Vuelta a España (st. 6)
Valverde -5th overall-, Quintana (8th), four other Blues into selected, 50-rider front group after crashes and splits in San Javier finale. Bouhanni (COF) wins at group sprint; Molard (GFC) still in red.
The Movistar Team completed another near-flawless stage on day six of the Vuelta a España -150km from Huércal-Overa to San Javier- to avoid all setbacks on course. The squad directed by José Luis Arrieta and Pablo Lastras had six riders into the selected first peloton, split after crashes and crosswinds, and avoided all major incidents to keep its leaders in full contention.
A puncture for Alejandro Valverde just over 30km from the end, right before the group was torn apart, didn’t kept the Spaniard from joining a leading bunch which also featured Imanol Erviti, Daniele Bennati, Andrey Amador, Richard Carapaz and Nairo Quintana, riding incredibly well into the crosswinds. The first group -where Nacer Bouhanni (COF) took the day’s honours- put nearly two minutes on a second echelon including Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Wilco Kelderman (SUN).
Valverde remains in 5th place overall, with Quintana in 8th spot, before two stages with uphill finishes and tricky run-ins towards the end. The arrival to Pozo Alcón on Friday (185km) will be preceded by the Alto del Ceal (Cat-2), just twelve kilometers from the end.
Alejandro Valverde: “It was a very difficult day because of the wind, with lots of nerves all the time until it was eventually split into many groups. I had a rear wheel puncture just out of Cartagena, right at the zone where we expected those echelons to form, but luckily, we were able to change that wheel quickly and I could join the group back before the splits formed. As long as it doesn’t affect us, it’s great, but this is a 21-day stagerace – we know setbacks are bound to happen and we have to manage our way through them. I can only thank my team-mates for bringing me into the front group. In such a nervous day, where anything can happen, we did really, really well.”
- 01 Nacer Bouhanni Cofidis 3h58'36"
- 02 Danny van Poppel LottoNLJumbo "
- 03 Elia Viviani Quick Step "
- 22 Nairo Quintana Movistar Team "
- 24 Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team "
- 38 Richard Carapaz Movistar Team "
- 36 Imanol Erviti Movistar Team "
- 44 Daniele Bennati Movistar Team "
- 46 Andrey Amador Movistar Team "
- 98 Nelson Oliveira Movistar Team +2'11"
- 137 Winner Anacona Movistar Team +4'46"
- 01 Rudy Molard 22h26'15"
- 02 Michal Kwiatkowski Team Sky +41"
- 03 Emanuel Buchmann Bora-Hansgrohe +48"
- 05 Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team +53"
- 08 Nairo Quintana Movistar Team +1'14"
- 21 Richard Carapaz Movistar Team +3'59"
- 53 Winner Anacona Movistar Team +13'37"
- 71 Andrey Amador Movistar Team +18'52"
- 76 Nelson Oliveira Movistar Team +20'12"
- 115 Imanol Erviti Movistar Team +35'51"
- 125 Daniele Bennati Movistar Team +40'22"