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"I hope that my legs will feel better in the next few days but my condition is still not perfect. It’s a really big injury with a lot of skin off and I miss a lot of power in my legs."

Photo: Sirotti

JOHN DEGENKOLB

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RAMON SINKELDAM

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TEAM SUNWEB

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VUELTA A ESPAÑA

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04.09.2014 @ 21:06 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

John Degenkolb sprinted to another victory in the Vuelta a Espana on today's stage and looked like his usual powerful self when he crossed the line. Suffering from a crash, however, the German claims to miss a lot of power in his legs.

 

John Degenkolb has taken his third stage win of La Vuelta a España on stage 12 of the race, safely negotiating a technical finale that saw several riders come unstuck.

 

Team Giant-Shimano were focused on a sprint all day, putting a rider on the front of the peloton from early on and after a strong final lead-out from Ramon Sinkeldam, Degenkolb pulled through to comfort his lead in the sprints classification with his third Vuelta win so far.

 

The 12th stage of the race presented a rare sprint opportunity for the team between some tough mountain tests and they were keen to make the most of the chance of another sprint victory.

 

One rider pulled clear early on and that was the day’s breakaway established. With no mountain points on offer on the relatively flat stage based on a large circuit around Logroño, few riders were keen to get up the road and this made the day easier to control behind.

 

Lawson Craddock was soon visible on the front controlling the pace and spent much of the day controlling the head of the peloton before added fire power came in later. The peloton, under the impetus of Team Giant-Shimano timed the catch to perfection with the race coming back together with just under ten kilometres to go. From here the pace was too high for anything to get clear but the riders had to be attentive through the twisty, technical final kilometres.

 

A large crash near the front of the bunch saw several contenders come down and hampered some of Degenkolb's lead-out, including Koen De Kort, but Sinkeldam was still present to lead Degenkolb through to the final few hundred metres from which point he pulled clear, punching his arms in the air for the third time this Tour.

 

The win makes is Degenkolb’s eighth Vuelta stage win, adding to the two he has already won this year, and the five stages he took in 2012.

 

After the stage Sinkeldam said: “Everybody knew that with 4km to go it was really tight so both GC teams and sprinters teams wanted to be at the front. It was a real fight and was really hectic. We all lost each other but I found John at the front and held him in around fifth wheel in the final kilometres.

 

“It worked out well as there was always someone to pull on the front so I could wait until 500m which was perfect. It feels great to actually be able to do my job perfectly. It is my role in the team here to do this and for it to go perfectly in a Grand Tour and for your sprinter to win is quite rare, so it feels great.”

 

After his podium duties, Degenkolb added: “The final was really crazy. The key to our success was that we kept calm. It wasn’t perfect or how we planned it to go as we lost each other on the narrow roads and roundabouts.

 

“Finally it was Ramon and I at the front and we rode perfectly. I kept shouting to stay calm and not to panic, and he was great and did a perfect job.

 

“He was disappointed not to have played a part in the last two wins so it was great for him to play such a big role in the win. It’s nice to see him develop in the team and I’m really happy to get another win like this.

 

"I didn’t see the crash, I only heard the crash behind me. I had no time to look back. I was there to do my own sprint. I focused on myself and on my lead out man. Ramon Sinkeldam did a great job today. It’s very nice to finish the job like this. At the end it’s perfect but before it was very hectic to sit in this position.

 

"I’m very happy. I came here to win stages. Now I’ve already bagged three stages. It’s great for the team. We’ve also Warren Barguil in the general classification. He’s close to the first positions. As a team we’re doing really good. We can trust each other. That’s the most important. 

 

"A couple of days ago I crashed pretty hard. I’m still suffering from that crash. All the climbs also cost me a lot of energy. I hope that my legs will feel better in the next few days but my condition is still not perfect. It’s a really big injury with a lot of skin off and I miss a lot of power in my legs. 

 

"I definitely want to win. The Vuelta is a great race and it’s also a good preparation for the Worlds. But for setting goals for myself at the world championship, my legs have to be better than they are now.

 

“For the green jersey, we will take it day by day as there are a lot of tough stages coming up where it will be hard to score points.”

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