Madrid, Aug 31 (IANS) Nacer Bouhanni won the eighth stage of the Vuelta de Espana (Tour of Spain) cycle race when he took a sprint finish in Albacete.
The Frenchman, who rides for the FDJ team, took his second stage win of the race Saturday to add to his triumph on stage two. He beat German sprinter John Degenkolb, who had claimed the last two sprint finishes.
The 207-km stage between Baeza and Albacete was the last respite for the riders, before reaching the high mountains and always looked likely to produce a sprint finish. What should have been a straightforward ride in the sun was complicated by crosswinds, which split the main peloton and led to the formation of echelons. It was therefore vital for the race favourites and their teams to remain focussed to avoid being cut off and lose vital time. That nearly happened to Nairo Quintana (Movistar) as the winner of the Giro de Italia found himself cut off in the closing kilometres.
However, members of his team and also Giant-Shimano, who were working for Degenkolb, worked hard to bring him back into the main group and prevent a loss of time which would have almost certainly cost him any chance of winning the race.
As things stand the Colombian remains second, behind overall race leader, Alejandro Valverde, with Alberto Contador in third and Chris Froome fourth.
Sunday sees the race head north and the stage ends with a second category climb, followed by a hilltop finish on a first category climb up to Valdelinares on a day which will once again provide a test for the overall race favourites.Published 31 Aug 2014, 14:55 IST