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Vuelta a España 2014: Stage 12

Hello and welcome to live coverage from stage 12 of the Vuelta a Espana.

Welcome back to our live coverage from the Vuelta. After yesterday's win for Aru, we're back down to flat land racing, for what should be a day for the sprinters in Logroño.

You may remember that we were here in 2012, of course, when John Degenkolb (Giant Shimano) won the second of his five stages in the race. He's back, he's on form, and he's a favourite for today's stage.

138km remaining from 166km

You join us 28km into the stage and Matthias Krizek is our lone leader, with a gap of 5:20 over the peloton.

Sean Kelly:

"Even though it's a city circuit, the wind could still be a factor in this region. If it is blowing, the riders will quickly realise when it becomes a crosswind and will all want to be at the front at that point on the next lap. It'll make for aggressive racing."

 

Krizek, is riding in his first grand tour at the age of 26. He won a stage in the baby Giro a few year's back but has never won in the pro ranks.

A reminder of how things stand on GC heading into the race. Contador still leads with Valverde in second and Uran in third. You can catch up on all of yesterday's action, right here.

 

Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 40:26:56
2 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:20
3 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:01:08
4 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:20
5 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Team Katusha 0:01:35
6 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team 0:01:52
7 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:02:13
8 Winner Anacona Gomez (Col) Lampre-Merida 0:02:22
9 Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:02:55
10 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale 0:03:51

126km remaining from 166km

40km into the stage and the lone leader has over 8 minutes on the field.

Meanwhile Team GB has announced their long list for the Worlds. Wiggins, Froome, Dowsett, and most of the usual suspects are in there. For the full list, and quote brimming with PMA from Shane Sutton, click here.

He's crashed out of the race but Nairo Quintana is talking up his comeback too. The Movistar man crashed twice in two days but is on the mend now. Here's to a speedy recovery. You know the drill, it's all over here.

Tech time: And we have this huge gallery of images from Eurobike, all about the best TT bikes.

116km remaining from 166km

With the lead at just over nine minutes after 50km of racing FDJ and Giant Shimano have moved men to the front of the peloton.

101km remaining from 166km

The sprinters' teams injection of pace has brought Matthias Krizek's lead back to 7:25.

Today's stage is a circuit race from start to finish, which something of a rarity in grand tours (technical finishing circuits at the Giro d'Italia notwithstanding). Vuelta technical director Paco Giner has explained the thinking behind today’s stage. “Everybody needs to relax. It’s good to do that for this time of the year,” he said. “The season is long and there are many difficulties on the route. Sprinters deserve to have such a chance. People like it for the spectacle it delivers. Fiesta is part of La Vuelta.”

93km remaining from 166km

After two hours of racing, the average speed is a relatively relaxed 36kph. The sprinters' teams are happy to keep Krizek's lead hovering around the 7-minute mark.

93km remaining from 166km

After two hours of racing, the average speed is a relatively relaxed 36kph. The sprinters' teams are happy to keep Krizek's lead hovering around the 7-minute mark.

90km remaining from 166km

76km into the stage and the peloton have Krizek at 6:30.

Giant and FDJ both have a man on the front with Contador's Tinkoff Saxo lined out behind them.

As for the race leader, he's enjoying an energy bar as he looks to save as much energy as possible. He's ridden very well in the race so far but one question mark is whether he can maintain this for the next week and a half. He was off the bike with a broken leg a few weeks ago.

Krizek continues to lose time, his gap down to 5:30 with 76km to go.

The sprinters' teams continue to set the pace on the front of the bunch as we see Contador move back towards the front after some time back with his team car.

A few wheels behind our race leader, Valverde (in white) groups together with his teammates.

Krizek is starting to tighten up and his lead continues to drop. FDJ and Giant still have just the one man each on the front of the bunch though so the peloton's pace isn't too frantic.

The lone leader rises out of the saddle after he takes a corner, and is trying to keep the pace up but a few more seconds are chipped off his advantage.

It's two a piece between Bouhanni and Degenkolb in terms of sprint wins in this year's race. Don't forget Matthews is here too, as well as Sagan. The sprint is best suited to Degenkolb though, a previous winner on the exact same stage in 2012.

David Millar is riding the Vuelta this year. He's not made it into a major break yet but he's in the hunt for a stage. In this story, he suggests that the Worlds in Spain could be his final race as a pro.

55km remaining from 166km

Just over 55km to go and the gap is at 3:40.

Krizek has three laps to go and he should hold out until the final lap, the bunch taking it really easy as they take on a gentle climb.

A few more FDJ riders have started to mass near the front of the peloton as they start to organise a game plan for Bouhanni.

Katusha, and BMC are also starting to move up. The peloton have had a bit of day off today, so everyone will be fresh. It should make for an incredibly fast start.

FDJ have almost their entire team (Pinot abandoned yesterday) on the front, while Giant are yet to commit more than just one man.

43km remaining from 166km

Two laps to go and the gap to Krizek is at 3:40.

34km remaining from 166km

Into the last hour of racing as Krizek accelerates on a slight downhill section. He's trying to hold out for every second he can as the bunch start to line out behind him.

Still just the one man from Giant Shimano towards the front as FDJ continue to take up the challenge of setting the pace. Just under 30km to go and the gap is at 2:30.

FDJ have the peloton stretched out with Contador about 15th back.

Up ahead Krizek gets one last chance to take on fuel from the team car as he looks to complete an almost impossible mission.

26km remaining from 166km

The gap is down to two minutes as the Cannondale rider arches over his frame in order to save every second he can. He takes a swift glance over his right shoulder and then settles back down to the task at hand.

Lampre's lead out train (Ferrai) and BMC look to join FDJ at the front as Krizek comes over the finish line with one lap to go.

Just 20km to go for the Cannondale rider who is out of the saddle after every corner. He's putting in a huge effort. The peloton come over the finish line 1;23 down.

Although the bunch are familiar with the circuit there are some tight and technical corners to come. This is perhaps the last chance for the sprinters' in the race so we could also see some huge risks being taken.

18km remaining from 166km

18km to go and the gap is at 1:23.

The Cannondale car comes up to Krizek for the second time in about two minutes for another sticky bottle, just on an uphill section. Smart tactics.

Bouhanni has seen a few teammates drop off the pace, which is a bit surprising. 15km to go and the gap is at 1:16.

As Contador is moved to the front once more by his Tinkoff team.

Lampre are waiting for the right time to move to the front. FDJ down to their last man on the front of the peloton.

14km to go and Krizek has just 43 seconds left of his gap.

A few more Tinkoff comrades for Contador line out near the front and Valverde's team do the same.

It's almost all over for Krizek, who has just 11 seconds, 12km to go.

Caught. As Astana for Guardini line out at the front. FDJ are trying to come back into this as well.

It's the BMC team who now lead as more and more GC teams try and take control of the pace.

Under 10km to go and there's no real sign of Giant near the front.

Tinkoff lead, Sky and Astana close by with just 7.5km to go.

Bouhanni looks a little bit boxed in at the moment, he has a bit of work to do as his team get to work on the far right of the bunch.

And Giant appear on the right too, and are coming over the top at the moment with 4km to go.

Around a sweeping left hand bend and Tinkoff have Contador in fourth wheel.

It's as if they're trying to set Contador up for a sprint and Giant are struggling to take control.

Degenkolb has two men with him though and Sagan is close by too as BMC launch a rider. He's caught though. 2.2km to go.

Just over 1km to go but there are a couple of tough turns left.

And it's Lampre who take it up with Ferrari leading out the sprint.

Degenbolb is in the mix.

Boonen is there too and he's just on Degenkolb's right hand side.

But Degenkolb open up and he's going to take this from Boonen.

Degenkolb takes his third stage win of the race.

Furhter back and there was a cras. A number of riders held up or on the deck. Maes is one of them and I think Bouhanni was also help up.

Verona, Bewley were also in the crash as well.

Perfect late leadout from Giant Shimano, dropping off Degenkolb with less than 200m to go. Boonen tried to follow but couldn't come around the German.

Guarnieri was third, Sagan fourth.

1 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano 4:11:18
2 Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
3 Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Astana Pro Team
4 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
5 Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida
6 Yannick Martinez (Fra) Team Europcar
7 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
8 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek Factory Racing
9 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek Factory Racing
10 Guillaume Boivin (Can) Cannondale

General classification after stage 12
1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 44:38:56
2 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:24
3 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:01:12
4 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:24
5 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team 0:01:52
6 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Team Katusha 0:01:55
7 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:02:17
8 Winner Anacona Gomez (Col) Lampre-Merida 0:02:26
9 Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:02:59
10 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale 0:03:55

Thanks for joining us today. You can find our report, race photos, and results, right here.

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