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Young Sbaragli Smashes the Best

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Aug 31, 2015 – Italian Kristian Sbaragli claimed his first Grand Tour victory in a sprint finish to Monday’s 10th stage of Spain’s Vuelta. The MTN Qhubeka rider beat the pre-stage favorite, Germany’s John Degenkolb, into second place with Spain’s Jose Joaquin Rojas third to win the 146.6km ride from Valencia to Castellon in a time of 3hr 12min 43sec.

AFP/Yuzuru Sunada

There were no major changes in the fight for the general classification so the Netherlands’ Tom Dumoulin maintains the red jersey by 57 seconds from Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez with Colombia’s Esteban Chaves two seconds further back in third. “I tried to get in front of Degenkolb because he is stronger and had passed me on other stages,” said Sbaragli.

“I have to take a risk to win and it is a dream for me to get the first win of my career.” Chris Froome, who is aiming to become just the third man to win the Tour de France and the Vuelta in the same year, remains 1min 18sec off the lead in eighth.

However, it wasn’t an easy day for his Team Sky team-mates as Nicholas Roche and Sergio Henao both suffered crashes. Roche, though, recovered to remain fourth in the overall standings.

Henao had been part of a 40-man breakaway group, but his presence forced Dumoulin’s Giant-Alpecin team to push the pace in the peloton to prevent the breakaway gaining too much ground.

With the peloton grouped together after the day’s major climb up the category two Alto del Desierto de Las Palmas, the stage seemed set for Degenkolb, who won four stages at last year’s Vuelta. Australian Caleb Ewan, winner of the fifth stage, had abandoned the race earlier in the day joining the likes of Nacer Bouhanni and Peter Sagan as potential threats already to Degenkolb to have already withdrawn.

However, Sbaragli held off a late push for the line by the German to seal a first win at the Vuelta for MTN Qhubeka to go with their debut win at the Tour de France last month thanks to Steve Cummings.

After the first rest day of the race on Tuesday, Wednesday’s daunting 138km 11th stage through Andorra includes six categorised climbs with the threat of rain making for an even more eventful stage than planned.

“It is maybe the hardest stage I am ever going to do,” said Dumoulin. It will be very hard, but I will try my best. I don’t mind the rain but hopefully it is not too bad.”

Final kilometers of Stage 10

Results Stage 10:
1. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN – Qhubeka 3:12:43
2. John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin
3. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team
4. Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal
5. José Gonçalves (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
6. Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
7. Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica GreenEdge
8. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge
9. Pieter Serry (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
10. Valerio Conti (Ita) Lampre-Merida

General Classification:
1. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin 38:34:56
2. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:00:57
3. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica GreenEdge 0:00:59
4. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sky 0:01:07
5. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:01:13
6. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:17
7. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
8. Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:18
9. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:47
10. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:52