runner-up finish since 2018 - while UAE Team Emirates' Juan Ayuso completed the podium.

Evenepoel at the moment of victory

Mads Pedersen (Trek–Segafredo) sealed the sprinter's green jersey and Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) topped the mountain classification.

"Now it really sinks in, it's really official. Already yesterday the emotions were quite high. We were actually there but we still had to finish the race safe and in a good way," said Evenepoel.

"I didn't have much time to think in Madrid because there it was a really technical course. It was getting more nervous every lap. I'm happy we survived here. It's history for the team, for my country, for myself."

Molano secured the stage win in a thrilling sprint finale, edging out Pedersen and UAE Team Emirates team mate Pascal Ackermann on the line.

"The truth is I'm still processing it," said Colombian Molano. "I launched with 300m to go, like I usually do in a lead-out... I looked on the left and I saw Pedersen coming, and I never thought about stopping."

But the day belonged to Evenepoel, who never relinquished the red jersey after taking the lead on stage six and looked favourite to capture the title after defending champion Primoz Roglic, who was steadily closing the gap, withdrew from the race before stage 17.

Mas was left as his sole challenger but the Spaniard could not close the deficit despite a couple of spirited attacks in the final mountain stages.

Evenepoel abandoned the 2021 Giro following a crash on stage 17 and failed to medal at the Tokyo Olympics but bounced back strongly earlier this year with a win at the Clasica de San Sebastian before claiming two stages at the Vuelta.