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“There's no reason to be frustrated about Adam’s result. I'm always happy when he wins a race. I wonder why everybody asks me that question. But I also know I just have the talent to win. That’s what I've been...

Photo: Sirotti


25.08.2016 @ 22:42 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Simon Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) continued his excellent comeback following his short doping suspension when he soloed to his first grand tour stage win on the sixth day of the Vuelta a Espana. After his team had taken the initiative on the first climb, the Brit made a strong attack on the final small climb and then dropped Daniel Moreno (Movistar) to take the win and move into top 10 overall. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) beat Fabio Felline (Trek) in the sprint from a six-rider chase group while Darwin Atapuma (BMC) retained the lead.


We have gathered several reactions.


Simon Yates: I know I have the talent to win

Ordiziako Klasika winner Simon Yates unleashed a blistering late attack to win stage six of the Vuelta a Espana today after some strong teamwork from Orica-BikeExchange instigated the intense chase of the breakaway.


The first Grand Tour stage win for the 24-year-old Briton was beautifully executed. After following an attack by Dani Moreno (Movistar) in the closing kilometres Yates took the initiative and dropped his competitors as he accelerated away to a superb solo victory.


”The team did some great work in the beginning and set things up really well for me,” said Yates. ”We wanted to go in there and try to make a hard race. There were lots of twists and turns in the finale, but I managed to take my opportunity and I’m very happy with the result.


”The roads were pretty difficult there at the end but fortunately I timed my attack to perfection, it was a really hot day but it worked out very well for us in the end.


“I'm very happy to come back and win this. I worked extremely hard for this. I just want to enjoy this moment. I trained extremely hard during this period. I trained really hard during this period. I didn't really lose anything if I'm honest. I didn't expect anything else.


“In the beginning, we tried to make it hard, knowing it was super technical, twisty with bad conditions. We first wanted to make it a hard race and to surprise a few teams. I think we did pretty well in making it an extremely hard race. Then I managed to attack at exactly the right moment.


“There's no reason to be frustrated about Adam’s result. I'm always happy when he wins a race. I wonder why everybody asks me that question. But I also know I just have the talent to win. That’s what I've been doing. I managed to be patient. I'm not stressed or anything about my past results. They are not so bad for a young guy. I'm just happy to continue my progression. I've been slowly progressing since I turned professional and this is kind of a step up.


“During the stage, obviously we had a great plan in the beginning. And when we were in the final stages of the race, Esteban spoke to me and said I could win the stage, that it was a good stage for me. It's good when your leader encourages you to go and win. He's a great guy and we get on very well.  In the finale, we saw that a lot of guys were tired from what we did in the beginning and I wanted to capitalise on that move and give it everything to win.


“I won by instinct. In the final, you could see a lot of the guys were tired and that was because of what we did in the beginning. I just wanted to make the most of my opportunities. Once I saw I had the gap, I wanted to capitalize on that move and I did everything to stay clear.”


The stage win by Yates sees him move into tenth on the general classification ahead of tomorrow’s stage seven with Esteban Chaves still in fifth place, 38seconds down on race leader Darwin Atapuma (BMC).


Sport director Neil Stephens praised the superb performance of Yates and the team.


”Fantastic result,” said Stephens. ”We’d done a detailed reconnaissance of the stage beforehand and we knew that it was going to be difficult, but you can never be sure what the other teams are going to do. So we decided to go on the front foot and liven things up.


”It wasn’t really the plan for Simon (Yates) to attack but the decision was made by the guys on the road and as the situation progressed we wanted to try and nullify the threat of the other teams and it ended up being a fantastic effort and win from Simon.


“It was a great team performance and the boys worked very hard but they also raced with intelligence and knew exactly when to ease off which proved to be important for the finale.”


Luis Leon Sanchez: I thought I was sprinting for the

“Yesterday fourth, today second,” said Luis Leon Sanchez. “I’m getting closer to victory, I hope it will come soon.


“Every stage the peloton is going very fast. I hope to recover at best and try to win a stage.


 “It was a crazy finish, I didn’t know who was at the front. I thought I was sprinting for the win but when I saw the scoreboard I realized I was second. It’s an ugly feeling but I have to think I was close and there’s a lot of Vuelta ahead.


“ I think I made the acceleration at the right time because I had great legs after the tough slope. The Movistar pace really hurt and the Orica rider played it perfectly.


“For us it wasn’t that good, but we are still in the first week. We had bad luck with Miguel Ángel [López] heading home but we have to keep on trying. As a team we have to be great as we won the Giro and we were fighting at the Tour with Fabio Aru. Here we have to do the best we can.


“When Orica started pulling I was wondering if they wanted to play the Chaves card or they were working for Gerrans, but they finally did the right choice. It was a beautiful stage to see.”


The Spanish rider finished second. It was also a good race for Andrey Zeits who starred in a long breakaway caught a few kilometers from the finish.


Miguel Angel Lopez abandons

Astana’s Miguel Angel Lopez had to throw in the towel after his crash in stage three


"Miguel Angel Lopez’s abandonment is a bad shot for the whole team,” commented sport director Dmitri Sedoun. “But it is part of the risks of this work.


“Despite his luck, today we still got a good result with Luis Leon and this bodes well for the next stages.”


The team has Michele Scarponi in 16th at 2.17.


Fabio Felline: If I keep this sensation, the win will come 

Fabio Felline crossed the line for third place and pounded his handlebars. The hilly finish of the 163-kilometer stage six suited him and he has shown in the first week of the Vuelta a Espana that his lengthy layoff to injury is fully behind him, but the win, once again, eluded him.


Felline had jumped out of the peloton with just over a kilometer to go, and although he caught a trio just ahead, towing two riders for company, Simon Yates (Orica BikeExchange) had created enough of a gap with an earlier attack to seal the win.


Felline arrived to the final meters with five others. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) pulled away on the rising gradient to the line to take second on the stage as Felline followed in third.


"Yates was really strong in the last hill, and when a rider wins like this I have to say chapeau, and I cannot be angry," explained Felline, frustrated to miss another opportunity for the win, but happy with his form. "I am disappointed, but every time I want to look at what is positive, and today I can say I felt good. Every day, if I keep this sensation, maybe I can arrive with the victory. It's not finished."


It was a fast and furious start to the sixth stage that had riders itching to try their luck from a breakaway. When 10 men finally created a gap after an hour had been raced and the peloton relaxed, Laurent Didier made a tremendous effort to bridge into the escape group.


Didier continued with the breakaway until the climbs at race end exploded the group. His effort permitted Trek-Segafredo to sit back and await the tough finale, allowing Riccardo Zoidl and Haimar Zubeldia to save energy and put their efforts in supporting Felline in the last grueling uphill kilometers.


"It was a really hard day," continued Felline. "Hard because of the profile and hard because of the heat. But we raced it as a team: from the car I was given all the information necessary to know what to expect in the race, and with the team I had great support. In the finale, Haimar and Ricci gave me bottles and kept me in the front. They gave me a great support."


"I have a team here, and this has been very nice to see," echoed Director Dirk Demol. "They help each other, they communicate over the radio, and they push each other. In the beginning, it was really hectic, a lot of breakaways, and it was a 54-55km/h average. Everybody of the team was trying to jump in the break because I wanted us to be represented if there was a bigger group. We had to be involved, unlike the other days, and Laurent made it. Riccardo recovered really well after his bad crash yesterday, and I was surprised. He was there in the finale to help, as was Haimar.


Frustrated Ben Hermans: The motorbike helped Yates in his attack

Stage 6 of the Vuelta a Espana saw Ben Hermans finish in fourth place in a tricky finale and Darwin Atapuma hold on to his red jersey.


BMC Racing Team controlled the race for the majority of the stage, while up the front the breakaway started to disperse when individual riders attacked.


The peloton tackled a category 2 climb and three uncategorized climbs on the run in to the finish, which is where the breakaway was reeled in rider by rider.


Simon Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) launched his winning solo move with 4km to go, and Ben Hermans attacked from the General Classification group to launch his chase, finishing in fourth place.


Atapuma finished in the main group to keep his red jersey for a third day and maintain his 28 second lead on the General Classification.


Ben Hermans said:


“I was feeling great all day. It was a perfect race for me as we did a hard first 50km before the breakaway went. Orica-BikeExchange started the final really early! So that made the race super hard. I still felt good on the final 2km climb so I gave it a chance. Coming from behind I had a bigger speed and wanted to jump across to Simon Yates and Daniel Moreno (Movistar Team) but I was blocked a moment and had to brake and restart my jump so I just couldn’t make it. I thought it was still possible to close the gap with two guys. Obviously Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling) wasn’t pulling but Moreno didn’t either. So I had no chance and some guys came back to us in the end.


"I waited a little but too much to attack and I was 50 metres short to catch Simon Yates. He timed his attack perfectly, just behind the motorbike and it killed me. I need a little bit of luck to win in a Grand Tour. In previous days I was stronger than Yates and today he won. Orica led an impressive tempo, only half the peloton resisted. It was very hard for 80 km and it wore us all out. But I still have some power left for the finish. It's a missed opportunity.


“Of course my legs give me confidence. That’s also why I try to stay up there with out leaders. It’s always good for your head too to finish in the front.”


Darwin Atapuma: I deserve to be in this position

Darwin Atapuma said:


“The stage today was quite hard, especially with the heat and at the beginning we had some climbs and descents. The team did a really good job to keep me well-positioned and keep the breakaway at a manageable position. The final part of the stage was really nervous and there were a lot of attacks. But I was always there so I was confident that I would keep the red jersey for another day.


“I’m looking at the red jersey day by day and enjoying the moment. I don’t know exactly how long I can keep the jersey but for however long it lasts I’ll keep enjoying the moment. The team has really been doing great work to keep the jersey on my shoulders and I’m really grateful for their support.”

“At the moment, I am at the best possible place in the classification. I’m happy. I’m enjoying the moment. I think the team deserves that and I do as well. It was a long, tricky day, but the team worked really well to help me to keep the red jersey. In the descent, 15km from the finish, Philippe [Gilbert] crashed. I was in his wheel and, luckily, I didn’t go to the ground as well.”


Kenny Elissonde surprises: I am a climber, not a sprinter

Kenny Elissonde (FDJ) was 5th. He said:


"The outcome is a bit of a surprise. I did everything to go in the break. I couldn't but eventually I finished 5th, it's not so bad! There were not a lot of us left in the last climb. Luis Leon Sanchez attacked from the top, I followed him but I'm not a sprinter, just a climber. I'm in shape, I'm waiting for the mountains but I must stay a little bit more focused because I do the beginning of the stages, and also the end. I must just find a precise goal and hope it will work out."


Alexandre Geniez looks forward to ’hellish’ finish on Saturday

Alexandre Geniez (FDJ) retained the polka-dot jersey. He said:


"As far as my sensations go, it was not worse than yesterday but when I saw the size of the gruppetto, I realised lots of riders are tired. I hung out at the start but since I had nothing to hope for and since the heat doesn't do me any good, I'm going to take it easy in the next two days, that should be a little more relaxed. And then there's a hell of a finish to look forward to on Saturday!"


Alejandro Valverde: If Moreno hadn’t gone, they would have killed us with attack

Sacrifice without benefit. The Movistar Team spent the final third of the demanding stage six in La Vuelta, 160km from Monforte de Lemos to Luintra, with a fast opening hour, temperatures peaking up to 35ºC and plenty of climbing in the last 80k, pushing hard in search for a stage win with Alejandro Valverde. However, a marvellous Simon Yates (OBE) timed his efforts perfectly on the last ascent, Pombar, not rated, and make the final try by Dani Moreno fruitless, the Madrilian having to content himself with 6th at 21" from the Briton.


Erviti, Sutherland, Herrada, Castroviejo, Fernández and a sensational José Joaquín Rojas relentlessly pursued solo leader Omar Fraile (DDD) and subsequent lone attacker Matthias Frank (IAM), who reached the last climb with 40" at the 6km-to-go banner. As Dani Moreno started the Blues' decisive effort, the race situation suggested him to go on his own, so other teams would feel forced to take the lead of an eventual pursuit.


Yates' action, though, left Valverde, without a win today - 8th, at 29" - yet the Spanish superstar remains 2nd overall - 28” behind Atapuma (BMC) - as Nairo Quintana conserves his 4th place (+38”). La Vuelta will leave Galicia on Friday, heading towards Puebla de Sanabria in Zamora (159km), before the mountains come back in full force on Saturday with the grueling La Camperona ascent in León.


Alejandro Valverde said:


“Eventually we couldn't win, even if we tried so hard. We took so much time pushing and in the end, the two of us, Nairo and myself, were a bit alone, something logical when you put so much on the table. The plan was obviously contesting the stage with me, but once I saw Dani was pushing alone on the penultimate climb, 5km from the finish, I told him to attack and go after Frank and try to win the stage himself. Having only him to take command of the group until the end - it just wasn't feasible, they would kill us with attacks. Yates, unfortunately, was stronger. It was a hard one.


”Nairo? He's here to do what he's thought to do, we couldn't put him to work there. I had a good chance today, but... All in all, the team has shown again to be doing well, we got through another day in good overall position, and that's what will count at the end”.


Mathias Frank: I am here for a stage win, not the GC

Mathias Frank had been in the break all day, and still secured a strong 7th place in a stage where there was hardly a flat meter of road.  Striking out solo with 17 kilometers to the finish, Frank was finally passed by stage winner Simon Yates (Orica BikeExchange) with less than four kilometers to go to the finish.


“I really believed I could win, and I will try my luck again,” he said “We figured that he breakaway would have a good chance of making it to the finish today. And I wasn’t missing too much to have been the winner. I felt very good.


”When I attacked to strike out on my own, I really gave it everything I had. The problem was that the peloton split up and the guys chasing me were fresher and faster. Under those types of conditions, it was really impossible to take it all the way to the end.


"I really thought I could win. But the final part was slightly uphill and it was super hard. The peloton started chasing full gas and didn't leave me a chance.


“I want to win a stage. I gave everything today. I'm going to try again. The legs are good and that's the main good news from this stage. But when I saw that in the 2nd category climb the Orica started to pull, I knew it would be hard to go all the way. I wanted to give it one last shot, but maybe from not too far out, because they were going all out.


"I tried to give it all, but then Yates came past, that's how it is. I had good legs and that’s the positive thing.


"I think we could finally show the potential of this team. We have a strong team with good guys. We had a win in the Giro, a stage in the Tour and we want to get at least one here.


”Even if I feel a touch disappointed, in the end I am confident for the rest of the race. I intend to find another opening; I came here to win a stage, not go for the general classification.”


Marcel Wyss added:


“The motorcycle covering the race for tv greatly helped out the guys chasing. Throughout the stage, it was positioned only a few meters ahead of the first riders in the pack, and they were able to enjoy a bit of a slipstream. But that really is nothing new. But it is not fair, since it is a disadvantage for the attackers.”


 Eddy Seigneur, directeur sportif for IAM Cycling, accompanied by Marcello Albasini and Mario Chiesa, said:


“Only a little bit was missing in order to see Mathias Frank take the stage victory, which would meet the team’s goal for this Vuelta. Frank, our team leader, fought till the end, and fulfilled the game plan that we had talked about at the team meeting in the morning.  Nothing ventured nothing gained and here he gained about twenty seconds. "


Simon Clarke: My plan was to go for the sprint

Cannondale toad captain Simon Clarke rounded out the top ten on the sixth stage of the Vuelta on Thursday. The Australian finished 29-seconds down on stage winner Simon Yates (ORICA-BikeExchange). Team leader Andrew Talansky finished on the same time as Clarke to jump two spots on the general classification. With nearly a week of racing done, Talansky is now in sixth place, 2:13 behind race leader Darwin Atapuma (BMC). Davide Formolo also saw a two-spot gain overall, slotting into 18th place.


“Today was a tricky day,” said Clarke. “The first half of the stage was pretty straightforward but at the top of the category three climb, we turned on to a very small road and that was a crucial point. From there on, it was very important to ride in a good position and be near the front.”


Cannondale-Drapac managed to do both with relative ease.


“The team was great putting Andrew in the front for that corner,” noted Clarke. “The rest of us managed to maintain position and navigate safely through the tricky corners and small roads.”


Clarke had his eyes on small kicker on the run-in to the line.


“There was small kicker from 5.5km to 3km to go,” Clarke said. “I didn’t have the legs to attack, but my plan was to get over the climb and line it up for the sprint. I did that. Unfortunately, there were seven guys up the road in front of me, but it was a good effort.”


No major injuries for Bart De Clecq after late crash at the Vuelta

Bart De Clercq crashed during the finale of the sixth Vuelta stage. With eight kilometres to go some riders in front of him moved up to the left in a corner and he hit the railing. The Lotto Soudal rider has abrasions and cuts on the right side of his body. His elbow needed to be stitched. Despite his injuries he could control the damage, finishing 58 seconds after stage winner Simon Yates.


At the moment of his crash De Clercq was riding in the group of GC riders, together with teammates Maxime Monfort and Tosh Van der Sande. Before all of this happened, Gert Dockx had been part of the break of the day together with ten other riders. Tosh Van der Sande was eleventh, finishing in a group at 29 seconds together with Maxime Monfort.


”Pfffwief 11th in this stage ! Thought i was going to sprint for 1st place until the climbers punched away ! Aaauwhtch... #mañana,” he tweeted after the stage.


Quiet day for Etixx-QickStep at the Vuelta a Espana

Four Etixx – Quick-Step men came with the elite group, which concluded the stage around half a minute behind the winner. Highest ranked rider of the team was Gianluca Brambilla, in 12th, who jumped one place in the general classification, up to 9th, another result which underlines his good condition for the last Grand Tour of the year. Teammate David De La Cruz is in 13th place, not far behind, while double stage winner Gianni Meersman completed the final day in Galicia safely and retained the lead in the points standings, which will give him at least one more day in the green jersey.


Jan Bakelants: Hats off to Fraile and Frank for having raced so badly

Jan Bakelants (Ag2r-La Mondiale) was in the break. He said:


“When we find ourselves in the front, it is to make it to the finish. This time we were caught with five kilometers too. It's a lot of effort for nothing. The agreement was not exceptional in the group and I think there was room for improvement. And the day after my crash, I did feel that I was not in an exceptional form in the end. It's a shame .


"It's too bad that we could not cooperate at the front. The others didn't seem to understand that two minutes over the peloton was really not enough. Really hats off to Fraile and Frank to have raced so badly. I had left a little bit of strength in my crash yesterday but I still wonder what Frank thought about about when he attacked like he did with a 3-km climb ahead and the peloton 40 seconds behind. And then Zeits did not want to ride with me. It was really rubbish."


Alberto Contador: Today was a day for the GC riders

Riding a solid race over the hills in the latter part of the stage, Alberto Contador eventually crossed the line in 15th position, preserving his spot just outside the top 10 on GC with some big days in the mountains looming this weekend.


After the stage, the GC leader said:


“I'm happy there weren't any incidents and making it to the finish out of trouble every day can be considered a success. There were a few really dangerous descents but, fortunately, it wasn't raining.


“Even though it seemed today would be a stage for other riders, it was a stage for the GC contenders. We all had to be very attentive and well positioned. The race was full on during the entire day and, combined with the heat, it was a stage that took its toll.


After rain yesterday, the temperatures were back in the 30s today, and a combination of a strong break and a fast chase from the peloton made for a tough race. Eleven riders formed the day’s move, with the last rider being caught in the final four kilometres by a counterattack from the much reduced peloton. By the end, Contador’s group was racing for eighth place, finishing just 29” behind the stage winner.


“It was another very hot and, actually, a hard day today,” Sport Director Steven De Jongh said after the finish. “They were racing full gas all day, but the boys did a good job – at the dangerous point they were in front which is what we asked of them. Kiserlovski didn’t take the start and Boaro had a bit of a difficult day but we know he will come around.


"The break was strong and several other teams had interest in going for the stage win so there was never a dull moment. Tomorrow will also quite a hectic final, it will be similar to today. We will check out the stage a bit more this evening and know what is ahead.”


Looking forward at what’s to come, Contador added:


“I think that in this Vuelta there will be a lot of surprises in the final week. It will be a long race with very demanding stages that hardly have a metre of flat terrain, and that will show. I feel well, although we haven't had any major climbs yet. However, the sensations are good."


Chris Froome: It’s a nice day to have out of the way

Chris Froome, Leopold Konig and Pete Kennaugh all finished safely in a select lead group as late attackers contested the victory on stage six at the Vuelta a Espana.

The Team Sky trio came home 29 seconds back on solo stage victor Simon Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) to ensure all three riders remain in the top 10 overall.


Froome ticked off another day in third place, 32 seconds back on race leader Darwin Atapuma (BMC Racing), while Konig and Kennaugh each jumped up a place to seventh and eighth respectively, 1:12 and 1:14 off red.


After the stage Froome talked through the test, explaining: "It was a tough day for everyone. It was hot out there and really quite a technical day - up and down and quite twisty.

"Again the guys did a great job just keeping me in position. I think today was a day to just stay out of trouble, and a nice day to have out of the way before we head to the mountains on Saturday. I imagine tomorrow will be a very similar kind of stage."


Jose Mendes: It made no sense to stay in the break

Many riders attacked right from the sharp start, but the peloton chased down every try. Bora-Argon 18 rider Christoph Pfingsten delivered a great performance and tried to get in a breakaway two times, but also without success.


In the right group were two Bora-Argon 18 riders: Gregor Mühlberger and José Mendes. But the peloton never let them go far away. José Mendes was the virtual leader of the Vuelta, but it was also clear that the group had just a little chance to make it to the finish.


Sports director Enrico Poitschke decided together with the riders to not invest too much energy to have something left in the tank for the final. The pair went at their own pace on the cat. 2 climb and were caught in the downhill before the last climb of the day.


José Mendes manged to hang on the the Valverde group and did not lose any time to the race favourites. He finished in 19th place and also climbed up in the GC to 21st spot.


"The stage was really hard today, but we expected it like that. It was not planned that I should go into a break today, but when I was up there on the climb, we decided to have a look. You never know how the peloton reacts and I had good legs. But when we saw that several teams worked in the peloton, we decided to not push to the limit and save some energy. It was a wise move, because when everyone was back in the peloton I still could follow all the favourites and did not lose any seconds,” José Mendes said.


Unlucky Alberto Losada: I could have won the stage

It was a second day in the break for a rider from Katusha to show the team colors, this time with Alberto Losada able to go with ten others when a break finally went clear after 50km of racing. Losada was feeling strong and working well from a reduced group in front when a sudden mishap dashed his dreams of victory.


“What bad luck. I had such good legs today. Finally I was in the good break and had plans for the stage and then suddenly my derailleur broke and went into my rear wheel. I ran off the road. It’s a miracle I did not crash. I took a bike from neutral service and managed to finish the stage in the Valverde group. It was nice to be with this GC group, but I feel I could have won the stage. What a pity,” said Alberto Losada.


Losada was part of a group of five that attacked the larger break and found themselves in good position to challenge for the stage win in Luintra on the 163,2km route that began in Monforte de Lemos on another hot day of racing. The bike mechanical and next 20km on a neutral service bike took away Losada’s stage chances, but the Spaniard managed to put himself with the GC contenders and arrived at the finish line at 29-seconds behind the win of Simon Yates (Orica-BikeExchange). Teammate Egor Silin was also in this group.


Louis Meintjes saved by Kristijan Durasek after late Vuelta crash

In the final part, Louis Meintjes could appreciate directly how fundamentalit  is to be able to rely on a responsive mate.

The South African rider was riding in the group of the main contenders for the general classification when, he could not avoid a rider who crashed with 15km to go and so he hit the ground too, suffering large abrasions on the left side of the body.


He was immediately assisted by Durasek who was rinding in the same group, and gave Meintjes his own bike, allowing him to reach the finish in the red jersey group.


The stage began with another crash of a blue-fuchsia-green rider: 15 km into the race, Koshevoy crashed and he was treated with five stitches on the right eyebrow. He also suffered abrasions, which however did not prevent him from completing the stage.


Conti gave Lampre-Merida some satisfactions by joining the main breakaway of the stage but hewas dropped on the categorized climb. Meintjes is 24th in the general classification at 3’10”.


Bad luck takes Pello Bilbao out on contention in the Vuelta

The Caja Rural - Seguros RGA riders had a difficult day on stage 6 of Vuelta a España, which saw Simon Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) solo to victory. Sergio Pardilla finished with the GC favorites 29 seconds behind the winner and he’s now the team’s best placed rider in the general classification. The 32-year-old Spanish climber is 3:22 minutes behind Darwin Atapuma (BMC) who leads the race overall.

 Together with Pardilla, Caja Rural - Seguros RGA also had Pello Bilbao in the main group, which looked promising with the slightly uphill finish in Luintra. Unfortunately, Bilbao suffered a crash on the final kilometers and had to see his chances of success disappear.
Pello Bilbao said: 


“I was trying to move up in the peloton on the fast descent as there didn’t seem to be any danger. Then, a Lampre and a Lotto rider went off the road and I couldn’t avoid them. I hurt my back a little bit but I’ll be fine. This was a very tough day. When the break finally got away it was simply because nobody had any energy left to chase in the peloton”.
Sergio Pardilla added: 


“The whole stage was super hard. The pace was very high until the break got away and from there on, the terrain was up and down all the time. Especially the last part was brutal as we went very fast on the climbs. In the final, I got caught up behind the crash that took out Pello [Bilbao] and it cost me too much energy to get back to the front”.


Omar Fraile: I don’t say no to KOM points

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka had Omar Fraile present upfront. BMC Racing was hesitant to let the gap go out too far and so 2’30” was all the break had to play with. Orica-BikeExchange decided to up the tempo in the peloton with 60km to go which saw the gap plummet to just under 1’00”. Fraile, not wanting to waste a stage effort in the lead, threw caution to the wind and attacked solo, 55km from home.


The Basque rider did well to lead over the only category 2 climb of the stage but there were a number of uncategorized climbs leading into the finishing town still to come. Despite opening the gap back up to 2’30”, Fraile was chased down by 3 the original escapees with 20km to go.


Kristian Sbaragli was the best placed rider on the stage. The Italian fast man showed some good climbing legs, only being distanced in the final 5km of today’s stage. Unfortunately, Igor Anton also lost time today after suffering with stomach issues but Fraile still gave the African Team reason to smile, he was awarded the most combative prize of the day.


Omar Fraile said:


“It was a day for a breakaway and we wanted to be part of that. It was not easy to get into it though, as the pace at the beginning of the stage was very high. On the first climb the attack finally went, but with guys like Losada in there, who was not so far down on GC, the peloton didn’t allow for a big gap. So I spoke with our DS Alex Sans Vega, if it’d be okay to attack again and so I went on the only categorized climb of the day. I felt good and saw a chance to arrive solo. I got a gap, but in the end the other guys came back. That’s racing, I guess, but I’ll try again.


 “Since the start of the break, we knew it would be difficult as we had Losada and Mendes with us. I had to attack, make a gap and hope the peloton would slow down. I tried, but it was very windy and it was too hard. But the most important thing is that I tried it and I’m feeling well. We are at the beginning of the Vuelta and there’s a lot left.


”From the first day I said I wanted a stage and that’s what I will keep fighting for. But KOM points come along as I try to win, I won’t say no to that.”


Team LottoNL-Jumbo: Hopefully, Gesink can be there in the final week

George Bennett finished 33rd in the hard-fought sixth stage of the Vuelta a Espana today. Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s New Zealander ended up in a group that sprinted for the eighth place. Stage winner Simon Yates (Orica - BikeExchange) rode solo ahead by 29 seconds.


“The atmosphere in the team wasn’t so bad this morning,” Sports Director Addy Engels said the day after Steven Kruijswijk abandoned the race with a broken collarbone. “The guys were motivated to make the most of it.”


“It was a very hard day and the way they raced was the main reason for it. Only George Bennett managed to survive. Robert Gesink was in the front for a long time, but he let go in the end. He is here to improve and show something beautiful in the final week.”


Bennett agreed, it was a tough stage through northwest Spain.


“It wasn’t a good day to be in the break, so I tried to race from the peloton and keep the team’s morale high after a really bad day yesterday,” he added. “I didn’t get the win today, but I felt great on the bike, so I’m keeping my options open for the rest of the race.”


Giant-Alpecin target sprint success on stage 7 of the Vuelta

After missing out on the day’s breakaway and not managing to make the front group when the peloton split, Team Giant-Alpecin rode a conservative race in order to conserve energy for the coming stages.


Coach Luke Roberts said after the stage:


“We aimed to be represented in today’s breakaway, both Johannes [Fröhlinger] and Chad [Haga] were very active early and were a part of break that did not succeed. Once a group were finally let go we were not a part of it, but they were kept on a short lead. When a big move came from Orica early on the cat.2 climb and exploded the bunch it put our guys out of contention, we decided from there to save our legs and look towards creating a sprint opportunity tomorrow.”



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