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Martin and Roche sit tight as Sagan doubles up

Posted 01 September 2011



Dan Martin and Nicolas Roche rode well not to get seriously caught out by a series of splits in the peloton as stage 12 of the Vuelta á Espana came down to a bunch sprint won by Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale).

High speeds and a tight left hand corner onto the finishing straight opened up a number of gaps in the peloton although both Irish riders had little to worry after finishing towards the head of the race.

Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) came in just five seconds behind in a group containing race leader Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) while Martin (Garmin-Cervelo) was part of a smaller group just 11 seconds down.

Sagan timed his second stage win to perfection jumping from one lead-out train to the next before denying Daniele Bennati (Leopard-Trek) the opportunity to capitalise upon a superb lead out from Fabian Cancellara.

The Slovakian got the jump on the Italian and had the legs to hold off John Degenkolb (HTC-Highroad) in the drag for the line leaving Bennati to content himself with third.

The stage was animated by a four-man break made up of Adam Hansen (Omega Pharma Lotto), Rusian Pydgorny (Vacansoleil), Jose Roldan (Andalucia-Caja Granada) and Luis Mate (Cofidis).

They held a lead of nine minutes over the third category climb of the Alto de Moscosso after 55 kilometres but saw that halve by the time they crested the Alto Porte Caldeas after another 27 kilometres.

Hansen attacked the leaders as their advantage fell to two minutes with 33 kilometres to go. The move marked the beginning of the end for the escapees, all of whom were reined in just seven kilometres from the finish.

The Leopard-Trek and HTC-Highroad teams wrestled to control the build up to the sprint and with Cancellara pulling for Bennati it appeared that the Italian was on track for victory as the race hurtled onto the finishing straight.

Sagan though manoeuvred himself perfectly before unleashing the sprint which put a bike length into Degenkolb as the tiring Bennati held on for third spot.

Roche remains 18th in the GC with a deficit of 3’50” to Wiggins while Martin holds 23rd with a deficit of 4’44”.

The duo will have another opportunity to repair that as the race returns to the mountains for stage 13 with the 158.2 kilometre stage from Sarria to Ponferrada featuring five categorised climbs before the flat run to the finish.


2011 Vuelta á Espana

Stage 12: Ponteareas – Pontevedra, 167.3 kilometres

1.  Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale    4:03:01        
2.  John Degenkolb (Ger) HTC-Highroad 0:00:01        
3.  Daniele Bennati (Ita) Leopard Trek             
4.  Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre - ISD             
5.  Juan José Haedo (Arg) Saxo Bank Sungard             
6.  Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team             
7.  Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team             
8.  Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank Cycling Team             
9.  Nikolas Maes (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team             
10.  Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale

27. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale at 5 seconds
47. Dan Martin (Irl) Garmin-Cervelo at 11 seconds

General classification after stage 12:

1.  Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 46:53:47        
2.  Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:07        
3.  Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe) Pro Team Astana 0:00:09        
4.  Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:10        
5.  Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard Trek 0:00:19        
6.  Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:00:36        
7.  Maxime Monfort (Bel) Leopard Trek 0:01:06        
8.  Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Geox-TMC     0:01:27        
9.  Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Team RadioShack 0:01:53        
10.  Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Team RadioShack 0:02:00   

18. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale at 3 minutes, 50 seconds
23. Dan Martin (Irl) Garmin-Cervelo at 4 minutes, 4 seconds

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