Vuelta – Two from Two for Degenkolb


After a battle in the crosswinds, John Degenkolb won the war for the stage to make it two from two – Aussie Michael Matthews still in leader’s jersey

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Vuelta – Two from Two for Degenkolb

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After finally getting his name on the winner’s sheet yesterday, John Degenkolb (Giant Shimano) made it two stage wins in two on stage five. John powered up the tough finishing ramp after a strong lead-out from Koen De Kort to take his second stage of the race. With the stage win, John also moves into the lead in the Point’s classification.

Stage 5. Degenkolb wins

Win number two in this years race for John Degenkolb. Photo:  La Vuelta a España 2014

Orica GreenEdge rider Michael Matthews retained the Red race leader’s jersey finishing in the front group.

The stage once again rolled out under searing temperatures but after a few days to acclimatise, the riders were slightly more accustomed to the heat and constant battle to stay hydrated. Two riders attacked to form the day’s breakaway and behind them the chase was fairly steady.

When the two became just one mid-way through the stage things got even steadier in the peloton until Tinkoff Saxo decided to hit it in the crosswinds and with help from Movistar, split the race and put a few GC contenders in trouble. After the race split, the peloton broke into three distinct groups, with Degenkolb making the front selection together with Koen and Tobias.

Stage 5 Breakaway. Martin-Lightart

Photo:  La Vuelta a España 2014. The early break led by Tony Martin.

The front group swelled as the second group battled back but the third never saw the front again. The situation didn’t change much in the final stages of the race as the front bunch raced towards the finish in Ronda, onto the uphill drag to finish off on the drag to the finish of 3% (gradient).

Degenkolb said after his victory “The guys worked hard today when it split to bring Warren back up to the front and also Tobias pulled all day then was in the front split to keep us out of the wind until the climb. At the end we made the best out of the situation with just three of us. I had to improvise after nearly missing a corner. I lost the wheel and had to close the gap but luckily I was strong enough to still sprint”.

“The atmosphere is very relaxed now and it’s good not just for mine but also the team’s confidence. I’m looking forward now to helping Warren tomorrow and getting him in the best position for what will be a steep, hard finish. It will be role reversal, me getting bottles and ice for the guys.”

Stage 5 Tinkoff-Saxo

Photo:  La Vuelta a España 2014

Tinkoff Saxo Split the Race
The Tinkoff-Saxo team (above) en mass attacked with over 30 kilometers to the finish line in Ronda in an attempt to split the peloton and gap rivals to Alberto Contador who explained “The team needed more information about, who was behind and who wasn’t. We didn’t know who had been left behind. I think that we managed to leave a few interesting riders behind in the initial part, but then they came back and we wasn’t aware of this”.

“There was a bit of confusion, but well, we tried. We have to be aware and continue to be well placed in the peloton, because anything can happen on stages like this. My condition is as I expected. I need more days of competition, more training, because these days are demanding if you haven’t had a good approach to the race. But we’ll see how I am tomorrow.”

Another day in Red for Aussie Matthews
“It was a difficult day all round,” the 24-year-old race leader from Orica GreenEdge said. “I didn’t expect the cross winds to come like that so the team did a really good job to get me onto the bunch at the bottom of that climb but from then on I was totally pinned. I just did my best to be up there in the final but I didn’t have the kick in the finish that I would have liked to have had.”

Chris Froome meanwhile continued his rise up the general classification after winning a two second bonus and now sits in 13th place overall as the race gets closer to the mountains.

Stage 5 Michael Matthews

Michael Matthews. Photo:  La Vuelta a España 2014

1. Degenkolb John, Team Giant-Shimano 4:41:47
2. Bouhanni Nacer,
3. Hofland Moreno, Belkin-Pro Cycling Team
4. Stuyven Jasper, Trek Factory Racing
5. Martens Paul, Belkin-Pro Cycling Team
6. Mondory Lloyd, AG2R La Mondiale
7. Gilbert Philippe, BMC Racing Team
8. Reynes Mimo Vicente, IAM Cycling
9. Sbaragli Kristian, MTN – Qhubeka
10. Ferrari Roberto, Lampre-Merida

11. Matthews Michael, Orica GreenEDGE
15. Froome Christopher, Team Sky
16. Kennaugh Peter, Team Sky
18. Valverde Alejandro, Movistar Team
19. Evans Cadel, BMC Racing Team
113. Craven Dan, Team Europcar
125. Rowe Luke, Team Sky
156. Yates Adam, Orica GreenEDGE
198. Millar David, Garmin Sharp 13:51

Matthews Michael, Orica GreenEDGE

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