Keukeleire wins 12th Vuelta stage, Quintana maintans lead

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Jens Keukeleire (Orica-BikeExchange) took his first grand tour stage win when he came out on top in a reduced bunch sprint on stage 12 of the Vuelta a Espana.

After four consecutive summit finishes, the riders faced another tough stage when they tackled the 193.2km from Los Corrales de Buelna to Bilbao on stage 12. After a flat start, the riders hit a category 1 climb at the 30km mark and then there was another category 3 climb to tackle before flat roads led to Bilbao. In the end, the riders did two laps of a 28.5km circuit that included the steep Alto El Vivero (4.2km, 8.5%) just 12.9km from the finish. From there, it was a downhill and flat run to the finish.

In a fast and aggressive race, Keukeleire dug deep to make it over the steep Alto El Vivero and then launched a long sprint to clearly beat Maxime Bouet (Etixx-QuickStep) and Fabio Felline (Trek) in the final dash to the line. Despite an attack from Alebrto Contador (Tinkoff), there were no changed to the top of the GC.

Nairo Quintana finished safely in the bunch and so retained his lead with a 54-second advantage over Chris Froome (Sky). He will try to stay safe in tomorrow’s stage which is another very lumpy affair. After a relatively flat start, the riders will tackle four category 3 climbs in quick succession. The final top comes with 50.2km to go and from there, the riders will follow lumpy roads to the finish in Urdaz.

Vuelta a Espana 2016 – stage 12 results (Los Corrales de Buelna – Bilbao):

1 Jens Keukeleire (Orica-BikeExchange)

4:31:43

2 Maxime Bouet (Etixx – Quick-Step)

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3 Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo)

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4 Kristian Sbaragli (Dimension Data)

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5 Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana)

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6 Pello Bilbao (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA)

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7 Jan Bakelants (AG2R)

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8 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

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9 Silvan Dillier (BMC)

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10 Mathias Frank (IAM)

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11 Rudy Molard (Cofidis)

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12 Maxime Monfort (Lotto Soudal)

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13 Pavel Kochetkov (Katusha)

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14 Ben Hermans (BMC)

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15 Marcel Wyss (IAM)

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16 Esteban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange)

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17 Pierre-Roger Latour (AG2R)

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18 Egor Silin (Katusha)

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19 George Bennett (LottoNl-Jumbo)

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20 Christopher Froome (Sky)

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General classification after stage 12:

1 Nairo Quintana (Movistar)

46:53:31

2 Christopher Froome (Sky)

+54”

3 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

+01’05”

4 Esteban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange)

+02’34”

5 Alberto Contador (Tinkoff)

+03’08”

6 Leopold Konig (Sky)

+03’09”

7 Simon Yates (Orica-BikeExchange)

+03’25”

8 Michele Scarponi (Astana)

+03’34”

9 David De La Cruz (Etixx – Quick-Step)

+03’45”

10 Samuel Sanchez (BMC)

+03’56”

11 Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Drapac)

+05’03”

12 Daniel Moreno (Movistar)

+05’38”

13 Davide Formolo (Cannondale-Drapac)

+05’44”

14 Sergio Pardilla (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA)

+05’55”

15 Peter Kennaugh (Sky)

+06’30”

16 Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2R)

+06’59”

17 Pierre-Roger Latour (AG2R)

+07’50”

18 George Bennett (LottoNl-Jumbo)

+07’53”

19 Ben Hermans (BMC)

+08’22”

20 Darwin Atapuma (BMC)

+09’22”

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