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La Vuelta | Stage 6

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Stage 6 report: Roglic holds Co(u)rt

Defending champion Primoz Roglic returned to the top of the standings after taking second place on the Alto de la Montana de Cullera in the wheels of Stage 6 winner Magnus Cort. The Dane was the last man standing from a five-man breakaway and held on for a super win despite the red jersey battle going on in his wake.
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On a bittersweet day for EF Education-Nippo on La Vuelta, the Danish powerhouse Magnus Cort held on for a brilliant win on the Alto de la Montana de Cullera while his teammate Hugh Carthy lost the best part of three minutes on a day to forget for last year’s third place finisher.

Primoz Roglic back in red

The Slovenian double champion returns to the top of the standings with the Movistar trident of Enric Mas +25, Miguel Angel Lopez +36 and Alejandro Valverde +41 hot on his heels. Egan Bernal completes the top five, also 41 seconds down.
Mikel Landa came in 27 seconds down on Roglic while Hugh Carthy was a whopping 2:50 down on the defending champion. Landa stays ninth on GC but is now 1:12 down. Vlasov is up five places to sixth at 53 seconds.

Stage 6 top five

1. Magnus Cort
2. Primoz Roglic s/t
3. Andrea Baglioli +2
4. Aleksandr Vlasov +4
5. Enric Mas +4
A superb ride for the Italian youngster Baglioli of Deceuninck-QuickStep to take third place there after a late surge. Michael Matthews tried his best but crossed the line in sixth place while Egan Bernal took seventh at +8. The rest of the top 10 was Alejandro Valverde +8, Miguel Angel Lopez +9 and Felix Grossschartner +16. Britain's Adam Yates was 13th at 25 seconds.

Victory for Magnus Cort!

What a ride from the last man standing of the breakaway - the Dane holds on to win the stage by a bike length on Primoz Roglic, who will return to the red jersey today. A superb ride there from the EF Education-Nippo rider on a bittersweet day for the team because it looked like Hugh Carthy lost a fair bit of time on that final climb...

500m to go: Matthews leads chase

The Australian goes clear in pursuit and is joined by Vlasov... but Roglic closes in... but Cort is still out ahead...

Final kilometre

Cort is still out and he's with Lindeman - the last two riders defying the odds. Mas, Vlasov, Carapaz, Barnal and Roglic are all on the front of the pack, which has regrouped a little. Lopez and Matthews are there, too. Lindeman is caught so it's just the Dane in pink out ahead digging deep with 500 metres to go.

1.5km: All over for the breakaway

Magnus Cort is the last man standings for the breakaway but he. too, will be caught very soon. Poor Kenny Elissonde will lose the red jersey today - he's swinging something rotten off the back.

2km: Cat.3 Alto de la Montana de Cullera

We're onto the final climb now, which is 1.9km long at 9.4%. Ineos have torn the pack apart with Ecuadorian duo Carapaz and Narvaez with Bernal in their wheel on the front of the pack - which is no longer a pack but just a 10-man group...

3km: Ineos Grenadiers lead the chase

Van Baarle, Narvaez and Carapaz are on the front for Ineos, paving the way perhaps for their man in white, Egan Bernal. The break has just 30 seconds now as they ride through Cullera and approach the final climb.

6km: "It's looking good for the breakaway"

So says Sean Kelly - although he also admits that it's "in the balance" what with the gap down to just 45 seconds.

9km: Still one minute for break

There's a slight easing up in the pack as Movistar return to the front of the pack. They're playing the Valverde card for the stage win today - but they also have Lopez and Mas to consider for the bigger GC picture. And finally, Hugh Carthy manages to rejoin the peloton - although he'll need to fight his way to the front before the climb, on which he could well suffer big time for hsi efforts.

12km: Carthy can't bridge over

The Briton is now with three teammates but they cannot make the connection to the strung-out peloton - and even when they do, they will be very far back from the leaders because it's all strung out. It's Deceuninck-QuickStep who are now pounding out the tempo with Ineos and Bahrain Victorious both involved.
They're back on that exposed windy section through green arable fields and the break only have one minute to play with while Carthy is 25 seconds back. And there's a crash! Tobias Ludvigsson skids out on one of the many tight and dusty corners - a nasty spill for the Swede at Groupama-FDJ.

15km: Hugh Carthy dropped

Nightmare for the man who finished third in last year's Vuelta as Britain's Hugh Carthy is distanced. He's got three EF Education-Nippo teammates with him to help pace him back to the fold but he looks completely spent.

Pogacar victorious on today's final climb in 2020

The finish was used in the 2020 Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana were Tadej Pogacar took the spoils ahead of Alejandro Valverde... this is how he did it...

Slow-motion sprint as Pogacar wins stage on eye-watering final ascent

20km: Still two minutes for five leaders

It's still delicately balanced today with the five leaders - Joan Bou (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Ryan Gibbons (UAE Team Emirates), Jetse Bol (Burgos-BH), Magnus Cort (EF Education-Nippo) and Bert-Jan Lindeman (Israel Start-Up Nation) - still holding a gap of two minutes over the peloton. But the pace behind will increase again on the windy section and in the run into the climb - plus on the climb itself the specialists will come to the fore.

25km: Peloton back together

Movistar and Ineos are controlling things on the front as the peloton regroups - although there are still many riders further back. The red jersey and Vlasov - the big name riders who were caught out - have returned. And the nature of this finishing loop is that the windy section over those narrow roads will be raced again before the finish. As it is, the riders are going through the town of Cullera from where the final climb starts once they have completed a full loop of the circuit. Still two minutes for the five leaders.

30km: Red jersey caught out

It's all strung out as the road heads inland on that loop ahead of the final climb today. Jumbo-Visma have upped the tempo in a section of crosswinds and caused some big splits in the pack with the red jersey of Kenny Elissonde caught out - and Aleksandr Vlasov of Astana. Movistar take over on these narrow roads through green farm land but it looks like the pace has eased a little and that will allow many riders to come back across.

35km: Splits in the peloton

The race is well and truly on now with Trek, Ineos, Jumbo-Visma, Movistar, Alpecin-Fenix and others really going for it on the front. Numerous riders are off the back now including BikeExchange duo Mikel Nieve (who crashed yesterday) and Andrey Zeits (who crashed about half an hour ago). The gap is 2:30 now for the five-man break.

45km: Zeits the BikeExchange rider down

It was Andrey Zeits who was taken out by the Alpecin-Fenix rider there when he leant in and knocked him off balance on the side of the road. We're not sure how he is - and we're not sure who the Alpecin rider was - but we'll keep you updated. The gap is 3:10 for the break with the momentum taken out of the chase following that incident. Here's the crash below - judge for yourself...

'That's uncalled for!' - Zeits 'clipped' in bizarre incident during Stage 6

51km: Another crash! Much worse this time...

An Alpecin-Fenix rider leans in to avoid coming off the road and as a result he barges into one of the BikeExchange riders - both hit the deck at speed, taking out another BikeExchange man in the process. And that will change the whole dynamic of this stage because it was the Australian team who were dictating play. The peloton eases up and it's a flat block on the front, with the gap for the breakaway no doubt destined to grow again as a result.

53km: Crash!

Alex Kirsch of Trek-Segafredo hits the deck on a roundabout, causing a few riders to take evasive action. But the Luxembourg rider is the only man to go down - although he's quite quickly back on his way. The gap is down to 3:10 for the five leaders who are: Joan Bou (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Ryan Gibbons (UAE Team Emirates), Jetse Bol (Burgos-BH), Magnus Cort (EF Education-Nippo) and Bert-Jan Lindeman (Israel Start-Up Nation).

62km: BikeExchange all on the front in Valencia

As the race passes through the centre of Valencia, BikeExchange have now committed their entire team to the tempo-setting on the front - with the advantage of the break coming down to four minutes as a result. They're about to hit the coast for a long seaside section ahead of the finishing loop and final climb.
Meanwhile, it's Jetse Bol who takes maximum points in the intermediate sprint at Pinedo ahead of Cort, Gibbonss, Lindeman and Bou. All the green jersey points are snaffled up so there will probably be no change in the points classification leadership today.

65km: Amezqueta crashes again

He's not having the best 10 minutes, poor Julen... Just as he returns following his previous spill, the Caja Rural rider loses his front wheel as he negotiates a roundabout and skids onto the tarmac. Wincing in pain, he picks himself up before gesticulating wildly in frustration in the general direction of his bike. He did have to hammer his handlebars after his first crash so perhaps he still had a mechanical issue which was to blame?

70km: Gap starts to drop

The lead is under five minutes now following that injection of pace from Team BikeExchange. We had a crash earlier - Spain's Julen Amezqueta of Caja-Rural on a roundabout - but he's back on his way. That incident may or may not have included a musette because it followed shortly after the feed zone and there looked to be one on the floor following his spill.

80km: BikeExchange string out the peloton

Team BIkeExchange have sent two men to the front ahead of the Trek-Segafredo train and the sudden increase in tempo has seen the peloton strung out like a snake. A few splits appear and this looks quite dangerous... the Australian team have Michael Matthews or Nick Schultz for today's finish - probably the latter given the climb.
It's probably the right time to post Jens "Crystal Ball" Voigt's prediction for today's finish: "BikeExchange will take control and Michael Matthews will win from a small group."

85km: Bol best placed in break

Dutchman Jetse Bol - who tried his luck right at the start of the stage before being pegged back - is the best placed rider in the general classification in this move. He's 9:17 down on the red jersey Kenny Elissonde so he's still a couple of minutes short of being the virtual leader: the five-man break's gap is currently seven minutes.

100km: Four minutes four break but no-go for Niv

Guy Niv is riding in no-man's land three minutes behind the five leaders, who have just over four minutes on the pack. It's the Trek-Segafredo team of red jersey Kenny Elissonde who have come to the front, with the ginger-bearded figure of American debutant Quinn Simmons pulling on the nose. Meanwhile, here's an interview with the man who could take Elissonde's red jersey today... he's just five seconds down on the Frenchman.

'It's beautiful' - Roglic 'enjoying' Vuelta atmosphere as he targets red jersey

108km: Five-man break allowed to go

It looks like the peloton has given this move its blessing: the front of the pack is flat and there's no reaction - with the exception of Guy Niv of Israel Start-Up Nation who has edged clear in a bid to bridge over. He's chasing five riders who have come together with a lead of 1:30 for now.

115km: Two clear, three in pursuit

Joan Bou (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Ryan Gibbons (UAE Team Emirates) have gone clear to open up a small gap. They're being pursued by Jetse Bol (Burgos-BH), Magnus Cort (EF Education-Nippo) and Bert-Jan Lindeman (Israel Start-Up Nation).

Blythe's pick for the day: Tom Pidcock

Adam Blythe has just told The Breakaway that he reckons Tom Pidcock is the only rider who could take it to Primoz Roglic today on the short but sharp climb to the finish. We spoke to the British debutant ahead of today's stage and this is what he said...

'It's been very relaxed and chilled' - Pidcock on Vuelta so far

118km: Seven chasers and Senechal are caught

Well, that didn't last long. No sooner had seven riders clipped free of the pack - Stan Dewulf (AG2R-Citroen), Jonathan Lastra (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Antonio Jesus Soto (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Andreas Kron (Lotto-Soudal), Michale Storer (Team DSM), Sergio Luis Henao (Qhubeka NextHash) and Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates) - than the peloton accelerated, snuffed out the challenged, and reeled in both the chase group and the lone leader, Florian Senechal. Back to square one again!

Bernal rides his luck...

The Colombian Egan Bernal was right next to the Israel Start-Up Nation riders whose touch of wheels caused the big crash yesterday and he could have so easily gone down like Bardet, Taaramae and the many others who hit the deck or were caught up in the ensuing melee. It's on such moments that Grand Tours are won and lost - just ask Mikel Landa who was looking so strong in the Giro until he was knocked off his bike and out of the race in that high-speed crash at the end of Stage 5. Some more thoughts on Bernal's near miss below...

Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) during Stage 5 of the 2021 Vuelta a Espana

Image credit: Getty Images

Bardet continues despite crash

Frenchman Romain Bardet started yesterday's stage in 14th place 1:16 down on GC, just 46 seconds behind the defending champion Primoz Roglic. He ended up by dropping to 93th place over 13 minutes behind after hitting the deck in that pile-up 12km from the finish.
Speaking at the start of the stage today, the Team DSM rider said: "It could be worse. I’m more optimistic now than I was straight after the crash. I had so much pain in the knee but today I felt it was ok to start so I’m really glad to continue. It’s never good to crash but that’s just how it is. Hopefully I can recover in the next few days, make it to the first rest day and see if I can do something and hunt for stage wins."

125km: Senechal on the attack

Frenchman Florian Senechal (Deceuninck-QuickStep) is the latest rider to have a go. He opens up a 20-second gap on a slight rise, and will look to extend that on the following descent. He'll probably also hope to be joined by some reinforcements, too, to be honest. Let's see how this one pans out.

128km: All over for the leading duo

Claeys and Rubio have been caught so it's back to the drawing board for any aspiring breakaway artists. An interesting stat here from our friends at ProCyclingStats. Here are the top five teams ordered by their worst best stage result so far:
1. Burgos-BH (18th)
2. Israel Start-Up Nation (14th)
3. Euskaltel-Euskadi (11th)
4. Qhubeka-Nexthash (9th)
5. Lotto Soudal (9th)

Meanwhile, over at the Tour de l'Avenir...

There's a familiar name - and face, to be fair - leading the breakaway, don't you think?

135km: No luck for chasers

Belgian Sep Vanmarcke (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Norway's Andreas Kron (Lotto Soudal) both tried to bridge over to the leaders in separate skirmishes off the front - but to no avail. What was a 45-second gap for the duo ahead is now down to just 20 seconds. More touch-and-go than a game of 'It'.
We're also hearing that German champion Max Schachmann also tried to get across but the Bora-Hansgrohe rider was foiled. It's all happening.

140km: Two more on the move

Spain's Diego Rubio (Burgos-BH) and Belgium's Dimitri Claeys (Qhubeka-NextHash) have gone clear and this time there's a promising gap... Could this be the (admittedly slightly underwhelming) break of the day?

145km: Two riders open up a gap

Robert Stannard (Team BikeExchange) and James Piccoli (Israel Start-Up Nation) are the latest riders to throw their hats into the breakaway ring. No can do, I'm afraid: the peloton doesn't let this Australian-Canadian alliance open up enough daylight and it comes to nothing.

150km: Bol attack comes to nothing

It's the Dutchman Jetse Bol (Burgos-BH) who has a pop after a fast opening six kilometres but his dig off the front comes to nothing and the 31-year-old - who is riding his fifth consecutive Vuelta - is swallowed back into the peloton. An opening week stage on the Vuelta wouldn't seem quite the same without a Bol in purple rolling the dice.

158.3km to go: Stage 6 under way!

That's it - the flag has been waved and the race is on. Although, that's odd: unlike the previous two days, we don't have an all-Spanish trio zipping up the road from the gun.

Riders in the neutral zone...

The peloton has rolled out of Requena ahead of today's short but intriguing sixth stage. It's 28 degrees Celsius and the sky is blue. It's almost showtime...
A reminder that Kenny Elissonde is in red, Jasper Philipsen in green, Egan Bernal in white, and Rein Taaramae in the blue polka dots.

Punchy uphill finale to Stage 6 on the Mediterranean coast

The 158km Stage 6 from Requena starts with a gradual and staggered descent of 70km towards Valencia on the east coast of Spain before the route hugs the coast ahead of 1.5 laps of a finishing circuit which is followed by a the punchy third-category climb of the Alto de la Montana de Cullera - a 1.9km ascent with an average gradient of 9.4%. While a breakaway may go the distance, the leg-sapping finale should be enough to cause a shake-up in the standings as Frenchman Kenny Elissonde strives to protect the red jersey he picked up inadvertently yesterday following Rein Taaramae's involvement in that pile-up 12km from the finish.
Roll out at 12:55 UK time so stay tuned for live coverage on what could prove to be a key stage in this opening week of La Vuelta...
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Stage 5 recap: Philipsen doubles up as Taaramae crashes out of red

Belgium’s Jasper Philipsen roared back into the green jersey with his second win of the race after beating Fabio Jakobsen in a chaotic bunch sprint finale to Stage 5 of La Vuelta.
Frenchman Kenny Elissonde is the new race leader after Estonia’s Rein Taaramae was involved in a pile-up inside the final 12km of an otherwise uneventful day.

How can I watch the Vuelta?

You can watch the race unfold on eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app and Eurosport 1 across the three weeks.
An ad-free livestream of the Vuelta a Espana 2021 will run throughout the event on the Eurosport app and Eurosport.co.uk. You can download the Eurosport app for iOS and Android now.
You can also watch the most comprehensive live & ad-free racing on GCN+. Go deeper and get interactive with live polls & quizzes, plus rider profiles, race updates, results & more – plus stream exclusive cycling documentaries. Watch it all with GCN+ on any device.

Expert analysis

Eurosport expert Brian Smith was left baffled by Team Intermarché seemingly not doing everything possible to help Vuelta leader Rein Taaramae after a huge crash on Stage 5.

'What were they playing at?!' - Smith slams team for not helping Vuelta leader

The largely subdued 184.4km route between Tarancón and Albacete on Wednesday suddenly witnessed wild scenes with just 11.7km remaining as an enormous bunch of riders fell to the ground in a seemingly innocuous stretch of flat road.
Among the victims of the massive pile up was race leader Taaramae, who had been wearing the red jersey. While he got to his feet, the gap to the racing group proved too much to reel in as the Estonian relinquished the red jersey in very unfortunate fashion.
Smith could not understand why Team Intermarché did not do everything possible to assist the stricken Taaramae, particularly given he was wearing the coveted red jersey.
"Do you know what I couldn't understand? He's the red jersey in a Grand Tour - and then all of a sudden he is on his own!" Smith began on The Breakaway.
Two riders come back after 5kms or something like that? What on earth were they playing at?!

'Absolutely enormous!' - Huge crash wipes out 'most of the field' at Vuelta

"I just don't understand some of these teams. That's a big thing to have the red jersey - you could see what it meant to him. You could see the enthusiasm of riding on the front, and all of a sudden their man crashes.
"Why didn't they stop straight away and help him? Why send only two riders back? Surely that [the red jersey] takes precedence. You have to look for him.
"I think it just took a while for the penny to drop. But to send two riders back? The whole team has to go back in my opinion. The whole team, bar none."
- - -
You can watch La Vuelta live and ad-free on the Eurosport app and Eurosport.co.uk. Download the Eurosport app for iOS and Android now. You can also watch the most comprehensive live & ad-free racing on GCN+. Go deeper and get interactive with live polls & quizzes, plus rider profiles, race updates, results & more – plus stream exclusive cycling documentaries.
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