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"Days like this, I don't know why they put them in the race. They are not that interesting for us. It was very dangerous in the end. There was a big crash, for us it's about not losing time."

Photo: Sirotti

LAURENS TEN DAM

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ROBERT GESINK

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ROBERT WAGNER

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TEAM JUMBO-VISMA

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VUELTA A ESPAÑA

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04.09.2014 @ 19:51 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Robert Gesink and Wilco Kelderman avoided the carnage in the finale of today's stage of the Vuelta a Espana. However, the former criticized the organizers for having a stage that he described as boring.

 

There's no such thing as an easy stage in a grand tour, but riders from Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM avoided danger in a crash-marred finale Thursday in stage 12 at the Vuelta a España.

After a relatively routine, 166km circuit course around Logroño, sprinters revving up for the finale crashed late in the stage, but fortunately, no one from Belkin was involved. John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) won his third stage of this Vuelta, and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) retained the overall lead.

Belkin's Robert Wagner was the man for the sprint, but was lucky to avoid a crash in the closing two kilometres that split up the bunch.

"Today was my chance, and I missed the chance. From now on, we are going uphill quite a bit, and it's no secret it will be really hard for me," Wagner said. "I wasn't in position for the sprint, but I can be happy that I was too far behind, because there was a big crash. It happened in the last two kilometres or so." 
 

The eight-lap urban circuit around Logroño in Spain's Rioja wine country was boring, but came as a welcome respite with the hardest part of the Vuelta waiting in the mountains of Asturias this weekend.


"It was a little bit hectic in the final and I couldn't help out the guys like I wanted to, but everything worked out OK, so it's one day closer to Santiago," said Laurens ten Dam. "Yesterday was full-gas from the beginning, so it was good that we took it a little bit easier today. The whole bunch was tired, so on a circuit like this, you normally get a race like this."

 

Team captain Robert Gesink finished safely in the bunch to retain ninth overall. Because the crash happened within 3km of the finish line, time differences were not taken into account for the GC.

"It went pretty good. It was a really, really boring stage. Eight laps, one guy in the breakaway, so I got to catch up with a lot of guys," Gesink said with a laugh. "Days like this, I don't know why they put them in the race. They are not that interesting for us. It was very dangerous in the end. There was a big crash, for us it's about not losing time. Sometimes you have to mix it up with the sprinters, it can be scary. It was another day done, and on to the next one."
 

The 69th Vuelta continues Friday with the 189km 13th stage from Belorado to Parque de Cabárceno. After a flat start, the stage kicks up with a short, but steep hilltop finale in Spain's Cantabria region.


"The 'soldiers' tried their best today. We were not involved in the crash, so that was good news. It was a really boring stage," said Sports Director Erik Dekker. 

"Friday is not a real mountain finish. I am not really sure what to expect tomorrow. It's flat for the first half, then a few climbs, then a difficult finish. I think 500m is really steep, then the last kilometre flattens out. Maybe it's a day for getting into the break."

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