John Degenkolb won stage five of the Vuelta A Espana after a hectic sprint in Logroño. The German came past Danieli Bennati on the line to take his second win in four days.
After two days of hill-top finishes that have already brought the race’s main protagonists to the top of the leaderboard, today’s profile was always going to result in a day for the sprinters.
Eight laps of a pan flat 21km circuit meant the stage had ‘bunch sprint’ written all over it. The bunch rolled along all day hardly breaking a sweat in Spains heatwave. Even the teams who look for the breaks seemed reluctant to get stuck in as the day’s break-away contained just one solitary rider.
Javier Chacon ploughed a lone furrow throughout the day and at times must have been craving some company. There was never even any drama of a chase as the Andalucia rider started to look laboured well before he was caught inside the last 25 kilometres.
Once Chacon had been caught the teams started to send their riders to the front, but no single squad was willing, or perhaps able, to exert overall control. As the speed picked up in the final ten kilometres, Garmin-Sharp, Lotto Bellisol, Omega-Pharma Lotto, Argos Shimano and BMC all had spells on the front.
None had the firepower to stay on the front for long, but Argos timed their effort well and returned in the final kilometre to place Degenkolb where he needed to be. It wasn’t however an armchair ride to the line as his leadout man was in full flow when Bennati surged passed on the right hand side of the road.
Britain’s Ben Swift saw the move and went with him, but after a few pedal revolutions realised he couldn’t maintain the speed and sat up. Degenkolb soon realised the danger and went after the RadioShack rider having to close at least two bike lengths on him.
Thankfully for Argos-Shimano the German’s speed was enough to carry him up to and then past Bennati right on the line.
Joaquim Rodriguez, Chris Froome and Alberto Contador all finished safely in the bunch.
Vuelta a Espana 2012, Stage five: Logroño – Logroño 168km
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) Argos-Shimano 4-10-37
2. Daniele Bennati (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan
3. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Lotto Belisol
4. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ-Bigmat
5. Elia Viviani (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
6. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Sharp
7. Allan Davis (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
8. Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
9. Leonardo Fabio Duque (Col) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne
10. Pim Ligthart (Ned) Vancansoleil-DCM all at same time
21. Ben Swift (Gbr) Team Sky
35. Christopher Froome (Gbr) Team Sky
47. Ian Stannard (Gbr) Team Sky
50. Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Esp) Katusha
Overall classification after stage five
1. Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha 17:29:22 2
2. Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky at 1 second
3. Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo Bank Tinkoff Bank at 5 seconds
4. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank at 9 seconds
5. Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank at same time
6. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Team Sky at 11 seconds
7. Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha at 14 seconds
8. Nicolas Roche (Ire) Ag2r La Mondiale at 24 seconds
9. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 36 seconds
10. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank at 46 seconds
Degenkolb wins to leave Bennati frustrated
Briton’s Chris Froome takes on board his food during a sedate stage
Vuelta a Espana 2012: Startlist
Vuelta a Espana 2012: Latest news
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Vuelta a Espana 2012: Reports
Stage one report: Movistar win team time trial
Stage two report: Degenkolb wins, Swift third
Stage three report: Valverde victorious after Contador attacks
Stage four report: Rodriguez takes over lead after Valverde crashes
Stage five report:Degenkolb wins again
Stage six report: Froome gains time on Contador
Vuelta a Espana 2012: Route info and analysis
Vuelta a Espana 2012 route revealed
Vuelta 2012 route leaves time triallists out in the cold