John Degenkolb of Argos-Shimano clinched his second stage victory of the 2012 Vuelta in Logroño this afternoon, powering past RadioShack-Nissan’s Daniele Bennati in the closing metres with Lotto-Belisol’s Gianni Meersman third. Katusha’s Jouaquin Rodriguez retains the overall lead, one second ahead of Team Sky’s Chris Froome.
Today’s 168-kilometre stage took in eight laps of a 21-kilometre circuit starting and finishing in Logroño, host of a Vuelta stage finish on a number of previous occasions, most recently in 2007 when Oscar Freire won there.
Andalucia rider Javier Chacon attacked inside the first kilometre and on another hot day in northern Spain, the 27-year-old spent around 130 kilometres on his own at the head of the race, at one point having a lead of nearly 12 minutes, before he was reeled in with a little under 30 kilometres left to ride.
The peloton remained together as it headed into the closing kilometres with RadioShack-Nissan, Lotto-Belisol and Argos-Shimano, looking to set up their respective sprinters, prominent at the head of the race as it snaked under the flamme rouge.
With 500 metres to go, Bennati, who was being tracked by Team Sky’s Ben Swift, launched his bid for the stage win, hitting the front alongside the barriers to his right.
Bennati’s move put Swift out of contention but Degenkolb, who had been in the centre of the road, countered the threat by moving to his own right and briefly into the RadioShack-Nissan rider’s slipstream before passing and beating him, the 23-year-old German timing his move to perfection.
The Italian tried to respond but was already at his limit, and banged his handlebars in frustration after crossing the line behind the Argos-Shimano rider.
Today’s win sees Degenkolb take over the lead in the points classification from yesterday's stage winner, Simon Clarke of Orica-GreenEdge.
“It was unbelievable, it was so fast,” he said afterwards. “My team put me in such a good position, I just needed to sprint the last 200 metres, but it was crazy. I’m speechless, it’s unbelievable. I cannot describe it.”
Vuelta Stage 5 Result 1 DEGENKOLB, John ARG 4h 10' 37'' 2 BENNATI, Daniele RNT All at same time 3 MEERSMAN, Gianni LTB 4 BOUHANNI, Nacer FDJ 5 VIVIANI, Elia LIQ 6 KREDER, Raymond GRS 7 DAVIS, Allan OGE 8 MONDORY, Lloyd ALM 9 DUQUE, Leonardo COF 10 LIGTHART, Pim VCD 11 CARDOSO, Manuel CJR 12 VAN WINDEN, Dennis RAB 13 FERNÁNDEZ, Koldo GRS 14 VIGANO, Davide LAM 15 LODEWYCK, Klaas BMC 16 ROJAS, José Joaquin MOV 17 STYBAR, Zdenek OPQ 18 CIMOLAI, Davide LAM 19 BAKELANTS, Jan RNT 20 PÉREZ, Rubén EUS Last man home on Stage 5 196 GALDOS, Aitor CJR + 4' 43'' General Classification after Stage 5 1 RODRIGUEZ, Joaquin KAT 17h 29' 22'' 2 FROOME, Christopher SKY + 1'' 3 CONTADOR, Alberto STB + 5'' 4 MOLLEMA, Bauke RAB + 9'' 5 GESINK, Robert RAB + 9'' 6 URAN, Rigoberto SKY + 11'' 7 MORENO, Daniel KAT + 14'' 8 ROCHE, Nicolas ALM + 24'' 9 VALVERDE, Alejandro MOV + 36'' 10 TEN DAM, Laurens RAB + 46'' Points Classification after Stage 5 1 DEGENKOLB, John ARG 50 2 DAVIS, Allan OGE 29 3 CLARKE, Simon OGE 27 4 VIVIANI, Elia LIQ 27 5 BENNATI, Daniele RNT 26 Mountains Classification after Stage 5 1 CLARKE, Simon OGE 16 2 LIGTHART, Pim VCD 11 3 VALVERDE, Alejandro MOV 10 4 MATE, Luis Angel COF 10 5 MARTIN, Tony OPQ 8
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.