Daryl Impey (Orica-Scott) won stage 6 of the Volta a Catalunya, sprinting to a nice win ahead of race leader Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Arthur Vichot (FDJ) placed 3rd.
It was another tough climbing day today at the Volta a Catalunya but the racing didn’t unfold quite as expected. With still 140km to race of the 180km stage, a big split in the peloton saw 50 riders go clear with all the main GC favourites represented, except for Chris Froome (Team Sky). Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka was happy to have Lachlan Morton and Natnael Berhane make this elite front group.
It was then a race between Team Sky and the few GC contender teammates in the front group. The gap held at around a minute for some time but eventually it gradually started to open up. When it reached 2’30” with 90km to go, Sky gave up the chase and the gap ballooned to over 13 minutes.
The main obstacle of the day was still to present itself, the 10km Alt de la Musara climb, peaking with 38km to go. It was on this climb that our 2 African Team riders came unstuck. Accelerations by Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) ensured only 36 riders made it over the top of the climb together. It was then a downhill run to the finish where Impey won the small bunch sprint.
Alex Sans Vega – Sport Director
It was a tough stage today made difficult be the unique situation of the GC riders in the front split trying to stay away from the Froome group. For us, we had Natnael and Lachlan in the front group and this was good as they could sit on as the race within the race unfolded. The pace was always high though, and this made it a very tough stage and there wasn’t much place to hide in the front group. Eventually the Froome group gave up but still they pushed in the front group. We hoped Natnael and Lachlan could make it to the climb and then over with the front guys but it wasn’t to be. Natnael just missed the front and because there was an 8km flat before the descent, there was no chance to come back to the front. When nearly 50 riders miss the time cut, you know it was a difficult day.