Vuelta a España 2010

August 28 - September 19, 2010, Sevilla, ESP, Road - HIS (Historical Calendar)

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Susan Westemeyer

Stage Six is a tricky one: perfect for a breakaway, and with that flat finish in Murcia, it ought to be one for the sprinters. If only it weren't for that Category Two ranked climb only 17km from the finish line.....

  1. 15:29:20 CEST

    Hello and welcome back to the Vuelta a Espana. We continue trekking to the east today, to Murcia, home of Alejandro Valverde and Luis Leon Sanchez (only one of whom is in this race....)

  2. 96km remaining from 151km

    15:33:22 CEST

    As usual, a break goup got away early. Today's group features Markus Eichler (Milram), Juan Javier Estrada (Andalucia) and Freddy Bichot (Bbox). Their gap is now 5:20, down from a high of 9:17.

  3. 15:38:57 CEST

    Cofidis is leading the chase, and has brought the gap down to 5:20.

  4. 15:43:14 CEST

    We have an interesting profile, today, most of it being downhill. Other than that we might call it “rolling”. Up until 20km to go, that is: then it goes up a category two ranked climb. Once down again, it is almost perfectly flat to the end.

  5. 15:49:16 CEST

    The finish line today is on the Avenida Miguel Indurain. Now where have we heard that name before....

  6. 77km remaining from 151km

    15:54:55 CEST

    Cofidis is still leading the chase and has brought the gap down, but the three in front are hanging on.  The gap has stablized at 4:38.

  7. 16:01:58 CEST

    That climb at the end is the Alto de la Cresta del Gallo. It has an average gradient of  4.36%., and has a fairly technical descent.

  8. 16:03:55 CEST

    Rain was forecast as a possiblity today, but fortunately that was wrong.  We have sunshine again, and currently 31° Celsius.

  9. 16:06:05 CEST

    We're at the half-way mark now, and the peloton passes through the feeding zone.  Philippe Gilbert is happy to have a cold can of Coca-Cola.

  10. 16:08:36 CEST

    The day's first intermediate sprint came early on, and went to Eichler, ahead of Estrada and Bichot.

  11. 16:10:20 CEST

    Nicolas Roche of AG2R tweeted this morning, ”tricky descent to finish today. Reckon a 50 man bunch sprint!”

  12. 58km remaining from 151km

    16:15:03 CEST

    Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) continues to sport the leader's natty red jersey, ahead of Igor Anton (Euskaltel) and Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha).

  13. 16:17:18 CEST

    The laterne rouge – how do you say that in spanish? – by the way, is Julian Dean of Garmin-Transitions, who is 1:13:33 down.

  14. 16:20:45 CEST

    Anton leads in the points classification, with Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions) jumping to second place ahead of Gilbert.   Serafin Martinez  (Xacobo Galicia) still leads the mountain ranking, and Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas-Doimo leds the combativity ranking.  Caisse d'Epargne is the top team.

  15. 16:21:12 CEST

    Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) pays a visit to the medical car.

  16. 16:23:48 CEST

    Former Kelme rider Alexis Rodriguez described the Alto de la Cresta del Gallo: “It’s very very hard on a distance of 3 kilometres. Sprinters can’t make it. The downhill is very complicated. The surface of the road is bad. There are many curves. As a classics’ rider, Philippe Gilbert is able to go up there with the best riders.”

  17. 16:25:36 CEST

    Race leader Philippe Gilbert didn’t hide that he might try to win a second stage. “It could happen”, he said. “I know the climb since the Vuelta last year, so I know it suits me well.”

  18. 50km remaining from 151km

    16:27:28 CEST

    The gap has stretched back up to over six minutes.  The chances of this group staying away to the end are looking better.

  19. 16:30:33 CEST

    A lot of people mentioned Filippo Pozzato as the hottest favourite for today. “I went to reconnoitre the end of the stage this morning”, the Italian said. “The finale is hard. The climb is longer than the one in stage 12 that I won at the Giro but it’s a good one for me. The Katusha team will work for me today. I hear a rumour saying that Freire wants to try and win today as well.”

  20. 44km remaining from 151km

    16:32:47 CEST

    Did we say the gap was going up and the group might get through?  We jinxed them by mentioning it.  The gap has already dropped to 5:12.

  21. 16:35:50 CEST

    Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) would love to take the win today in his home town.  He wasn't originally scheduled to ride the Vuelta this year though, stepping in only when team captain Alejandro Valverde was suspended.   And he hasn't yet said which time he will ride for next season.  You can

    catch up on it here.
  22. 42km remaining from 151km

    16:37:29 CEST

    And the gap continues to plummet -- it is now under 4:30.

  23. 16:40:08 CEST

    Oscar Freire (Rabobank) is one of the sprinters who could make it today but the winner of Milan-San Remo doesn’t include himself in the list of the favourites. “My goal is to be the world champion in one month (October 3rd)”, he said. “I would also like to win a stage at the Vuelta but with the form I have now, I won’t be able to do it today.”

  24. 16:42:37 CEST

    The Milram car visits Eichler as the gap is now only 3:40.

  25. 16:44:43 CEST

    Katusha leads the peloton -- is this stage one for Joaquin Rodriguez?

  26. 16:46:45 CEST

    Philippe Gilbert, or Phil, as the team calls him, is very much enjoying his first leader's jersey in a Grand Tour.  And although he only re-did his contract with Omega Pharma-Lotto this spring, he will get a new (and, we assume, improved) contract should he win the Worlds next month.   More here.

  27. 16:50:00 CEST

    Who do the experts here at Cyclingnews think will win today?  I am picking Oscar Freire.   Stephen Farrand likes Pozzato's chances, while Laura Weislo thinks Luis Leon Sanchez will have the best legs.

  28. 32km remaining from 151km

    16:50:51 CEST

    Another minute has been lost -- the gap is 2:44.

  29. 16:51:49 CEST

    The chasing peloton takes on a roundabout, with a number of riders going up on the sidewalk.

  30. 16:52:49 CEST

    We have a crash, two riders have gone down.  One is from Rabobank, and he is still trying to get his bike back in order.

  31. 16:53:32 CEST

    It is Laurens Ten Dam.  He is going again but his bike is still not in order.

  32. 16:55:12 CEST

    Ten Dam has really ripped up the back of his jersey.  We hope he hasn't equally ripped up his back.

  33. 16:55:47 CEST

    AStna moves to the front of the field, with Saxo Bank now jumping into the lead.

  34. 16:57:04 CEST

    The end of today’s stage is well known by Simon Gerrans who won in Murcia last year after passing the Alto de la Cresta del Gallo. He outsprinted Ryder Hesjedal, Jakob Fuglsang and Alexandre Vinokourov. “From our breakaway group of 17, Linus Gerdemann attacked in that climb but he punctured right at the top just when the four of us caught him”, the Australian remembered. “Some sprinters can make it over that climb but we can’t compare with last year. Today’s stage is short and still early in the race. And I won’t win in Murcia again. I’ve been so sick on day 3 that I’ll take it easy until the first rest day. I’m feeling much better though.”

  35. 16:57:31 CEST

    The leadwork keeps changing hands, with Liquigas now taking a turn.

  36. 16:58:30 CEST

    The gap is now 1:59 at the second intermediate sprint.

  37. 17:00:33 CEST

    The climb will start in a few kms.  Will the three be caught before then or on the way up?

  38. 17:01:46 CEST

    Bernie Eisel of HTC-Columbia was going to pull sprints for Mark Cavendish at the Vuelta and further use it to get into shape for the Worlds.  That is, until an intestinal infection forced him out in only the fourth stage.  Now the Austrian isn't sure he'll be able to get in enough racing to get ready for the Worlds.  

  39. 22km remaining from 151km

    17:02:30 CEST

    Now it is Rabobank at the head of the chase.  The gap is still just over a minute.

  40. 17:04:02 CEST

    The peloton is really turning on the speed.

  41. 20km remaining from 151km

    17:05:21 CEST

    Under a minute now, and the three leaders take off up the climb.

  42. 17:06:39 CEST

    Eichler drops back.  He is not the climber that the other two are.

  43. 17:07:16 CEST

    Bichot is now alone in the lead, as Estrada can't keep up with him either.

  44. 17:08:07 CEST

    HTC-Columbia's Peter Velits is near the front of the field, in second place.

  45. 17:09:07 CEST

    Bichot seems determined to make this on his own.

  46. 17:10:02 CEST

    Bichot has 36 seconds on the peloton.

  47. 17:11:40 CEST

    Eichler is now caught  by the field.  Bichot is now the only one forward.

  48. 17:12:25 CEST

    ANd that was it for Bichot. He is caught. Kolobnev leads the way, followed by Gilbert.

  49. 17:13:14 CEST

    The lead group is no longer the full peloton.  And Bichot falls off the bck of this group, along with Dave Zabriskie of Garmin-Transitions.

  50. 17:14:14 CEST

    THe peloton is still pretty good sized, actually, maybe about 50 riders?

  51. 17:14:55 CEST

    Gilbert is having no trouble here on this narrow road.  He is following Katusha's Vladimir Karpets.

  52. 17:15:51 CEST

    This is a narrow, curving road.  Not terribly steep, but enough.

  53. 17:16:30 CEST

    They hit the top, all together.  Karpets leads the way.

  54. 17:17:03 CEST

    And down they all head.  This descent is said to be a hard one, let's see what happens.

  55. 17:19:15 CEST

    Karpets is off  by himself in the lead.  Gilbert gives chase.

  56. 14km remaining from 151km

    17:20:08 CEST

    No one is taking it easy here.  They are really flying down.  Gilbert and Karpets are together.

  57. 17:20:32 CEST

    NO, that is POzzato who is now with Gilbert. 

  58. 17:21:09 CEST

    Te field is right behind them now, and they are gathered back in.

  59. 17:22:02 CEST

    Another rider has broken out to seek his chance -- it is someone from Astana, yes, Fofonov.

  60. 17:23:09 CEST

    Looks like all the big names are still in the leading group.  Fofonov now has 11 seconds on the group.

  61. 12km remaining from 151km

    17:23:56 CEST

    Remember, from the bottom on to the finish line it is basically flat.

  62. 10km remaining from 151km

    17:25:34 CEST

    Fofonov continues to defend his lead at the 10 km marker.

  63. 17:26:00 CEST

    A series of turns and corners here, lots of fun at this high speed.

  64. 17:26:34 CEST

    CN's Laura Weislo has changed her mind and now likes Thor Hushovd to win today.

  65. 9km remaining from 151km

    17:27:06 CEST

    AT the nine km marker, Fofonov's lead is nine seconds.

  66. 8km remaining from 151km

    17:28:15 CEST

    Fofonov stays away longer.....

  67. 17:28:54 CEST

    But no longer.  He is caught with 7.4km to go.

  68. 17:29:22 CEST

    Barredo attacks out of the field.

  69. 6km remaining from 151km

    17:29:55 CEST

    The QuickStep Italian has a small lead.

  70. 17:30:32 CEST

    He too is caught.  Karpets and Cervelo lead the charge. Hushovd is looming near the front.

  71. 17:31:22 CEST

    Sastre doesn't want to be part of a possible sprint, and is near the back of the pack.

  72. 5km remaining from 151km

    17:32:01 CEST

    The group has gotten larger again, much larger.  Will the sprinters be there to take their chances?

  73. 17:32:55 CEST

    BEnnati is near the front now, with a number of Liquigas teammates.

  74. 17:33:24 CEST

    A BBox rider attacks!

  75. 17:33:56 CEST

    But he too is caught.

  76. 17:34:30 CEST

    Karpets continues to grind along in the lead, at 51km/h.

  77. 17:35:27 CEST

    A Caisse d'Epargne rider is the next to go, or does he just move to the front of the field?

  78. 17:35:50 CEST

    Gilbert now third behind two teammates.

  79. 17:36:04 CEST

    The final km.

  80. 17:36:28 CEST

    Pozzato, Hushvod, Davis -- all near the front.

  81. 17:37:10 CEST

    Gilbert sprints with them, with Hushovd as big as a bull charging along.

  82. 17:37:44 CEST

    And the Norwegian champion takes the victory.  THe first to congratulate him is Gilbert.

  83. 17:39:00 CEST

    Daniele Bennati of Liquigas was second and Lampre's Grega Bole was third.

  84. 17:40:27 CEST

    That is Hushovd's third Vuelta stage win in his career.

  85. 17:40:57 CEST

    A handful of riders, led by two from Footon-Servetto, are only now coming over the finish line.

  86. 17:42:22 CEST

    Gilbert finished sixth on the stage, so he easily held on to the leader's jersey.

  87. 17:44:29 CEST

    No changes in the top of the GC rankings.

  88. 17:50:10 CEST

    Thanks for reading along today.  Be sure to join us again tomorrow for stage seven!

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