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Vuelta a Espana 2017: Stage 6


Live coverage of stage 6 of the Vuelta a España, with five categorised climbs on the 204.4km route from Vila-Real to Sagunt.


Vuelta a España race hub

Vuelta a España start list

Stage 5 report: Lutsenko triumphs at Ermita Santa Lucía

Contador bounces back in Vuelta a Espana's first summit finish



Hola and welcome to our live coverage of stage 6 of the 2017 Vuelta. A tricky one this - more than 200km and five categorised climbs, including a stiff cat-2 in the final 50km that's followed by a downhill run to the finish. We could well see a breakaway or a small group battling it out for the line. 

Riders and fans have gathered outside the famous El Madrigal stadium, home to the Villareal football team. That's where this stage is starting, and it will do so at 12.10 local time. 

Before we get going, let's catch up on yesterday's action. It was the first summit finish of the race (the first of many), and was of the short, steep variety that has made the Vuelta's name in recent years. Alexey Lutsenko won from the break, while a resurgent Alberto Contador and an aggressive Chris Froome finished with a composed Esteban Chaves, while several other GC contenders lost time. 


Report, results, photos, video - all in here

The riders are rolling. They'll head out through a neutralised zone, after which Javier Guillen will rise from the director's car and wave the race proper underway. That'll be in about 15 minutes or so. 

Here's Alberto Contador just a few moments ago. The three-time Vuelta champion had a disastrous start to this race - his final race - losing a heap of time on stage 3, but he looked strong yesterday, leading home the GC contenders on the first summit finish, with several big names distanced. Here's what he had to say.


Courtesy of the Vuelta, we have some insight into today's stage by one of the people who designed it - technical director Kiko Garcia. 


“When we decided to have a stage here, with the technical directors we aimed at showing beautiful things and looked for real challenges to make it hard and avoid a bunch gallop. The last climb is pretty steep. We should have a group of 30 to 40 riders tops at the finish," he says. 


"We want to offer ground for surprises on any given day. The leaders can't take it easy. A break has options. But I think riders like Lobato can win this and two or three teams should try to control the stage. It's also a perfect route for a rider like Luis Leon (Sanchez), a warrior with good climbing abilities. He can make it through a break.”


We're off!


The riders reach KM0 and the flag drops. Here come the first attacks, and we should see plenty of interest in getting into the break today.


Nothing's sticking in the first few kilometres as the peloton is lined out at fast pace. 


194km remaining from 204km

Manzana-Postobon's Hernando Bohórquez crashes but gets going again as the fast start to today's stage continues. Still no successful break after 10km. 


Plenty of attacks in the opening phase of this stage, but none are gaining any traction. Lots of teams will want to be represented in the break that does go, so if a move goes without them, they'll chase it down. Race leader Chris Froome's Sky team must also be vigilant and not allow a move to go that contains a rider who's not too far down on GC. 

Niki Terpstra (Quick-Step) and Valerio Agnoli (Bahrain-Merida) have opened up a gap on the peloton. 


It's short-lived as counter attacks go and the peloton continues to fly along.


Daniel Oss (BMC) and Simon Clarke (Cannondale-Drapac) are the latest duo to carve out an advantage...but it's soon all back together.


 #LV2017 current race situation is like an old Western movie gun fight... shots being fired everywhere from peloton but none effective!

@TeamDiData Thu, 24th Aug 2017 11:07:04

169km remaining from 204km

A group of around 20 riders has clipped off the front of the peloton. Could this be our break?


The riders are about to hit the first climb of the day. It's the Alto de Alcudia de Veo, and it's 11km long with an average gradient of 3.4%. It should be key in the concretisation of the breakaway. 



A couple more riders have jumped across to this escape group, but the peloton hasn't eased up and continues to chase around 20 seconds back down the road.


This looks like it could be it. The peloton is drifting back now, more than a minute in arrears. Sensing the moment, more riders have jumped away and are currently in between the bunch and the head of the race.

At the moment we have a group of around 20 at the head of the race, and a group of around 10 trying to bridge across.


We'll bring you a full list of names in the break shortly. 


The lead group (24 riders)


Enric Mas, Matteo Trentin (Quick Step)

Damiano Caruso (BMC)

Antonio Pedrero, José Joaquín Rojas, Marc Soler (Movistar Team)

Lennard Kämna (Team Sunweb)

Pawel Poljanski (Bora-Hansgrohe)

Clément Chevrier, Axel Domont (Ag2r La Mondiale)

Tom Scully, Toms Skujins, Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac)

Maxim Belkov, Marco Haller (Katusha-Alpecin),

George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo)

Sergei Chernetski (Astana)

Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto-Soudal)

Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida)

Lachlan Morton (Dimension Data)

Guillaume Bonnafond, Dani Navarro (Cofidis)

David Arroyo (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA)

Ricardo Vilela (Manzana-Postobón).


The chase group (11 riders) - 40 seconds back


Jarlinson Pantano (Trek-Segafredo)

Bob Jungels (Quick Step)

Cesare Benedetti (Bora-Hansgrohe)

Alexandre Geniez (Ag2r La Mondiale)

Daan Olivier (Team LottoNL-Jumbo)

Darwin Atapuma, Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates)

Jesper Hansen (Astana)

Maxime Monfort (Lotto-Soudal),

Arnaud Courteille (FDJ)

Larry Warbasse (Aqua Blue Sport)


The Astana duo of Alexey Lutsenko and Luis Leon Sanchez have jumped from the peloton on the climb and are in pursuit. 


The chase group makes it up to the lead group, so we have 34 riders at the head of affairs (Bonnafond was dropped). 


Bonnafond, however, has latched onto Lutsenko/Sanchez, and they're not far behind the lead group. 

154km remaining from 204km

Amid all that activity, Davide Villella has crested the Alto de Alcudia Veo in pole position to extend his lead in the king of the mountains classification.


That trio makes it across. So we have 37 riders in the front group. 


The peloton is not letting them sail away, however, and the gap stands at a modest 1:15. 


Team Sky are riding hard on the front of the peloton, clearly uneasy about giving such a large group much leeway. The principal threat to Froome's lead would be Luis Leon Sanchez, who is 3:24 down. 


Sky are one of only two teams not represented in the breakaway, along with Orica-Scott - the team of Esteban Chaves and the Yates twins. Chasing duties will therefore rest solely on their shoulders. 


148km remaining from 204km

The breakaway hits the second climb of the day. 


Puerto de Eslida: 5.3km at 5.1% (Category-3).


The climb is making for more change in the break as several riders lose contact.


The peloton, meanwhile, has slipped back to 3 minutes.


144km remaining from 204km

At the top of the climb, Villella adds a further three points to his KOM tally. It's another fruitful day for the Italian, who's way out in front in the standings. 

The riders dropped from the break: Trentin, Caruso, Lutsenko, Benedetti, Scully, Bonnafond, Haller, Courteille, Belkov, Geniez, Olivieir.


139km remaining from 204km

The pace has picked up in the peloton and the gap is coming down once again. 2:30 at the moment.


@Davide_villella #LV2017 Another 11 points up for grabs today and a max of nine tomorrow, so @Davide_villella will #rockthedots at least two more days!

@Ride_Argyle Thu, 24th Aug 2017 12:08:25


With the break down to 27 riders, Sky continue to ride hard in the peloton, with the gap still around 2:20. 


Here's the composition of the break after that sort-out


Jarlinson Pantano (Trek-Segafredo)

Bob Jungels, Enric Mas (Quick Step)

Antonio Pedrero, José Joaquín Rojas, Marc Soler (Movistar Team)

Lennard Kämna (Team Sunweb)

Cesare Benedetti, Pawel Poljanski (Bora-Hansgrohe)

Clément Chevrier, Axel Domont (Ag2r La Mondiale)

Tom Skujins, Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac)

George Bennett, Daan Olivier (LottoNL-Jumbo)

Darwin Atapuma, Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates)

Sergei Chernetski, Jesper Hansen, Luis León Sánchez (Astana)

Tomasz Marczynski, Maxime Monfort (Lotto-Soudal)

Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida)

Lachlan Morton (Dimension Data)

David Arroyo (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA)

Larry Warbasse (Aqua Blue Sport)

Ricardo Vilela (Manzana-Postobón)


We can add to the breakaway group Dani Navarro, who wasn't dropped. So that's 28 riders out front.


Katusha-Alpecin's Jose Goncalves abandons after crashing earlier in the stage.


119km remaining from 204km

After two hours of racing, the average speed is 42.8km, meaning we're ahead of the fastest predicted time schedule. 


2 minutes is the gap between the break and peloton as we approach the third climb of the day. 


Alto de Chirivilla: 7.9km at 4.1% (Category-3)


We all know that this is Alberto Contador's final race. But how did the Spaniard's decision to retire come about?


Cyclingnews editor Daniel Benson delves behind the scenes, to a Paris hotel room the morning after the Tour de France. 


Transfer Mechanics: Alberto Contador into retirement


108km remaining from 204km

On the climb Sky bring the gap down to 1:45. They're clearly in no mood to loan out the red jersey, even if efforts like these will add up and take their toll. 


Puncture for Pantano


Pantano is back with the front group after that puncture. The leaders are almost at the top of the climb and the gap is just 1:45. 

Davide Villella is getting a run for his money on the climbs today. Atapuma beat him to the top of the Alto de Chirivilla to take three points. Villella was second over the top with Monfort in third. Villella is still well clear in the monutains classification. 


If you missed the news earlier today, former pro Jack Bobridge has found himself in court in Australia on charges of selling MDMA. Read the full story here


Jungels and Monfort have pulled out a gap on the rest of the escapees on the descent. The gap is just 15 seconds at the moment. 


Interestingly, both Monfort and Jungels have teammates back in that second group on the road. Mas is back there for Quick-Step and Marczynski is in the group for Lotto Soudal. 


86km remaining from 204km

Team Sky still setting the pace in the peloton with Ian Stannard. The gap to the main group went up with that move from Jungels and Monfort but it is coming back down gain. They've got it back to 2:16.


The gap to Jungels and Monfort is growing and now stands at 45 seconds. The peloton is 2:22 back at the moment. 


Monfort asks the Quick-Step car for a drink. It's a very hot day out there and there's little time to drop back to his own car. 


In the chase group, there is a little bit of chaos as several riders drop back to get some fluids. There are so many teams represented in the move that there are quite a few team cars to move around. 


Bob Jungels is a great rider to have in a break with you, with his time trialling skills. The leading duo has continued to extend its advantage on the flat. They have 48 seconds on the 25 riders behind. 


Schultz of Caja Rural is back with the medical car after a fall. He's got a cut on his elbow, which the doctor is applying bandages to. Fraile has also reportedly been back to the doctor's car. 


Alberto Contador enjoyed something of a revival yesterday, finishing in a group with Chris Froome, Esteban Chaves and Michael Woods. He had this to say about his race so far. 


“I suffered a hard blow in Andorra, that wasn't my real level. There's nothing to be euphoric about but yesterday I felt closer to what I expected at La Vuelta. After Andorra, I felt it would be difficult to fight for the general classification. Now I need to recover and maintain the good sensations. I'm overwhelmed with the people's affection. I can only thank them.”


The rest of the break has got its act together and is eating into the advantage of our two leaders, Jungels and Monfort.

65km remaining from 204km

Jungels and Monfort are caught. Astana made that happen, and Chernetski is cooked as they hit the fourth climb of the day.


It's the Puerto del Oronet - 6.4km at 4% (Cat3)


The digs and accelerations come now as the break heads up the climb. 

Pantano is kicking on here. His acceleration has seen a few riders distanced inside the final several hundred metres of this climb. 


Atapuma nips round Pantano at the last second to grab maximum KOM points. Villella wasn't in the mix there, having lost ground at the start of the climb. 


Along with Villella and Chernetski, also dropped from the break were Morton, Soler, Warbasse and Bennett.


Sky continue their charge on the descent, though on the climb they let the gap stretch out slightly. 3:10 as it stands. 


The peloton has been reduced by that climb, and indeed by the intense pace we've had since KM0. There's a sizeable group trying to chase onto the back of the Sky-led peloton.


The peloton swells back up to something approaching its proper size. 


46km remaining from 204km

We're now on the approach to the final climb of the day, and this time it's a second-category ascent. 


It's the Puerto del Garbí - 9.3km at 5.1%


Garbi, 36 km to go. Super hard 2 kms. Moscon pace? Contador attack? Neither? (via #LV2017

@faustocoppi60 Thu, 24th Aug 2017 13:56:24


As you can see, there's a really steep section in the middle of this climb, with the gradient hitting 20%. We should be in for another shake-up in the breakaway.

Sky take the gap back down to 2:30 on the lower slopes.


The breakaway is staying together for now. 


Here come Trek in the peloton! Sky finally cede the first position as Contador's teammates really pile on the pressure. 


Contador attacks!

No gap for Contador but he goes again, and this time Froome is forced to respond.


Contador is reeled in but those accelerations have done big damage to the peloton.


Contador continues to bounce out of the saddle at every possible opportunity. This is the Contador we're used to - not the emoty legs of three days ago.


Onto the maximum gradients now for Contador and he's looking good as several riders emerge at the head of the peloton, Froome among them. 


Jungels has been caught having lost contact with the break. Chevrier now, too. 


Contador's advance is seeing many former breakaway riders reeled back in, while Enric Mas has forged clear out front.

Froome is locked onto Contador's wheel. Van Garderen behind him, followed by Chaves. 


Zakarin, Nibali, Aru all losing ground here. 


Pantano has dropped back from the break and is now pushing on for Contador. 


The Contador group is clear with just six riders - Pantano, Contador, Froome, Van Garderen, and one apiece from UAE and Movistar. 




It looked like we had a crash in the Contador group involving Van Garderen. The cameras, however, switch to Hansen and Domont in the break, who are both on the deck and in a bad way. 


Van Garderen crashed into the road and took out the Movistar rider. 


Contador and Froome press on together with Jan Polanc, who was in the break.

So, Contador and Froome are clear. Behind them the rest of the GC men have settled into a chase group, 15 seconds in arrears. 


Will Froome work? There's no doubting Contador's commitment to this cause, but Froome looks like he'd prefer to wait for teammates in the group behind. He's just following the wheel at the moment, as Pantano comes back through for Contador. 


Amazingly, replays show that Van Garderen came crashing down at exactly the same point as Domont and Hansen, almost careering into the AG2R rider as he slid across towards the roadside. 


We're onto the downhill now and Froome and Contador have caught more riders from the break and have joined them. 


28km remaining from 204km

Amid all this drama, three riders have emerged at the head of the race: Mas, Poljanski, Marczynski. 


Chasing them are Pedrero and Luis Leon Sanchez. 


The third group on the road is the Froome/Contador group (with breakaway remnants)


Not far behind them is the group containing the rest of the GC contenders. 

Man, this stage is bananas #LV2017 So bummed for Tejay.

@davedtowle Thu, 24th Aug 2017 14:42:15

The GC group containing Chaves, Nibali, Aru, Zakarin, the Yates' and others, has made it back to the Contador/Froome group. 


Meanwhile Sanchez and Pedrero have reached the three leaders to make it five out front. 

Pantano piles on the pressure once again in the GC group, and Froome's teammates come through for turns. They're kicking on, and that'll be because a GC man or two has been caught out. One of them is David de la Cruz, who's chasing with Miguel Angel Lopez. 

He's just 22, he's racing his first Grand Tour, but @EnricMasNicolau doesn't miss any opportunity to showcase his potential. #LV2017

@quickstepteam Thu, 24th Aug 2017 14:45:49

It's all over for the break, it seems, as their lead is slashed to five seconds. 


18km remaining from 204km

Pantano peels off and Contador pushes on, but the others aren't so keen. The Spaniard waves his arm in exasperation. 


And that means the break's lead grows back out to 15 seconds. 


What a nightmare for Van Garderen. He was looking so good, making that selection with Froome and Contador, but now he's not even in the De la Cruz chase group (which now also contains Simon Yates). 

14km remaining from 204km

The Sunweb duo in the GC group start to get things moving again, and they're closing in on the five leaders now. 


Van Garderen is in the fourth group on the road - 1:15 down. 


12km remaining from 204km

Poljanski, Marczynski, and Mas crack on, and they've found some more seconds again. 


There's another lull in the Froome group, and that means this leading trio have half a minute, all of a sudden.

Roche, fourth overall at the start of the day, isn't hanging around for Van Garderen. He's in the Froome group and doing turns. 


9km remaining from 204km

Sam Oomen leads the Froome group but they're now 40 seconds in arrears, as we head inside the final 10km.


Sanchez and Pedrero might be feeling pretty foolish. With the GC group just five seconds behind, they eased up and waited, while the other three pressed on and rolled the dice once more -  a decision that's been rewarded.


It's looking good for the three leaders, as they take 38 seconds into the final 7.5km


The De la Cruz and Simon Yates group has made it back to the GC group. So Van Garderen is the big loser today - he's still 1:10 back in a group that also contains Louis Meintjes and Steven Kruijswijk. 


5km remaining from 204km

Polanc attacks from the Froome group (the second group on the road). Sanchez follows but I think the ship has sailed. 


3km remaining from 204km

The advantage of the three leaders comes down to 27 seconds. 

The trio have a decent gap but they can't really afford to play cat and mouse. 


Van Garderen is now alone and chasing through the cars, and he crashes!


Truly a day to forget for the American. His wheel slept out as he came through a roundabout. He was closing in on the Froome group.

2km remaining from 204km

2km to go, and the trio have just 20 seconds now over Sanchez and Polanc. 


Mas leads but sweeps over. They continue to work together for the time being.


1km remaining from 204km

Mas doesn't really attack but he opens a small gap. The others quickly wake up as they head into the final km


Here we go, then. Three-up sprint


Mas leads into the final 500m


Mas continues to lead...


Who's going to jump?


Mas opens it up!


Here comes Marczynski...


Tomasz Marczynski wins stage 6 of the Vuelta a España


Poljanski was second, while Mas faded to third. 

Sanchez and Polanc crossed the line a few seconds back, followed several seconds later by the Froome group. 


Despite the information we had earlier, the De la Cruz group never made it back onto the Froome group, and the Spaniard leads them over the line several seconds back. 


That is, without doubt, the biggest win of Tomasz Marczynski's career. The 33-year-old has twice been Polish national champion and he won the Tour du Maroc in 2015 but this is obviously on a different level. 

Top 5


1 Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Lotto Soudal 4:47:02
2 Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
3 Enric Mas (Spa) Quick-Step Floors 00:00:08
4 Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team
5 Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE-Team Emirates


We're still waiting on confirmation of Van Garderen's final time loss. 


Van Garderen concedes 17 seconds to Froome et al. He managed to latch onto the back of the De la Cruz/Simon Yates group in the final kilometre. 


So here's the new GC


1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 22:54:37
2 Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-Scott 00:00:11
3 Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing 00:00:13
4 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing 00:00:27
5 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 00:00:36
6 David de la Cruz (Spa) Quick-Step Floors 00:00:40
7 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 00:00:49
8 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott 00:00:50
9 Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac 00:01:13
10 Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott 00:01:26


"I's an incredible emotion," says Marczynski. "I came here really wanting to win a stage. and to do it so soon...


"The last ascent, we climbed really fast. We got to the final with two and then a few others came into town. Then we were all looking at each other, but I said, 'I'm not going to let any attack go without me. If I don't have enough strength in the final, so be it, but I'm going to give it my all'. Since I've been in the break all day, I've got to take advantage of this opportunity'.

"It all worked out in the end."

What a stage. It was already action-packed before Alberto Contador decided to take up arms on the final climb, and the Spaniard caused considerable damage, with Van Garderen and De la Cruz losing time, and Froome appearing isolated towards the finish. A big shake-up for just 17 seconds on two or three rivals, yes, but that's Contador's spirit. At the very least he disrupted the Sky procession and made a proper race of it - and that's what the Spaniard has promised in the final race of his career. 





BMC DS Yvan Ledanois speaks to Eurosport


"It was bad luck for us today, because Tejay was in the group with Contador. We spoke with him, said 'easy Tejay'. He had good legs but then crashed with Betancur, and you can lose everything with a crash like that. We were behind, we changed his bike, and took it group by group, and we nearly caught Froome. So after the two crashes, he's not in luck today, but I hope it's good for the next days.


"The Vuelta is not finished. Three weeks with his level, I think there'll be a lot of surprises every day. Hard stages with 35 degree heat. We'll look ahead now."

Here's Chris Froome, speaking to Eurosport


"The guys did another amazing job today, absolutely amazing. From start to finish they were all over that race. I've got them to thank for still being in the jersey this evening. 


"Of course it's not easy but I don't have much option - I have to follow when Alberto goes. Even though he's lost tome time he's still a dangerous threat. He's shown just how strong and tenacious he is and he's going to keep fighting all the way to the end of this Vuelta, I'm sure."

Here's our report page, where you can find a full write-up, results, photos, and (soon) video highlights.


Vuelta a Espana: Marczynski wins stage 6 in Sagunto


"Anyone you ask, they’ll say it was a super demanding stage, with barely a moment to catch your breath," says Alberto Contador.


"It was a perfect situation to drop some GC guys, important guys, When I attacked I wanted to make it hard and I knew that if some other guys came with me it could be interesting. From my point of view I thought there’d be more collaboration. There were teams there who stood to benefit, who had two or three riders with their leader, and were in a position to distance other riders. Maybe further down the line they’ll have to take advantage of these opportunities. Days like this can often end up being more important even than the Angliru."

Contador clearly not best pleased with some of his fellow GC contenders. The Spaniard spoke at length and you'll soon be able to read the full story on CN, courtesy of Alasdair Fotheringham.


All the instant post-stage quotes in one handy place? Here you go...


Vuelta a España: Stage 6 finish line quotes


I said it before and I'll say it again. What an honour to race with @albertocontador here @lavuelta. Great teamwork and a spectacular fight

@koendekort Thu, 24th Aug 2017 16:25:41


The cameras didn't catch this, but De la Cruz reveals he crashed on the final climb, where Contador attacked. He says he had good legs so he lost those 17 seconds through bad luck. 


Es una pena ceder tiempo cuando las piernas son buenas. Me caí subiendo el Garbí y traté de minimizar las pérdidas…

@delacruz_sbd Thu, 24th Aug 2017 16:29:54

The transfer news continues to come in today, as AG2R La Mondiale announced they've signed Silvan Dillier from BMC to a three-year deal.

There's big news for the Israel Cycling Academy as well. The Pro Continental team has signed Ben Herman from BMC and Ruben Plaza from Orica-Scott.


Alberto Contador's attack today really ratcheted up the tension in the overall battle. Cyclingnews' Alasdair Fotherigham has the reactions. Read more HERE.


Chris Froome said after stage 6 that Contador's attacks were very "impressive." He expects more of the same in the coming stages. Read what he had to say HERE.


If you missed today Vuelta action you can catch up with this highlights video. Watch it HERE.


Tejay van Garderen crashed twice in today' stage, but the American persevered and saved his GC hopes. Read Alasdair Fotheringham's report HERE.


That's it for us today. Be sure to check Cyclingnews for more on-site Vuelta reporting, and come back here tomorrow for live updates from stage 7


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