Another scorching hot day in the Vuelta and the peloton screamed through Andalucia to quickly find some shade in Cordoba. The flat finish meant that the sprinters were chomping at the bit for the finish line but most of them got a punch smack in the kisser when the Alto de Catorce por ciento (literally the “Peak of 14%”) was on the itinerary 20km out. It was painful to see that slaughter.
Leopard-Trek set a pace as hot as the day up the Alto and tore the peloton to pieces. When Leopard-Trek had burned all their matches, Liquigas was happy to take over reeling Moncoutie and Martin and then tearing their faces off on the descent. Into the final three km and there were four! Liquigas riders (Nibali, Sagan, Capecchi and Agnoli) and Pablo Lastras. Liquigas was primed to get the win and bonus seconds for Nibali, plus any advantage they had over the chasers. However, Nibali started his sprint too early and Lastras passed him in the final 50km, but thankfully for Liquigas, Peter Sagan was on the ball and saw Lastras about to take the win and passed him with ease avoiding a big embarrassment for the team.
Still, a big day for Liquigas and Nibali as many of the favorites were torn to pieces and Nibali made small gains on some (17″ on Rodriguez and Scarponi), and slightly bigger gains (+23″) on many more. Sylvain Chavanel lives to fight another day in the red jersey.
Stage 6 Top Ten
1. Peter Sagan (Liquigas)_______4h42’54”
2. Pablo Lastras (Movistar)
3. Valerio Agnoli (Liquigas)
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas)
5. Eros Capecchi (Liquigas)_____+3″
Full stage standings: La Vuelta
Overall Classification after Stage 6
1. Sylvain Chavanel (Quickstep)_____22h41’13”
2. Daniel Moreno (Katusha)_________+15″
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas)________+16″
4. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)_____+23″
5. Jacob Fuglsang (Leopard)________+25″
6. Fredrick Kessiakoff (Astana)______+41″
7. Maxime Monfort (Leopard)________+44″
8. Sergio Pardilla (Movistar)________+49″
9. Marzio Brusheghin (Movistar)____+52″
10. Kevin Seeldreyers (Quickstep)___+53″
Full GC standings: La Vuelta