Sprint finish earns Van Genechten maiden victory


Jonas van Genechten led a late sprint to snatch victory on stage seven of the Vuelta a Espana, marking a first Grand Tour win of the IAM Cycling rider's career.

Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) and Simon Clarke (Cannondale-Drapac) led by 19 seconds with four kilometres to go having mounted a late attack, but they faded badly and were caught with 100 metres to go.

That opened the door for Van Genechten to storm past as he held off the challenge of Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) with a stunning sprint to finish in three hours, 55 minutes and 44 seconds.

"At the Vuelta the chances of a victory are really small," said the Belgian. "You have to fight every stage and I tried on stage one and two.

"This was one of my goals and I tried to just stay with the bunch. This is the biggest win, for sure."

Darwin Atapuma (BMC) held on to his red jersey after finishing with the leaders on the 158.5km ride from Maceda to Puebla de Sanabria, although Valverde has now closed to within eight seconds.

The closing stages proved potentially costly for some riders, though, with a crash in the middle of the peloton leaving Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) nursing a cut to his shoulder.

Contador concedes it will be difficult to rescue his Vuelta chances, sitting 23rd in the general classification.

 "Someone hit me and that's why I came down," he said. "My left side feels bad but we'll see. It will be complicated from now on."