Young Slovakian cyclist Peter Sagan won the sixth stage of the Vuelta a Espaa on Thursday in a lightning attack by his Liquigas-Cannondale team at the end of a 193km ride from Ubeda to Cordoba. French rider Sylvain Chavanel of the Quick Step team retained the overall leader’s red jersey for a third day, 15 seconds ahead of Spaniard Daniel Moreno, who stands in second place overall.
The winner of last year’s Vuelta a Espaa, Italian Vincenzo Nibali, jumped into third place overall, ahead of Wednesday’s stage winner Joaquim Rodriguez of Spain and Jakob Fuglsang of Denmark. It was the first stage win in a major tour for Sagan, 21.
“I am very happy. We did an incredible thing with our team,” Sagan said afterwards. “It would have been even better if Vincenzo (Nibali) had won and taken the bonus points (that would have enabled him to displace Chavanel).”
Liquigas took four of the top five places in Thursday’s stage after breaking ahead as they entered the southern Spanish city following a downhill chase where riders reached nearly 90 kilometres an hour. In a grouped sprint over the line, Spaniard Pablo Lastras of Movistar finished second with Valerio Agnoli of Liquigas third and his team-mate Nibali fourth. Another member of the Liquigas hit-squad, Eros Capecchi, came fifth.
Liquigas frustrated an earlier bid by four riders including Tony Martin of Germany and Frenchman David Moncoutie, who had also been caught up during a bold breakaway at the climax to Wednesday’s mountainous fifth stage. The largely fast and flat sixth stage built to a tough slope at 10 kilometers from the end that held up some of the race’s big sprinters.
Friday’s seventh stage sees the race shift to central Spain with a 183km ride from Almaden to Talavera de la Reina.
Vuelta a Espaa Stage 6
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 4:38:22
2. Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar @ s.t.
3. Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
5. Eros Capecchi (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale @ .03
6. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard Trek @ .17
7. Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha @ s.t.
8. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Movistar
9. David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis
10. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quickstep
General Classification After Stage 6
1. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quickstep 22:41:13
2. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha @ .15
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale @ .16
4. Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha @ .23
5. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard Trek @ .25
6. Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe) Astana @ .41
7. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Leopard Trek @ .44
8. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto @ .49
9. Sergio Pardilla Bellln (Spa) Movistar @ s.t.
10. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Movistar @ .52