Race report

John Degenkolb sprints to 7th in Cabo de Gata after hot day in the saddle

Vuelta a España

After yesterday’s time trial, the Vuelta a España riders were back as a peloton today as they took on a rolling 191 kilometres from ElPozo Alimentación to Cabo de Gata. From the flag drop a brave trio forged on into the headwind, forming the day’s breakaway, as all Team DSM riders sat in the peloton saving energy for the finale.

As the kilometres ticked by the gap to the break slowly dwindled as the catch was made at around 20 kilometres to go. Grouped up well on the left side of the road, the team held their position well before the pace suddenly ramped up ahead of a left turn. Now met with a cross tailwind, the speed for the closing three kilometres averaged at least 55 kilometres per hour; as the team looked to position John Degenkolb for the sprint. Under the flamme rouge and with those on the front slowing down, the experienced Degenkolb sensed an opportunity to catch the other sprinters off guard – launching his sprint at 300 metres to go. Putting the power through the pedals Degenkolb gave it his all but was eventually overhauled in the last 75 metres, ending the stage in a fine seventh place.

“All in all it was a good day,” explained Degenkolb at the finish. “It was one of the ‘easier’ days I would say with the three rider breakaway clear from the start, the stage was mostly calm. Towards the end it was more nervous and hectic. In the final straight with four kilometres to go there was crosswind next to the beach. I might have started the sprint a little bit too early but in the end it was nice to open up the sprint and be in the mix. It was another hot day so hydration and cooling was also important, and it was nice to be up there with the boys.”

Team DSM coach Matt Winston added: “The guys bounced back well after yesterday’s disappointment and rode well together through the day. We worked hard on looking after each other and keeping each other cool on a hot day. We came into the final in a good way. It was nice to see John opening up the sprint from the front and going for it, so it was a nice top ten. We’ll keep looking for opportunities.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 GROVES Kaden Team BikeExchange - Jayco 5:03:14 100
2 VAN POPPEL Danny BORA - hansgrohe ,, 40
3 MERLIER Tim Alpecin-Deceuninck ,, 20
7 DEGENKOLB John Team DSM ,, -
11 NIEUWENHUIS Joris Team DSM ,, -
20 HVIDEBERG Jonas Iversby Team DSM ,, -
43 ARENSMAN Thymen Team DSM ,, -
51 BRENNER Marco Team DSM ,, -