ROTHERHAM’S Ben Swift struggled with the heat in yesterday’s fifth stage of the Vuelta a Espana as he was edged out during the group sprint at the end of the 168km ride around Logrono in the north of Spain.
Swift was tipped to contend for the win after a third place finish earlier in the race but could only come home in 21st position after not being able to keep with the pace at the front. However, the heat has been an issue throughout the race with Swift posting on Twitter: “That was hot, can feel myself cooking in this race.”
Swift’s Team Sky colleague Chris Froome remains one second off the lead as Spain’s Joaquim Rodriguez finished safely in the bunch. John Degenkolb of Argos-Shimano clinched the stage win on a photo finish as he powered through the final kilometre.
Daniele Bennati (Radioshack-Nissan) and Gianna Meersman (Lotto Belisol Team) were left stunned as the German emerged from the bunch sprint to claim a second stage win in five days.
Froome clung onto second place in the overall standings after navigating seven relatively flat laps of the 40km circuit through La Rioja province.
Alberto Contador of Team Saxo Bank remains in the third place, five seconds shy of his countryman Rodriguez.
Today’s stage covers the 175.4km between Tarazona and Jaca, over which riders must tackle two category three climbs in the mountains of Aragon.