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Vuelta á Espana: Degenkolb sprints to fourth stage win

Joaquim Rodriguez remains in red as Germany’s John Degenkolb made it a foursome of wins at the 2012 Vuelta.

Image: Lalo R. Villar/AP/Press Association Images

Result: JOHN DEGENKOLB TOOK advantage of Monday’s rest day to out manoeuvre the field in a bunch sprint on the 10th stage to Sanxenxo. The Argos-Shimano rider came home ahead of France’s Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ-Big Mat) and Daniele Bennati (Radioshack-Nissan).

There were no major changes at the top of the GC rankings with all of the top contenders finishing in the main group, four seconds behind Degenkolb. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) leads by 53 seconds from Christopher Froome (Sky). Alberto Contador (SaxoBank-Tinkoff) is a further seven seconds back in third.

Here’s how it happened: A cool day in Galicia made for an interesting tactical battle as the peloton navigated the 190 kilometres from Pontearas to Sanxenxo. The temperature didn’t deter Adrian Palomares or Javier Aramendia who formed a two-man breakaway from the off and stayed clear out in front until they were swallowed by the pack with 35 kilometres to go.

What little drama there was unfolded behind them as a number of GC contenders, including Alberto Contador and Robert Gesink, had mechanical difficulties while Sergio Carrasco had reason to call on the race doctor more than once. Contador and Gesink both avoided losing any time but Carrasco tailed off to the rear of the field and came home more than six minutes in arrears.

Determined attempts by Orica-GreenEdge, Katusha and Sky to cause a decisive split on the race into Sanxenxo succeeded only in stretching the peloton. RadioShack-Nissan took control inside the final kilometre, and just when it looked as though Daniele Bennati would claim his sixth career stage win at the Vuelta, Degenkolb got up to pip Bouhanni and Bennati to the line.

Who’s wearing what colour?

  • Red (general classification): Joaquim Rodriguez
  • Green (points): John Degenkolb
  • Blue dots (mountains): Alejandro Valverde
  • White (all-round): Joaquim Rodriguez

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How did Nico do? Roche finished in 35th place, towards the head of the main bunch which crossed the line four seconds behind Degenkolb. He stays in seventh place in the GC standings, 33 seconds ahead of Igor Anton.

What happens tomorrow then? Wednesday sees the only individual time trial of this year’s race as the peloton race the clock for 40km between Cambados and Pontevedra.

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