Degenkolb Takes Third Stage Win at Vuelta a Espana
John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) has won his third stage of the 2014 Vuelta a Espana. Degenkolb took a crash-marred sprint to win Stage 12, a flat, 166.4-km ride in and around Logrono, in 4:11:18. Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) took second, and Jacopo Guarnieri (Astana) finished third. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo Bank) remains the red jersey.
Matthias Krizek (Cannondale) animated the stage. On the first of eight laps of this circuit race, the Austrian jumped away. He led the field by more than nine minutes at 41.2 km. Krizek began the day one and a half hours behind Contador, so none of the GC teams had a reason to chase.
Giant-Shimano and FDJ.fr did have such a reason, however, and the two squads went to the front on behalf of Degenkolb and Nacer Bouhanni, respectively. The pursuit reduced the Cannondale man’s lead to 7:30 at 66 km and 6:30 10 km later. With 41.6 km left, Krizek’s lead was down to 3:40.
BMC, Tinkoff-Saxo Bank, Belkin, and Katusha joined FDJ.fr and Giant-Shimano at the front. This increased the chase’s speed, and at the beginning of the last lap, with 20.8 km left, the bunch was 1:23 behind Krizek. The peloton took its time, and the Cannondale man still led the field by one minute with 14.8 km to go, but Movistar and Lampre-Merida joined the GC and sprinters’ squads at the front, and Krizek was reeled in with 12 km remaining.
The GC squads single filed the field. Tinkoff-Saxo Bank led the peloton into the last km. On the last turn, a crash took down many riders and held up most of the bunch. Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida) made the first move, but Ramon Sinkledam (Giant-Shimano) was on his wheel and leading out Degenkolb. With 200 m left, Degenkolb made his move, and the others had no answer. The German finished more than a bike length ahead of Boonen.
Degenkolb noted that the finale was chaotic. “The final was really crazy,” he said. “The key to our success was that we kept calm. It wasn’t perfect or how we planned it to go as we lost each other on the narrow roads and roundabouts.
“Finally it was Ramon and I at the front, and we rode perfectly. I kept shouting to stay calm and not to panic, and he was great and did a perfect job.”
In the overall, Contador leads Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) by 0:20 and Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) by 1:08. Stage 13 should not change matters. The hilly, 188.7-km ride from Belorado to Obregon, Parque de Cabarceno will feature two Category 3 climbs, a second category ascent, and an uphill finish. It all adds up to a breakaway taking the win. Who will be in it? Who will win? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!
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