Van Poppel wins 12th Spanish Vuelta stage, Aru leads overall
LLEIDA, Spain (AP) Danny Van Poppel of the Netherlands won the 12th stage of the Spanish Vuelta in a mass sprint for the finish line, while Fabio Aru remained in the red jersey on Thursday.
Van Poppel recovered well after repairing a tire 10 kilometers (six miles) from the end of the 173-kilometer (107-mile) mainly downhill ride from Andorra through the Pyrenees Mountains to Lleida.
Daryl Impey of South Africa was second, and Tosh Van der Sande of Belgium third, both on the same time as Van Poppel.
”When you’ve got the chance you’ve got to go for it,” Van Poppel said. ”In the end, it was a really nice sprint.”
His father Jean-Paul was also a sprint specialist, while his mother Leontien van der Liended, and his older brother Boy – who finished 153rd on Thursday – are also professional cyclists.
Van Poppel said the repair was inevitable: ”It wasn’t a puncture, but it was slowly going down, so I changed it, and my teammates did a great job to bring me back,” he said.
”I suffered a lot yesterday, and I really wanted to win today.”
John Degenkolb of Germany, who won four stages last year and none so far this year, tried hard to catch the lead sprinters but mistimed his charge, and banged his fist on the handlebars as he crossed the line.
Aru leads Joaquin Rodriguez of Spain overall by 27 seconds, while Tom Dumoulin of Netherlands was third, 30 seconds adrift.
Tour de France champion Chris Froome announced on Twitter on Thursday that he pulled out after breaking a bone in his right foot the day before.
He hit a barrier shortly after the start on Wednesday, and finished the stage, but dropped to 15th overall, more than seven minutes behind Aru.
The 13th stage on Friday is a 178-kilometer (111-mile) mountainous ride from Calatayud to Tarazona, including the category 1 Alto de Beraton summit.