Germany’s John Degenkolb survived another sweltering day in the saddle to claim his second consecutive stage victory at the Vuelta a España on Wednesday:
The day’s 180km ride to Ronda was animated by a two man break of Tony Martin and Pim Ligthart.
But after Martin suffered mechanical problems Lotto-Belisol’s Ligthart found himself going it alone.
With 33 kilometre remaining the break was over and the sprinters’ teams were lining themselves up for the final mad dash for victory.
The BMC team led the peloton into the final kilometre in an attempt to set up Philippe Gilbert, but in vein.
Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni tried his luck on the inside only to be squeezed out by his rivals.
Degenkolb emerged from the centre of the peloton and in an impressive show of power burst past all to take the win – again.
Despite his obvious frustration a determined Bouhanni managed to hold on to take second place while Dutch rider Moreno Hofland rounded off the stage podium.
Australian Michael Matthews failed to feature in the sprint but stretched his overall race lead to 13 seconds over Colombia’s Nairo Quintana – securing another day in red.