Skip to main content
Live coverage

Vuelta a España 2012: Stage 6


Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage from stage 6 of the Vuelta, a 175.4km stage from Tarazona to Jaca.

This stage isn’t complicated at all until the final 20km or so. Heading from Rioja into Aragón, it finishes in the winter resort of Jaca. Just before Jaca, the riders will tackle the first of two cat 3 climbs. This is the Puerto de Oroel, which is the highest of the pair but far easier than the Alto Fuerte de Rapitán that quickly follows. The Rapitán looks tougher than most cat 3 ascents, climbing for almost 4km at more than 8 per cent, with sections of 14 per cent and the stage finish at the summit. It will be interesting to see how the flyweight climbers match up against the puncheurs and more powerful riders.


145km remaining from 175km

Martijn Maaskant (Garmin-Sharp), Joost Van Leijen (Lotto Belisol Team), Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-Dcm Pro Cycling Team), Pieter Weening (Orica – GreenEdge) and Kristof Vandewalle (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) are the five riders on the attack. That's a decent looking group in terms of horsepower and talent but it will be a big ask to stay clear with the GC battle so close.

Here's where we stood on GC before the start of this stage:

De Gendt is the highest placed rider on GC, at 07:22 behind Rodriguez. They Spaniard won't want to give the Belgian too much room. De Gendt finished third in this year's Giro and although he started slowly in this race, he's more than a threat for the final week.


De Gendt spoke at the start of the stage this morning. The Giro podium rider had this to say:

Maaskant is in the break. I remember him being a break at the Vuelta a couple of year's ago and losing out to Roux. Anyway, Maaskant will be at Garmin next season but it's going to be a important year for him. With Vanmarcke leaving, Haussler out of contract, Garmin will be looking to the Dutch rider for results in the Classics. He's been 4th in both Flanders and Roubaix but has had injury problems in the last couple of years. If Nuyens signs for the team that could ease the burden.

131km remaining from 175km

Fabian Cancellara will have another op on his shoulder, thus ruling him out of the worlds. This would mean it'll be the first time since the dawn of time he's not won a TT worlds at least once in two years. You can read the story here.

Jan Ullrich, who with the help from the late Vandenbroucke, won the Vuelta in 1999 (still the best edition of the race in the last 20 years, in my opinion) says Sky should have waited for Valverde a couple of stages ago. Agree with him or not, here's the story.

And Dr Michael Ashenden, he of anti-doping fame, has told Cyclingnews that the UCI should work with USADA and not against them in the case involving Lance Armstrong. Ashenden also talks about whether a positive test could have been covered up.

In transfer news, Petacchi will sit down to thrash out a new deal with Lampre. Rumour was he was heading to join De Gendt but his agent has said that's just a rumour and nothing more.

120km remaining from 175km

Weening, 31, is of course the last Dutch rider to win a stage of the Tour de France. That was back in 2005, when the race went from Germany to a stage finish in Gérardmer. Weening edged out Kloden, and I think Valverde was a distant third that day too.

Leijen, he's a solid domestique and former teammate of De Gendt. He signed for Lotto at the start of the year and this is his first grand tour.

111km remaining from 175km

Weening has a problem with his Scott bike and needs assistance at the moment. Back at the head of the bunch and Katusha continue to control the pace duties. Today's final climb a good chance for Rodriguez to extend his lead in GC. There's talk that he might try and lose his race lead though and give another team the responsibility of controlling the race for the coming few days.

Daniel Moreno, Rodriguez' teammate, is another rider tipped for the win today. However wining the stage, and collecting the 20 bonus seconds could move him into the race lead, depending on where Froome and Rodriguez finish.

Valverde, after losing the leader's jersey two days ago, could be the biggest threat. He's 36 seconds down but clearly in form after his strong ride at Arrate and even up to Estación de Valdezcaray.

Meana and Teklehaymanot have both crashed in the bunch. We'll bring you an update on the pair as soon as we can.

We've been racing for two hours, covered just under 80 kilometres and the five-man break holds around a 3minute lead on the bunch.

Meana and Teklehaymanot have both made it back to the safety of the peloton. The leaders, meanwhile, have a gap of 2:55.

82km remaining from 175km

72km remaining from 175km

The bunch are starting to stretch out already with Katusha on the front. The cross-winds are picking up so this could be an ideal opportunity to try and split the field.

Maaskant takes his turn on the front of the break. De  Gendt is back in fourth wheel, with Weening just behind him.

Can't quite imagine Rodriguez willingly giving up his race lead after Katusha do all of this work on the front. The gap at 3:07, with 63 kilometres to go.

The pace has dropped from the bunch and the gap has gone out to 3:32. It looks like Valverde advised the Katusha leader to ease off.

49km remaining from 175km

Both Katusha and Movistar are on the front though with Valverde right on the front of the Movistar train..

40km remaining from 175km

The gap is still holding at around 3:30, with perfect pace setting from Katusha and Movistar.Van Leijen is still hanging on so we've effectively four riders contributing to the effort in the break.

Weening looks good. Weening has taken a big turn on the front.

A touch of wheels at the back of the bunch with a Cofidis rider and Cataldo forced to chase back.

Flecha has been back at the team Sky car. He'll look to move up near the front and help Froome stay out of trouble.

30km remaining from 175km

The Lotto rider comes through and take a turn as the road levels out but the bunch are eating into the lead and it's down to 2:43.

26km remaining from 175km

And Van Leijen has blown and  he's been caught and passed by the bunch.

Rabon and a number of other riders have been dropped from the bunch.

23km remaining from 175km

Quintana has been doing most of the damage on the front of the bunch. BMC have put their riders near the front too. Gilbert and Ballan for the stage? Long shots.

KOM leader Simon Clarke has been dropped.

Contador has put three men on the front and you can see his bobbing head just a few riders back as he climbs out of the saddle.

Van den Broeck, Lotto, is right at the back of the peloton. He'll look to actually lose more time and try for a stage later in the race.

Saxo let Sky do some of the work but they're back on the front of the peloton again.

19km remaining from 175km

Maaskant has blown as so has Vandewalle. That leaves De Gendt and Weening up the road.

And de  Gendt has dropped Weening now too.

De Gendt is on the descent of the penultimate climb and has 48 seconds on the Saxo-led peloton.

Saxo aren't going full gas on the descent but they'll be looking to take up the pace again once they're  on the final climb. This might give De Gendt a chance of winning the stage.

13km remaining from 175km

Saxo have increased the pace again. 11km to go.

They're racing at 78kph as they descend and head towards the final climb to the finish.

7km remaining from 175km

The gap is 13 seconds.

Movistar move up as Sky try and push the pace.

It's virtually a sprint just to reach the foot of the climb near the front.

Lastras is on the front, Cunego is there too.

As De Gendt starts the climb.

5km remaining from 175km

Froome, Valverde Roche, Contador, Rodriguez, they're all there. Moreno too.

Rojas  is setting the pace for Valverde

Froome is in second wheel

De Gendt has been caught.

The main field has started to split but no attacks from the favourites yet.

Sky are doing the pace work with Uran leading, Froome on his wheel.

And Anton has been dropped again.

Roche looks to be struggling, with 2km to go.

And Mollema has been dropped.

Three Sky riders still on the front.

Contador is on Rodriguez's wheel

Valverde is there too and Gesink has been dropped too.

Cobo is at the back of the leading group.

1km to go.

As Cobo starts to lose ground.

Sky still have three men on the front and they're upping the pace again.

Just 500 to go.

And Froome takes it up

Only Rodriguez has  gone with him. Contador and Valverde dropped.

And Rodriguez comes through and takes the win

Froome is second.

Valverde is third and Contador is fourth.

Contador didn't look his usual self on the climb and he was marking riders on the lower slopes. When Froome moved the front after the work from Uran he was unable to follow.

1 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling
3 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team
4 Alberto Contador (Esp) Team Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank
5 Eros Capecchi (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
6 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling
7 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale

Here's where we stand on GC after stage 6.  A good day for Rodriguez, Froome but Contador was dropped at the end on a climb that he should have been able to match Froome on.

1 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 21:45:06
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:10
3 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank 0:00:35
4 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling 0:00:43
5 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:00:53
6 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:54
7 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:04
8 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:01:12
9 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha Team 0:01:17
10 Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:34

Thanks for joining us today. Remember you can find our race report,  photos and results, right here.

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Latest on Cyclingnews