Trek's Danny van Poppel wins his first career grand tour stage, overcoming a late-race flat tire and a disorganized sprint in stage 12.

The run-in to Lleida, Spain was anything but smooth for Danny van Poppel. But the Trek Factory Racing sprinter was undeterred by a late-race flat tire on Thursday. After 173 kilometers of racing, he emerged from a disorganized bunch sprint to win stage 12 of the Vuelta a España, his first-career grand tour stage victory.

“There are not so many chances for a sprinter. When you get a chance you need to get it. We pulled all day with the Giant guys; in the end it was a really nice sprint,” said van Poppel, 22. About the late-race flat, he said, “It was not really a puncture. It was slowly [going] down. I changed, and I came really good back. My teammates did a great job to bring me back.”

Top 10, stage 12

 

Top-10 overall

Five riders figured in the day’s breakaway: Miguel Angel Rubiano (Colombia), Jaco Venter (MTN-Qhubeka), Bert-Jan Lindeman (LottoNL-Jumbo), Maxime Bouet (Etixx-Quick-Step), and Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r La Mondiale).

With 15 kilometers left, the breakaway was only about 1:20 up the road. Giant-Alpecin, Trek Factory Racing, and Lampre-Merida were all driving the pace at the head of the peloton. Inside of the final 10 kilometers, the gap was less than one minute.

With three kilometers left, Gougeard attacked the break, but the move was quickly covered by Bouet. With 2km to go, the break clung to a 20-second lead.

Venter was next to go on the attack as the breakaway’s pace eased up for a moment. Gougeard gave chase in the final kilometer.

The disorganized peloton bore down on the remaining dregs of the break and swamped them in the final few hundred meters.

LottoNL-Jumbo took charge of the lead-out on a straight, gradual uphill finish stretch. Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge) jumped from third wheel to kick off the sprint. Van Poppel was ready, sitting on the South African’s wheel, and timed his jump perfectly to win by a wheel.

Astana’s Fabio Aru will carry the red leader’s jersey into the Vuelta’s 13th stage on Friday, a lumpy 178km run from Calatayud to Tarazona, which includes three categorized climbs.

Stage 12 results

 

General classification

 

Points classification

 

Mountains classification

 

Teams classification