After having waited for ten days, the sprinters were able to contest victory again on Wednesday, on the Vuelta a Espana. In the end of a long Andalusian stage, covered with a front wind, Australia’s Kaden Groves eventually won the bunch sprint. Fabian Lienhard tried to get involved but just arrivedoutside the top-20 after being slowed down in the last seconds. On Thursday, stage 12 will finish with the long ascent of Peñas Blancas. 

From the area surrounding Murcia, the peloton headed south on Wednesday to reach Cabo de Gata and the Gulf of Almeria. Some 191 kilometres were on the day’s menu, which did not include any real climb and therefore suited the sprinters. As a proof of it, the breakaway was not even contested. The first three riders who tried to go away managed to take the lead: Jetse Bol (Burgos-BH), Vojtech Repa (Kern Pharma) and Joan Bou (Euskaltel-Euskadi). The peloton let the gap increase to four minutes before starting the chase, but it was done at a slow pace since the riders covered the whole stage with a headwind. Up front, Jetse Bol was the last man standing but was caught about twenty-five kilometres from the finish. The expected bunch sprint could then happenwithout a hitch, and Kaden Groves was able to claim his first victory in a Grand Tour.

There will be hard fights for the breakaways”,Philippe Mauduit

“It was the first real transition stage of this Vuelta,” said Philippe Mauduit. “With only three fugitives, the sprinters’ teams had no trouble controlling. There was just a small acceleration in the last ten kilometres to prepare for the sprint. This quite calm scenario was a good thing for us. We’ve had a few ill riders in the last 2-3 days, and thatallowed them to recover. We were aiming to get a placing with Fabian, but he couldn’t stay with Miles and couldn’t take part in the sprint. Overall, there was no stake for us. We just needed to recover and not to spend useless energy as the weekend will be toughThursday, the riders will ride alongthe Mediterranean coast for 192 kilometres before tackling thefinal ascent of Peñas Blancas (19km at 6.5%). “In the coming days, there will be hard fights for the breakaways, foreseesPhilippe. “We hope we will manage to take a few of them, but it won’t be easy because there aren’t many stages with climbs at the start. The battles should be fierce and intense.