Vuelta Stage 7: John Degenkolb seals hat-trick of stage wins to extend points jersey lead
Team Sky do the leadout, but Argos-Shimano sprinter wins again
John Degenkolb of Argos Shimano has extended his lead in the points classification of the Vuelta, beating Elia Viviani of Liquigas-Cannondale in a sprint finish on the wide tarmac surface of the Motorland Aragon motor racing circuit to take his third stage victory in this year's race.
As the peloton headed into the final ten kilometres, a crash in the bunch brought down a number of riders, although the main contenders for the overall win, including race leader Joaquin Rodriguez of Katusha and Team Sky's Chris Froome, were safely out of trouble at the front.
Team Sky led the peloton into the final kilometres and even managed to gain a small gap on the rest of the bunch a couple of kilometres out as they raced through the motor racing circuit's bends, but in a scrappy finish sprinter Ben Swift once again missed out, finishing tenth.
It was a bad day for another Team Sky rider, Rigoberto Uran, who dropped from fourth place overall to 15th, 2 minutes 9 seconds down on race leader Rodriguez.
The Colombian, who won silver in the Olympic road race earlier this month behind Kazakhstan's Alexandre Vinokourov, punctured a few kilometres from the end of the 164.2-kilometre stage from Huesca, and with the team car held up by that earlier crash, he eventually crossed the line more than a minute behind the stage winner.
Ahead of that crash, in which RadioShack-Nissan's Markel Irizar and Rabobank's Stef Clement came off worst, the peloton had caught a group of four riders that had formed the day's breakaway, Andalucia's Pablo Lechuga, Javier Aramendia of Caja Rural, the Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider Frantisek Rabon and Bert-Jan Lindeman of Vacansoleil-DCM.
Vuelta Stage 7 Result 1 DEGENKOLB, John ARG 3h 48' 30'' 2 VIVIANI, Elia LIQ All at same time 3 DAVIS, Allan OGE 4 BOUHANNI, Nacer FDJ 5 BENNATI, Daniele RNT 6 MEERSMAN, Gianni LTB 7 VAN WINDEN, Dennis RAB 8 ROJAS, José Joaquin MOV 9 MONDORY, Lloyd ALM 10 SWIFT, Ben SKY 11 VIGANO, Davide LAM 12 STEEGMANS, Gert OPQ 13 CLARKE, Simon OGE 14 ROCHE, Nicolas ALM 15 CONTADOR, Alberto STB 16 RODRIGUEZ, Joaquin KAT 17 NOCENTINI, Rinaldo ALM 18 VALVERDE, Alejandro MOV 19 STYBAR, Zdenek OPQ 20 LE MEVEL, Christophe GRS 21 CARDOSO, Andre Fernando CJR Last man home on Stage 7 194 BAGOT, Yohann COF + 11' 36'' General Classification after Stage 7 1 RODRIGUEZ, Joaquin KAT 25h 53' 04'' 2 FROOME, Christopher SKY + 10'' 3 CONTADOR, Alberto STB + 36'' 4 GESINK, Robert RAB + 54'' 5 VALVERDE, Alejandro MOV + 54'' 6 ROCHE, Nicolas ALM + 1' 04'' 7 MOLLEMA, Bauke RAB + 1' 12'' 8 MORENO, Daniel KAT + 1' 17'' 9 COBO, Juan José MOV + 1' 34'' 10 HENAO, Sergio Luis SKY + 1' 39'' Points Classification after Stage 7 1 DEGENKOLB, John ARG 76 2 VIVIANI, Elia LIQ 47 3 RODRIGUEZ, Joaquin KAT 45 4 DAVIS, Allan OGE 45 5 VALVERDE, Alejandro MOV 41 Mountains Classification after Stage 7 1 CLARKE, Simon OGE 16 2 VALVERDE, Alejandro MOV 11 3 LIGTHART, Pim VCD 11 4 MATE, Luis Angel COF 10 5 RODRIGUEZ, Joaquin KAT 9