Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto-Soudal) won the the 6th stage of the Vuelta a Espana, sprinting to the win ahead of Pawel Poljanski (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Enric Mas (Quickstep-Floors). Chris Froome (Team Sky) once again retained the overall race lead.
It was another difficult day of racing at the Vuelta a Espana with 5 categorised climbs making up the middle part of today’s 205km stage. As expected, there was a big battle to make it into the break today and it took just over 40km for 30 riders to go clear. Lachlan Morton was part of this escape for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka.
Team Sky was not keen on allowing such a big group to gain too much time so they set a fast tempo in the main bunch, keeping the gap around 2’00”. With soaring temperatures, a big fight to make the break initially and then to maintain it over a testing parcours, it made for an incredibly tough day on the bike. This would eventually take its toll on the break as Morton and 6 others dropped on the penultimate climb of the day.
When the final climb of the day was reached, Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) attacked from the peloton and blew the race to pieces. The big break imploded with only 5 survivors making it over the top. The peloton was in numerous small groups with 35km to go but the descent to the finish did allow for regrouping to take place. In the end, there were 3 main groups; the early attackers, the group of favourites with race leader Chris Froome and then the next group of GC contenders with Igor Anton.
At the finish line, only 43 seconds would separate these 3 groups. Marczynski took a fine win after spending all day in the break, Anton our best placed on the day in 37th but importantly, limited his time loss and held onto 17th position on GC. Once again though, our African Team was dealt another blow at the hands of illness with Nic Dougall having to abandon today. Dougall was very sick last night already, he started today’s stage but was just too depleted to finish.
Bingen Fernandez – Sport Director
Once again we thought it was a day for the break. In the end, it was but it was a lot more difficult than expected. There was a big group of 30 guys and some were dangerous for GC so Sky was chasing hard. So, the break drove hard and subsequently became smaller and smaller until just 3 guys survived. It was also a hot day, fast in the peloton and when Contador attacked it was really full gas. Today was a real race. It was good that Lachlan was in the break, he got dropped but today you could say he was just one of many who didn’t survive, it was that hard. We are now also down to 6 riders, we lost Nic to this virus that has been going through the team. I hope it stops here and this is the last member of our team we lose.