Froome still second in the Vuelta

Chris Froome remained second after a crash-blighted seventh stage of the Vuelta a Espana, as John Degenkolb took a hat-trick in this year’s event.

The German won a bunch sprint ahead of Liquigas-Cannondale’s Elio Viviani and Orica-GreenEDGE’s Allan Davis.

Joaquim Rodriguez kept his 10-second lead over Froome, while Alberto Contador is 36 seconds down in third.

Froome’s Team Sky stayed in the lead of the general classification, one minute and nine seconds ahead of Rabobank.

Argos-Shimano rider Degenkolb strengthened his hold on the sprinter’s green jersey following his

third stage wins in seven days.

The journey from Huelva to Alcaniz in north-eastern Spain was an unhappy one for Team Sky’s Rigoberto Uran, as he was one of six competitors to be taken down in an accident that dropped the Colombian from an overall fourth position in the individual standings to 12th.

Although Froome finished seven places behind Rodriguez in 23rd, the status quo was maintained at the top as the pair both crossed the finish line together in the peloton.

The cyclists face a mountainous 174km eighth leg on Saturday, with the 21-stage Vuelta set to conclude on Sunday 9 September in Madrid.

Stage seven results:

1. John Degenkolb (Germany/Argos) three hours 48 minutes 30 seconds

2. Elia Viviani (Italy/Liquigas) +0″

3. Allan Davis (Australia/Orica) +0″

4. Nacer Bouhanni (France/FDJ) +0″

General classification standings:

1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain/ Katusha) 25:53:04″

2. Chris Froome (Britain/ Team Sky) +10″

3. Alberto Contador (Spain/ Saxo Bank) +36″

4. Robert Gesink (Netherlands/ Rabobank) +54″

5. Alejandro Valverde (Spain/ Movistar) +54″

6. Nicolas Roche (Ireland/ AG2R) +1:04″

7. Bauke Mollema (Netherlands/ Rabobank) +1:12″

8. Daniel Moreno (Spain/ Katusha) +1:17″

9. Juan Jose Cobo (Spain/ Movistar) +1:34″

10. Sergio Henao (Colombia/ Team Sky) +1:39″

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