Complete Live Report
Welcome to live coverage of stage 6 of the Volta a la Cominitat Valenciana
Hello and happy Saturday to you all. We've got more racing action for you today with the penultimate stage of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana. Make a brew and follow us for live coverage of today's racing.
It has been a hectic start to the stage so far. We had a breakaway go but Burgos BH were not happy with is and they decided to bring it back. We now have a second three-man group, with a Burgos BH rider in it, and it looks like this one might stick. The group has over three minutes on the peloton. I will bring you the names of those up the road in just a few moments.
- 140km remaining from 188km
Ok, here we are. As it stands, we have Silvan Dillier (AG2R La Mondiale), João Rodrigues (W52-FC Porto) and mountains classification leader Diego Rubio Hernandez (Burgos-BH). The riders are on their way to the first climb of the day the Alto de Culla.
This is what the mountains classification looked like ahead of the stage start. Rubio Hernandez has a serious lead at the moment and his main rivals are not in this lead group.
1 Diego Rubio Hernandez (Spa) Burgos-BH 23 pts
2 Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise 9
3 Mikel Iturria Segurola (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country 6
4 Joan Bou Company (Spa) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane 4
5 Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team 3
6 Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team 3
7 Omar Fraile Matarranz (Spa) Astana Pro Team 2
8 Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky 2
9 Awet Andemeskel (Eri) Israel Cycling Academy 2
10 Raul Alarcon (Spa) W52-FC Porto 2
Dimension Data are managing things at the front of the peloton for the race leader Edvald Boasson Hagen. Today will be the toughest test of Boasson Hagen's lead so far this race.
After winning the opening time trial stage, Boasson Hagen still holds a slim five-second lead ahead of Astana's Ion Izagirre. It is going to be a tough ask for the Norwegian to hold onto the yellow jersey.
1 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data 9:23:23
2 Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:05
3 Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:08
4 Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team 0:00:11
5 Pello Bilbao Lopez de Armentia (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:12
6 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:14
7 Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:19
8 Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Sky 0:00:20
9 Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:23
10 Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:00:24
Boasson Hagen's win earlier this week was a good sign for him ahead of the Classics in just a few weeks' time, but it is also morale boost for his team, who have really struggled over the past season. Cyclingnews editor Daniel Benson spoke with the team's Head of Performance Rolf Aldag about lifting the squad after a difficult year. You can read the full story here.
- 125km remaining from 188km
As the first climb of the day rears up, the gap to the three escapees remains much the same at 3:15.
The season is very much underway and the races just keep coming. Next week will be the second edition of the Tour Colombia 2.1 (previously known as the Colombia Oro y Paz) with Chris Froome and Team Sky headlining the start list. Our own Pat Malach will be at the race, and he wrote a detailed preview before he began his travels to the Southern Hemisphere. You can read it here.
Our three leaders keep nudging a little further up the road and their advantage is now four minutes. Meanwhile, as they climb the Alto de Culla, Preben Van Hecke has decided to attack from the peloton.
Cromwell looks for Canyon-SRAM to take initiative in Valencia https://t.co/aT1LfYWcb7 #VCV2019 #VueltaCVFeminas https://t.co/NzEMYCI4RW
@Cyclingnewsfeed Sat, 9th Feb 2019 11:24:30
The riders have created the first climb of the day with Rubio Hernandez claiming full points, meaning he has sealed up the mountains classification jersey. He was followed by Dillier and than Rodrigues.
- 110km remaining from 188km
We still have three more categorised climbs in today's stage, including the short, sharp rise to the finish line in Alcalà-Alcossebre. The average speed over the second hour of racing was a tidy 37kph.
Geraint Thomas, like several riders, is making his season debut in Valencia. He lost a little bit of time yesterday after a split in the bunch and is now 31 seconds down in the overall classification, but he remains satisfied with his form so far. Will he try something today? Read his comments following yesterday's stage here.
While Thomas is still up there in the overall classification, it is his teammate Diego Rosa that leads the way for Sky. Rosa is currently 20 seconds down on Boasson Hagen, sandwiched between Dan Martin and Jack Haig - two riders that could do well on today's stage.
Some news from the finish and that final climb to Alcossebre. "It has lots of 'steps'. A steep little chunk at the bottom, then flattens out, then kicks up to 20 per cent for a couple of hundred metres, then drops to about 12 per cent for the final 300 metres. Good road surface, wide, but very tough climb. There'll be differences for sure," says our reporter Alasdair Fotheringham.
The last time this finish was used in a race was the 2017 Vuelta a Espana, with Alexey Lutsenko winning from a breakaway. There were some changes in the overall classification on that day, too.
- 88km remaining from 188km
Before the riders reach that climb, they have two others to scale, first of which is La Bandereta. The climb is 4.4km and averages 6.7 per cent. As the leaders hit that climb, their advantage is 3:45.
While Lutsenko is not here at the Valenciana, his teammate Merhawi Kudus is. Incidentally, Kudus finished second to Lutsenko on that Vuelta stage in 2017. Kudus moved to Astana for this year from the Dimension Data team.
Dimension Data continue to work hard on the front of the peloton, keeping the three leaders close at hand. The chance of the break succeeding looks fairly slim at the moment.
As the gap drops a little bit more to 3:37, here is the peloton riding up La Bandereta.
Once again, Rubio Hernandez nabs the points at the top of the climb, with at least one more opportunity, and maybe two, to come.
Meanwhile, it is Dillier that takes the points at the intermediate sprint.
Here was Rubio Hernandez with his team earlier as they tried to bring back the initial breakaway, which he had missed.
The penultimate climb of the day is La Serratella, a 10.7km climb that averages 3.9 per cent.
The women's Valenciana will take place tomorrow and Canyon-SRAM are set to make their season debut there, along with a number of top women's teams. Also making her debut will be Zwift Academy winner Ella Harris. See what she had to say about it, here.
- 55km remaining from 188km
It seems that Rubio will not be taking the full points at the next climb, he has been dropped by his two companions. He won't be too disappointed, as he has all but secured the mountains jersey.
With Rubio dropped from the breakaway, the two leaders have been able to grow their advantage slightly to 4:07. Dimension Data still look comfortable at the front of the peloton. No panic yet.
- 51km remaining from 188km
Van Hecke has attacked out of the peloton again. He is sitting second in the mountains classification, though a long way back with just nine points.
Dillier takes the full points at the top of the penultimate climb, meanwhile Van Hecke continues his attack behind. No time gaps between him and the riders in front yet.
- 46km remaining from 188km
The peloton now crosses the top of the penultimate climb. The gap between them and the two leaders remains at 4:15.
Some discussions between Dilier and Rodrigues. The W52 rider looks like his at his limit, while Dilier looks comparatively comfortable. I'd expect Dilier to attack in the not too distant future.
- 39km remaining from 188km
Dillier pops back to the team car to get a few more refreshments. Rodrigues tucks in beside the car too. He gets a small push forward from Dillier, who then gives him a gel. Dillier wants Rodrigues to stick this out as far as possible.
Meanwhile, Van Hecke has been brought back. Rubio still in no man's land at the moment.
Having been dropped on the last climb, Rubio is back with the peloton. He should have done enough to secure the mountains jersey. He just needs to stay on his bike until the end of tomorrow.
- 33km remaining from 188km
The two leaders are pushing out their advantage again. It now stands at 4:30. If this was a flat stage, the pair would be almost a dead cert of taking the win, but it will be close with the steep finale. Nothing is impossible though.
The pace has slightly increased at the front of the bunch but they're not making any inroads into the two leaders just yet.
- 29km remaining from 188km
As anticipated, Dillier is the last man standing. Although, there was no attack from the Swiss man, Rodrigues just couldn't hold his wheel anymore. Can Dillier hold off the peloton?
- 27km remaining from 188km
The peloton continues to turn up the dial but Dillier is a strong time triallist and he's keeping them at bay for now. The gap is now 4:10 as the peloton strings out.
Dimension Data are finally getting a bit of help on the front of the peloton with Mitchelton-Scott moving up with Chris Juul Jensen. They have Jack Haig sitting in the top 10 at the moment and he could do something today. He's shown himself to be a climber that continues to grow in strength.
- 23km remaining from 188km
The peloton is really stringing out now as the riders make their way down a short descent. the gap to Dillier is still four minutes. That might not be enough for the stage leader.
AG2R La Mondiale put a couple of riders near the front, perhaps trying to slow down this chase? Interesting move by the French team.
There is a brief discussion between AG2R La Mondiale and Dimension Data before the French squad back off. Mitchelton-Scott continue to lead the way for now.
It continues to be Mitchelton-Scott followed by Dimension Data on the front of the peloton. Movistar are moving up for Alejandro Valverde though and Astana are not too far behind.
- 18km remaining from 188km
Naesen now moves up for AG2R La Mondiale. He seems frustrated about the TV moto on the front of the bunch and tries to shoo it away. Dillier is losing more time now and has just 3:22 on the bunch.
Dillier doing as much as he can to get aero and save energy on any small bit of descent. The peloton has the bit between their teeth and it's going to be tough for him to old them off.
Naesen expresses his frustration at the moto once again and it moves further up the road. The Dimension Data team will be less annoyed about it at this stage.
- 14km remaining from 188km
The pace has slowed a little before we hit this final climb and the peloton bunches up. Dillier still digging deep.
The final climb begins with just over three kilometres remaining. It might be short but it packs a punch with seconds around 20 per cent.
- 12km remaining from 188km
Bahrain-Merida now also getting into the much, there's a much more concerted effort to bring back the breakaway. Boasson Hagen is looking a bit more isolated as more teams get into the mix.
- 9km remaining from 188km
Dillier is leaking time at the moment and his lead is now just over two minutes. It's looking increasingly unlikely for him today.
- 8km remaining from 188km
Movistar and Astana getting in on the party at the front of the peloton. The group is thinning out under the pace but it's still fairly sizeable at the moment.
We can see CCC Team up there as well. They got a win yesterday with Greg Van Avermaet.
- 5km remaining from 188km
A squirt of an energy gel for Dillier but I don't think that will be enough for him. He will need much more than the 1:30 he currently has on this final climb.
Peloton strung out again, they have just over a kilometre to this final climb and everyone wants to be at the front.
Meanwhile, Dillier has started the final ascent and his lead is just 52 seconds.
- 3km remaining from 188km
The peloton takes the left turn and hit the climb and we have our first tentative moves off the front.
It was one of the Dimension Data riders that went off the front. It wasn't actually an attack but a rider moving into position.
We have two Movistar riders on the move now, but one swings off and sits up.
With one rider up the road, Valverde has attacked the peloton.
These little attacks have put Boasson Hagen in trouble. He has been dropped but he's doing his best to get back. This is going to be a hard three kilometres for the Norwegian.
Valverde is brought back by a chasing group and we now have a UAE Team Emirates rider on the attack. Dillier still has a small lead.
The UAE rider is Rui Costa. He catches Ruben Fernandez of Movistar and carries on. However, Merhawi Kudus has shot up the road and he's about to catch Dillier.
Kudus knows this road, he finished second when the Vuelta visited in 2017.
- 2km remaining from 188km
Kudus' teammate Sanchez is chasing him down with Costa on his wheel. No real reaction from behind.
The riders are on the toughest part of this climb and it's really testing some riders.
Adam Yates has attacked from the group of favourites and has mopped up Kudus. Behind, Rosa has been dropped and is riding with Boasson Hagen.
It must be said that Boasson Hagen is putting in a monster ride. This is about damage limitation.
We now have a group of about 8 or 9 riders up front with Yates, Izagirre, Haig, Valverde, Teuns and Martin, plus a few more.
Ben Hermans has been dropped from this lead group but he's working hard to get back on.
As I write, Hermans gets back on as the road levels off.
Jesus Herrada is also in that group and he puts a big dig on the front, with Yates and Izagirre in his wheel. There are splits behind them.
- 1km remaining from 188km
Valverde sees the danger and catches up and brings a few more riders with him. Yates attacks again inside the final kilometre.
Valverde is following him
Yates wins ahead of Valverde
Boasson Hagen crosses the line 48 seconds back. He'll lose the jersey, but that was a great ride from him.
Ion Izagirre finished fourth on the stage and he should be the new race leader.
This is how the stage finished
1 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 04:54:57
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
3 Pello Bilbao Lopez de Armentia (Spa) Astana Pro Team 00:00:02
4 Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro Team 00:00:03
5 Dan Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates 00:00:04
6 Sergio Higuita (Spa) Fundacion Euskadi 00:00:05
7 Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 00:00:12
8 Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 00:00:17
9 Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy 00:00:25
10 Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team 00:00:42
This is what that stage did to the overall classification. Boasson Hagen is still in the top 10 but Izagirre is the new race leader.
1 Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro Team 14:18:27
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 00:00:07
3 Pello Bilbao Lopez de Armentia (Spa) Astana Pro Team
4 Dan Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates 00:00:16
5 Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida 00:00:18
6 Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 00:00:29
7 Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 00:00:33
8 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 00:00:34
9 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data 00:00:46
10 Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates 00:00:48
That is it from our coverage of today's stage of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana. Tune in tomorrow for the final stage and head here for today's report, results and gallery.