LOGRONO, Spain (AP) John Degenkolb of Germany timed his sprint perfectly to win the 12th stage of the Spanish Vuelta as Alberto Contador retained the overall lead on Thursday.
Degenkolb just beat Tom Boonen of Belgium and Jacopo Guarnieri of Italy to the line after a largely flat 166-kilometer (103-mile) race in and around Logrono.
Matthias Krizek broke free of the peloton in the first lap and established a four-minute lead, riding alone. Near the front of the following pack, Degenkolb positioned himself to stay in touch. With 12 kilometers to go, the peloton caught up with and overtook Krizek.
There was a pileup with less than two kilometers to go, and many riders had to pick themselves up and cross the finish line with cuts and bruises, but all of them received the same time as the peloton because they fell within the 3-kilometer limit for time penalties.
Alejandro Valverde stayed second and was not able to shorten Contador's 20-second overall lead, with Rigoberto Uran third, 1 minute, 12 seconds behind. Chris Froome was in touch in fourth, 1:24 behind.
Friday's stage is a 189-kilometer (117-mile) mountainous ride from Belorado to Obregon.
The 21-stage event ends in Santiago de Compostela in 10 days.