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Giant-Shimano’s John Degenkolb won stage 12 of the Vuelta a España, again proving to be one of the best sprinters in Spain’s grand tour.
The German’s strong team made all the difference in the technical final kilometers of the day’s flat, eight-lap circuit race around Logroño.
At the end of the 166.4km race, it came down to a stifling leadout from Ramon Sinkeldam (Giant-Shimano), who strung out a small front group of 13, delivering Degenkolb to the line.
Though Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) challenged in the final meters, Degenkolb would not be denied victory, confirming again that he is a deserving wearer of the green points jersey. The general classification’s red jersey stays with Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), and the top-10 overall standings are unchanged.
“I feel great, I was hoping to win but I wasn’t overconfident,” said Degenkolb. “I pushed for the sprint at the right time which was fundamental. The whole team did a great job.”
Krizek’s long, lonely road
Matthias Krizek (Cannondale) took off 4km into the stage. He quickly opened a lead of a few minutes.
After 16km of racing, Krizek had a 5:08 lead over the peloton. From there, his advantage swelled to seven minutes at the end of the second 20.8km lap.
The leader’s gap reached 9:00 after about 55 kilometers, but that would not last for long.
When the peloton started the sixth lap, it was only 3:52 behind the leader.
Krizek made it to the final circuit with an advantage of 1:27. FDJ.fr rode tempo at the front of the peloton. The sprinters wanted to have their day before the Vuelta returns to the mountains.
The catch was made with 12 kilometers left.
Degenkolb again proves unbeatable
Heading into the finale, BMC and Tinkoff-Saxo kept the pace high, protecting their GC leaders.
With four kilometers to go, the race for the sprint was on, as the field tackled several sharp corners. Contador was impeccably positioned in the front, avoiding the dangerous fight for position behind.
With 2.4km left, BMC’s Manuel Quinziato started the hostilities, jumping off the front of the field.
His advantage was minimal at best. Tinkoff-Saxo soon brought him back.
Seeing the red kite at 1km to go, Lampre-Merida’s Roberto Ferrari wound up the pace, splitting the field through the final sharp corners. His efforts were aided by a crash behind that claimed several favorites, including Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge).
Yauheni Hutarovich followed Ferrari’s move, but he spent his matches too soon.
Sinkeldam came through with an impeccable leadout for Degenkolb. Boonen made a final push toward the line on the German’s right side, but it was not enough. Degenkolb cruised to his third victory at this year’s Vuelta.
Degenkolb struggled in Wednesday’s stage, but seemed back to form on Thursday, despite an infection. “Yesterday my leg was hurting and it was really difficult because I have a small infection,” he said. “It is nothing to worry about, though, and you just have to overcome it.”
Boonen finished second, and Jacopo Guarnieri (Astana) was third. The GC remains unchanged after stage 12.
The Vuelta heads back to the mountains on Friday with a 188.7km stage from Belorado to Obregón. There will be three categorized climbs along the way, but a long, lumpy run-in to the finish.
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PARIS (AFP) — French rider Thomas Voeckler will miss the UCI road world championships in Spain later this month with a broken collarbone.
Thibaut Pinot was also left off of France’s worlds roster. He pulled out of the Vuelta a España this week due to illness and fatigue.
On Thursday, France unveiled an initial 17-man squad for the world championships, September 21-28 in Ponferrada, Spain. The final lineup will be decided in just over a week’s time.
Preliminary France squad for the UCI road world championships:
Road race: Julian Alaphilippe, Romain Bardet, Blel Kadri, Lloyd Mondory, Jean-Christophe Péraud, Warren Barguil, Nacer Bouhanni, Geoffrey Soupe, Arthur Vichot, Sylvain Chavanel, Bryan Coquard, Cyril Gautier, Kévin Reza et Romain Sicard, Tony Gallopin, Arnaud Gérard
Time trial: Sylvain Chavanel, Jerome Coppel, Jean-Christophe Peraud
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LONDON (AFP) — Sprint specialist Mark Cavendish was left off the squad announced by Great Britain on Thursday for the UCI Road World Championships in Spain later this month.
Cavendish, the 2011 world champion, had to undergo shoulder surgery after crashing on the opening stage of this year’s Tour de France in the northern English town of Harrogate.
The eight-man British team that will attack the hilly Ponferrada road race course on September 28 features 2013 Tour de France champion Chris Froome and two-time Olympic track cycling gold medalist Geraint Thomas.
Olympic silver medallist Lizzie Armitstead will spearhead a six-strong team in the women’s race a day earlier.
In the time trial, which takes place on September 24, 2011 and 2013 worlds runner-up and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Bradley Wiggins, along with Commonwealth Games gold medallist Alex Dowsett, are in contention for the two men’s places.
But there will be no British representative in the women’s time trial.
“We’re fortunate to have a strong pool of riders from which to make our final selection,” said British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton.
The championships are scheduled for September 21-28 in Ponferrada, Spain.
Men’s elite road race (eight will ride)
Men’s elite time trial (two will ride)
Women’s elite road race (six will ride)
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