Vuelta a Espana 2016: Stage 6 – Maiden victory for Yates (S), Atapuma keeps red

Orica-Bike Exchange’s Simon Yates attacked in the final few kilometres of the race and accelerated away to solo across the line some 20 seconds ahead of Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), who sprinted out of the chasing bunch ahead of Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo), who recorded his second consecutive podium. The main contenders all finished together, so Darwin Atapuma (BMC) stays in red.

Rider of the race

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Hurrah! It’s a maiden Grand Tour and WorldTour victory for 24-year-old Simon Yates, who nipped out of the peloton to follow an attack from Dani Moreno in the last 3km. He then countered, zooming past the Movistarlet to overhaul the last man standing from the break, IAM-cat Mathias Frank. A nervous look over his shoulder before crossing the line, arms aloft, to deliver a trademark, opportunistic win for Orica-BikeExchange. The win has put Simon in 10th overall.

With a win in the recent Prueba Villafranca and a fourth place in the Tour of Burgos, Simon is obviously in fine form after his return to racing from a four-month ban. His team’s designated race leader, Esteban Chaves, is sitting pretty in fifth overall, so this win is icing on the cake for his team and confirms their wise decision in re-signing the Yates twins for another two years.

Yesterday’s crash

Other than wishing all the riders who hit the deck a speedy recovery, I refrained from commenting on Steven Kruijswijk‘s (LottoNL-Jumbo) collision with an unmarked post, largely because I hadn’t seen the incident. Now that I have, I am horrified. Accidents like this shouldn’t happen as the Vuelta has a team driving ahead of the race to check that there’s no obstacles or problems. Race organisers were right to apologise and launch an enquiry, as lessons need to be learnt and heeded but wholly-avoidable incidents such as this one should never happen in the first place. In addition, I don’t believe the UCI should hide behind the race organisers, it needs to lay down standards. A number of riders have already made helpful suggestions. What are you waiting for?

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Stage results

1 Simon Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) 4:05:00

2 Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) +0:20

3 Fabio Fellini (Trek-Segafredo) +0:22

4 Ben Hermans (BMC) same time

5 Kenny Elissonde (FDJ) s/t


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1 Darwin Atapuma (BMC) 21:45:21

2 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +0:28

3 Chris Froome (SKY) +0:32

4 Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +0:38

5 Esteban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange) same time


Points leader: Gianni Meersman (Etixx-QuickStep)

King of the Mountains leader: Alexandre Geniez (FDJ)

Combined classification leader: Darwin Atapuma (BMC)

Team classification leader: Movistar

Stage’s Most Combative: Omar Fraile (Dimension Data)

For full stage review: Cycling News

Header image: Triumphant Simon Yates (©GETTY/Corbis Sport/Tim de Waele) 

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