Vuelta (st. 6) / Poitou-Charentes (st. 3-4)
Morkov (TST) wins bunch sprint in Cáceres after overtaking Martin (OPQ) over the finish line; no troubles for Movistar Team. Herrada (6th), Madrazo (10th) get close to GC podium in Poitou-Charentes
On the breakaway from the very beginning of the stage, World time trial champion Tony Martin (OPQ) fell only 25 meters short for victory on stage six of the Vuelta a España, over 175km with no categorized climbs between Guijuelo and Cáceres. The German was beaten by the sprinters -with Morkov (TST) in the lead, victorious- after a long, solo escape which didn’t saw any troubles nor incidents for the Movistar Team riders in the process.
The telephone squad kept Alejandro Valverde always well protected at the front towards the menace of the wind in the Extremadura plains, the Murcian staying in 5th overall, twenty-one seconds behind Nibali (AST). Friday will bring the last stage before the Andalusian mountains of this weekend, the longest so far in this year’s Spanish grandtour with 206km from Almendralejo to Mairena del Aljarafe near Sevilla.
Herrada shines, Madrazo surprises
Mixed feelings after the crucial day in the 2013 Tour du Poitou-Charentes, a doble sector from Charroux to Civray with a 109km road stage in the morning and a 23k ITT for the evening fraction. After Bouhanni’s (FDJ) third consecutive sprint victory -with Enrique Sanz in 9th place,- sights were set on the three strongest specialists from Movistar Team for the individual fight: Alex Dowsett, Andrey Amador y Jesús Herrada.
However, the Briton and the Costa Rican lost time in the second part of the TT after good intermediate references, losing out on the top-20 as Voeckler (EUC) took a surprising win and the overall leadership. Herrada and a surprising Madrazo, departing earlier, were 6th and 10th respectively, with the Cantabrian (now 11th in the GC) just 20 seconds behind the provisional, overall podium completed by Ignatiev (KAT) and Gérard (BSE). Friday will bring a flat, yet technical stage five, with a short, tough slope (11%) in Poitiers’ final circuit (194km).