Vuelta a Espana: John Degenkolb wins stage five as Michael Matthews extends overall lead
By Matt Westby
Last Updated: 27/08/14 6:55pm
John Degenkolb sprinted to his second consecutive victory at the Vuelta a Espana on stage five as Michael Matthews extended his overall lead following a late split in the peloton.
Degenkolb picked up the seventh Vuelta stage win of his career by beating Nacer Bouhanni into second and Moreno Hofland into third at the end of another sweltering day in the south of Spain.
Behind the sprinters, the main bunch broke apart in a twisting final 1km and Matthews consequently crossed the finish line five seconds ahead of all of his closest rivals in the general classification in 11th place.
The Orica-GreenEdge rider now leads second-placed Nairo Quintana by 13 seconds and third-placed Alejandro Valverde by 20 seconds, but Chris Froome only lost three seconds to the Australian after picking up two bonus seconds at an intermediate sprint earlier in the day.
The Team Sky rider rises to 13th overall as a result of his efforts, but is now 38 seconds off of Matthews’s lead.
Bouhanni squeezed out
The stage took the riders on a largely flat 180km route from Preigo de Cordoba to Ronda and although Tony Martin (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) and Pim Ligthart (Lotto Belisol) mounted a two-man breakaway, they were afforded only a small lead and had both been swallowed back up with plenty of time to spare.
Tinkoff-Saxo subsequently blew the peloton to pieces with a ferocious upping of the pace around 30km out and while a clutch of riders never regained contact, a subsequent slowing of the pace allowed the majority of the main bunch to come back together.
After the day’s only climb had been crested, Team Sky took over the pace-setting on the 15km downhill to the finish, before moving aside with 2.5km to go.
BMC Racing then hit the front as they looked to tee up Philippe Gilbert, but despite not having their lead-out trains fully assembled, the pure sprinters soon took charge.
Degenkolb launched his sprint with 150m to go and as he veered right at the death, he squeezed the surging Bouhanni into the barriers, forcing the disgusted Frenchman to concede defeat.
Stage five result
1 John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Shimano, 4:04:21
2 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr, same time
3 Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin, st
4 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek Factory Racing, st
5 Paul Martens (Ger) Belkin, st
6 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, st
7 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing, st
8 Vicente Reynes (Spa) IAM Cycling, st
9 Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka, st
10 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida, st
11 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge, st
16 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, +5secs
18 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar, st
28 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, st
35 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo, st
1 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge, 17:35:05
2 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, +13sec
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar, +20
4 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +24
5 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale, +26
6 Johan Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge, same time
7 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek Factory Racing, +29
8 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin, +32
9 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo,st
10 Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin, st
13 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, +35