photocrdits @ La Vuelta/ASO
Alexandre Geniez (AG2R La Mondiale) claimed the race honors in stage 12 of the Vuelta a Espana today, after the French rider edged out Dylan Van Baarle (Team Sky) in a furious sprint for the line followed by Bahrain-Merida’s Mark Padun, who rounded out the podium in third place.
Meanwhile, Jesus Herrada (Cofidis) rode himself into the overall race lead.
Herrada, who began today’s stage 5:45 down in the overall classification, crossed the finish a couple of minutes after Geniez to wrest the red leader’s jersey from Simon Yates.
The former Spanish national champion now leads the general classification by 3:22 over his British rival.
A large 18-rider breakaway group containing Geniez, Vincenzo Nibali (bahrain-Merida), Padun, Dylan Teuns (BMC Racing), Davide Formolo (Bora-Hansgrohe), Victor Campenaerts, Thomas De Gendt (both Lotto-Soudal), Dries Devenyns (Quick-Step Floors), Amanuel Gebregziabher (Dimenstion Data), Tiago Machado (Katusha-Alpecin), Van Baarle, Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo), Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates), Pablo Torres (Burgos-BH), Jonathan Lastra and Lluis Mas (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Herrada and Mikel Bizkarra (Euskadi-Murias), came to form after 10 kilometers of racing.
From there, the group continued to increase their gap throughout the day, which at one point extended to a massive 11-minute advantage over the peloton.
With 23 kilometers remaining, Padun, Brambilla, Formolo, and Campenaerts jettisoned their fellow breakaway companions, with no immediate response from the group.
However, Teuns, Van Baarle, Devenyns and Geniez eventually responded, later bridging their way to the quartet a short time later.
With just under 6 kilometers remaining, the lead group split again, with Brambilla, Van Baarle, Geniez and Devenyns losing contact on the short, final climb.
But, the chasers were able to rejoin the leaders during the final kilometer, after making up lost ground along the short descent.
Geniez was the first rider to open up his sprint, which saw a fierce challenge from Van Baarle who tried to close down his French rival during the last 200 meters, but to no avail.
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