Cycle//Vuelta a España
by Marcus Leach
Stage twelve of the Vuelta a España was a rare opportunity for a sprint finish in a tough second week of racing, and John Degenkolb did not disappoint in taking his third stage win of the race.
Team Giant-Shimano helped to control the race all day and managed to safely negotiate the technical final kilometres from which point Ramon Sinkeldam set Degenkolb up for the final sprint.
Degenkolb once again showed his speed in taking the eighth Vuelta stage win of his career so far, and in doing so he comforts his lead overall in the points classification.
"The final was really crazy. 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," he said.
"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.
"He was disappointed not to have played a part in the last two wins so it was great for him to play such a big role today. It's nice to see him develop in the team and I'm really happy to get another win like this.
"For the green jersey, we will take it day by day as there are a lot of tough stages coming up where it will be hard to score points."
With four tough mountain stages to come race leader Alberto Contador, and his fellow GC contenders, were happy to finish safely in the bunch. The Spaniard knows that the coming stages will be vital in his quest to bounce back from injury and claim the title.
"There was a crash in the final kilometre but we avoided it and that’s what’s important. One more day done and the team performed well. Now I have to rest, because the next four days will be very tough and important," he said.
"During the stage and in the fast finale, I was in the front of the peloton. My team pulled really hard and I was very well placed at all times.
"We have some key stages ahead of us and tomorrow will be a day, where we have to be concentrated and alert - especially in the final part. I think tomorrow will be a busy day and we must be attentive right until the end."
Stage Twelve Result
1. John Degenkolb 4hrs 11mins 18secs
2. Tom Boonen - same time
3. Jacopo Guarnieri
4. Peter Sagan
5. Maximiliano Richeze
6. Yannick Martinez
7. Lloyd Mondory
8. Fabian Cancellara
9. Jasper Stuyven
10. Guillaume Boivin
1. Alberto Contador 44hrs 38mins 56secs
2. Alejandro Valverde +24secs
3. Rigoberto Uran +1min 12secs
4. Chris Froome +1min 24secs
5. Samuel Sanchez +1min 52secs
6. Joaquim Rodriguez +1min 55secs
7. Fabio Aru +2mins 17secs
8. Winner Anacona +2mins 26secs
9. Robert Gesink +2mins 59secs
10. Damiano Caruso +3mins 55secs