Argos-Shimano rider John Degenkolb of Germany crosses the finish line to win the 10th stage of the Tour of Spain “La Vuelta” cycling race between Ponteareas and Sanxenxo, August 28, 2012. (REUTERS/Miguel Vidal)
By Alasdair Fotheringham
SANXENXO, Spain, Aug 28 (Reuters) – Germany’s John Degenkolb claimed his fourth victory out of four bunch sprints in the Tour of Spain on Tuesday’s rolling stage through the remote north-west province of Galicia.
After 190 kilometres of racing through quiet fishing villages, rugged pastureland and beaches packed with holidaymakers, the Argos-Shimano rider outpaced France’s Nacer Bouhanni and Italy’s Daniele Bennati at the top of a long, rising finishing straight in the resort of Sanxenxo.
Joaquim Rodriguez of Spain remains the overall leader for a seventh successive stage.
Waving four fingers to celebrate his Vuelta victories, Degenkolb told reporters he could envisage at least one more win and battling for the overall victory in the points jersey competition, which he leads by 28 points.
“Winning green (the color of the points competition jersey) is the objective, and if that means winning five or six stages of the Vuelta, I’ll have nothing to complain about,” the 23-year-old winner of 10 races this year told reporters.
“No question today, it was a hard last 300 to 400 meters, constantly uphill.
“But that rising finish suited me because I’m a rider with more power than speed. I was the strongest today.”
Rodriguez is not optimistic about his chances of retaining top spot after Wednesday’s 39.4-kilometre time trial.
He lost more than four minutes in the Vuelta’s 2010 time trial at Penafiel, as well as the overall lead, to Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali and more than six minutes to stage winner Peter Velits of Slovakia.
“It’s a tough route, hilly and technical, so that’s better for me,” Rodriguez said. “If I could have designed a time trial, that would have been it. But that doesn’t stop it being difficult for me, too.”
Britain’s Chris Froome, who is second overall at 53 seconds, added: “It’s definitely one for the climbers, it’s hilly with technical descents and we’ll have to be careful.
“It would be very different if it was 40 kilometers long and completely flat. As things stand, riders like Rodriguez won’t lose so much time.”
The Tour finishes on Sept. 9 in Madrid.