Another dramatic day on stage 6 of the Vuelta a España saw the race lead change once again as Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo) cracked on the final uphill test, while Magnus Cort (EF Education-Nippo) held off a late charge from Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) to win the stage.
Roglič finished on the same time as Cort and created a neat gap on his main rivals in the general classification, with Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-PremierTech) and Enric Mas (Movistar) finishing four seconds back and Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) a further four seconds in arrears.
The move from Roglič puts the two-time defending champion back in the race lead with a 25-second buffer Mas, and 36 seconds over the Spaniard’s teammate Miguel Angel Lopez. In fact, Movistar sit second through to fourth in the overall standings, with Alejandro Valverde at 41 seconds, tied on time with Roglič's main rival, Bernal.
It was Movistar who did most of the damage leading up to the final climb, with the bunch splitting several times as echelons formed. The biggest casualty was Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo) who lost contact twice and, although he made it back to the peloton just before the short sharp final test, eventually had to slip back and concede 2:50 to Roglič.
The third-placed finisher from last year is now in 33rd position overall, at 4:28 – his hopes for a high place in this year’s edition now all but over.
Carthy wasn’t the only GC rider to lose time, though. Although the rest of the gaps were relatively small, it was telling that Bernal once more couldn’t follow Roglič on the climb. He wasn’t the only Ineos rider to lose ground, with Adam Yates shipping 25 seconds and Richard Carapaz 27. Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) lost 25 seconds, too, with Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) finishing on the same time as Carapaz.
Lilian Calmejane (AG2R Citroën) had started the day in third overall but he slipped back to eighth as the majority of the GC contenders moved up two or three places. Vlasov’s fourth place saw him climb five places and he now sits sixth at 53 seconds and on the same time as Ciccone.
Landa remains in ninth, while Fabio Aru's (Qhubeka NextHash) overall consistency has seen him move from 12th to 10th. Felix Großschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe) made the biggest leap in the top 20, moving up 11 places to 15th.
Roglič's lead is far from insurmountable at this point, and the gaggle of Movistar riders on his shoulder will be a concern, but the Slovenian looks relatively comfortable at this point in the race. Bernal in sixth remains the biggest threat on paper, but the Colombian will need to start making inroads, or at the very least stem the small but important time losses, if he is to take his second Grand Tour win of 2021.
With Carapaz now over two minutes down, and Yates at 1:22, Bernal has taken at least another step to cementing his place as Ineos’ out-right leader. However, with 1:17 separating the top 10 riders, the race dynamic and standings are likely to change once again on stage 7 when the race finishes at the top of the first-category Balcón de Alicante.
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma||21:04:49|
|2||Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team||0:00:25|
|3||Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Movistar Team||0:00:36|
|4||Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team||0:00:41|
|5||Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers|
|6||Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech||0:00:53|
|7||Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo||0:00:58|
|8||Lilian Calmejane (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team||0:01:04|
|9||Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain Victorious||0:01:12|
|10||Fabio Aru (Ita) Qhubeka NextHash||0:01:17|
|11||Adam Yates (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers||0:01:22|
|15||Felix Großschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe||00:02:09|
|17||David de la Cruz (Spa) UAE Team Emirates||0:02:14|
|18||Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers||0:02:18|
|19||Louis Meintjes (RSA) Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert||0:02:19|
|33||Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Education-Nippo||0:04:28|
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