The 22-year-old Spaniard fought out the stage 6 finale in Sagunto in a three-man group with Pole's Tomasz Marczynski and Pawel Poljanski ultimately getting the better of him. Mas though did enough to earn a visit to the podium for the combativity award.
"We went full gas from the start of the stage. It was really crazy and really tough, but I kept pushing and believing in our chances. I felt good on the climbs, so I attacked on the last ascent of the day to see what the others can do, but also to increase our gap on the chasers, which we heard we're coming back on us pretty fast," said Mas.
Mas came into the Vuelta off the back of second place at the Vuelta a Burgos, where he won the young rider classification. Having assisted teammate Yves Lamperat in his stage 2 win and Matteo Trentin in his stage 4 victory, took the opportunity of riding for a personal result with both legs on stage 6.
"I know that being a neo-pro and getting onto the podium of a Grand Tour stage it's good result, but I'd lie if I would say I'm not disappointed on missing out on the win; on the other hand, I am happy with how I rode and felt, which is encouraging," said Mas. "This stage showed me that I'm in a good condition and I hope I can still show something in the next two weeks."
Having ridden into second place overall on stage 3 in Andorra, David De La Cruz dropped to fifth place on stage 5 and again slipped down the standings on stage 6 to sixth place. The best placed Spaniard on the general classification was put under pressure by Alberto Contador's attacks on the final climb of the day. De la Cruz explained the work of Trentin, who leads the points classification, was crucial to limiting his losses.
"It was a hard day. When Alberto Contador accelerated, I responded, but then I hit the ground after touching Barguil's wheel," de la Cruz said. "I managed to come back, but having spent so much energy took its toll on me on the downhill. Fortunately, with 15 kilometers to go, we were joined by a group in which I could find Matteo, who rode his heart out for me, and I'm very grateful for that. It's a pity I lost some time today, but on the plus side the legs are good, which is important for the upcoming stages. Hopefully, tomorrow I will feel good and have a quieter day in the saddle."
Having won five stages of the Giro d'Italia and five at the Tour de France, Mas and co will likely continue the chase for more wins to match its previous Grand Tour hauls in 2017.
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