Degenkolb storms to Vuelta stage win

Germany’s John Degenkolb claimed his third sprint victory of the Vuelta a Espana by winning stage 12 in Logrono yesterday as Ireland’s Dan Martin survived a rather stress-free day and remains 11th overall.

Degenkolb storms to Vuelta stage win

A 20.8-kilometre circuit was negotiated eight times, totalling 166.4km and after lone escapee Matthias Krizek (Cannondale) was caught with 13km to go, the sprinters’ teams amassed at the front to set up the final dash.

A crash inside the final kilometre split the peloton and took out some of those hoping to bid for the stage as ahead of them only 10 riders contested the sprint.

Big favourite Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) was not among them as Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) held off the challenge of Belgium’s Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) to consolidate his lead in the points classification jersey.

Jacopo Guarnieri (Astana) was third and Peter Sagan (Cannondale) fourth.

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) finished safely in the pack to retain the race leader’s red jersey entering today’s 188.7km 13th stage from Belorado to Obregon.

Contador, who was 19th on the day, leads fellow Spaniard Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) by 24 seconds, with Briton Chris Froome (Team Sky) a further minute behind in fourth.

Martin crossed the line in 20th place in the same time as stage winner Degenkolb and is still 3:59 behind Contador, while the only other Irishman in the race, Philip Deignan, lost 2:49 and is now 62nd at 48:29.

Meanwhile, in last night’s National criterium Championships in Mondello Park, UK-based professional rider Peter Hawkins took a fine win from Damian Shaw (Aquablue) and Paul Kennedy (VeloRevolution).

Hawkins (Madison Genesis) and Shaw pulled clear of the field in a two-man escape after an action-packed race.

Combining well in the closing stages to maintain the gap they needed to ensure they would fight it out for the title, the duo survived to the line where Hawkins got the better of Mullingar’s Shaw to go home with the gold medal.

In the sprint behind them that settled third place, veteran Kennedy rolled back the years to produce the kind of finishing kick that made him one of the country’s most prolific winners for a decade in his pomp; taking bronze on the night.

Elsewhere, the Irish team for the men’s junior road race at the World Championships in Spain next year is set to be named today with the likelihood being that the five-man team will be; Eddie Dunbar and Dylan O’Brien (O’Leary’s Stone Kanturk CC), Michael O’Loughlin (Nicolas Roche Performance Team), Daire Feeley (Donamon Dynamos), and Stephen Shanahan (Limerick CC).

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