CORDOBA (Spain) : Denmark's Magnus Cort Nielsen put the disappointment of being pipped on the previous stage behind him to sprint to victory on stage 12 of the Vuelta a Espana on Thursday.
The EF Education–Nippo rider, who led a breakaway until 200 metres from the stage 11 finish on Wednesday, sprinted to victory after a gruellingly hot 175km route from Jaen to Cordoba in Southern Spain, holding off a late attack from Andrea Bagioli of Deceuninck–Quick-Step.
The victory represents a fifth career stage win at the Vuelta for the Dane.
Race leader Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarche–Wanty–Gobert Materiaux) retained the red jersey after finishing in the peloton, who were awarded the same time as the stage winner.
"The team did amazing. They did a great job and today I was able to sit on the back, relax (for) many hours while the breakaway fought it out," Cort Nielsen said.
"I felt the legs from yesterday, but got over the two climbs and then Jens (Keukeleire) did an amazing job to deliver me for the sprint."
An eight-man breakaway formed early on that saw reigning champion Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) again crash but finish in the main group.
They led until the day's final climb - the Alto del 14per cent - with Maxim van Gils (Lotto Soudal) pushing on in search of a solo victory.
He was swallowed up by the chasing peloton two km from the summit and a group of four - Giulio Ciccone (Trek–Segafredo), Jay Vine (Alpecin–Fenix), Romain Bardet (Team DSM) and Sergio Henao (Qhubeka NextHash) - opened up a gap on the descent.
They were caught with just under one km to the line as Jens Keukeleire moved to the front, teeing up team mate Cort Nielsen for victory.
(Reporting by Joseph Walker; Editing by Ken Ferris)