Another hot day, another lumpy parcours and another win from a big break. Victory was contested in a three-up sprint between Enric Mas, Pawel Poljanski and Tomasz Marczynski who were part of today’s mass break-out on stage 6 of Vuelta a Espana 2017. The trio emerged at the front of the race with about 30km to go, just before the final summit. Mas led into the last 500m but was mugged by the more experienced Poles, with Marczynski emerging victorious and his compatriot taking second while Mas faded. Most of the favourites, including race leader Chris Froome, finished 26 seconds behind the podium. The big loser (17 secs) of the day was Tejay van Garderen with a crash, a puncture and a second crash.
Rider of the RaceEmbed from Getty Images
He’s not tasted victory since he rode for Conti team Torku Sekerspor in 2015, but today Tomasz Marczynski‘s enjoying multiple wins: his first Grand and WorldTour victory, plus Rider of the Race. A journeyman professional who’s plied his trade largely outside of the WorldTour, you could tell from his body language in the final kilometre that Tomasz was not going to let this chance slip through his fingers.
It’s an incredible emotion. I came here really wanting to win a stage. and to do it so soon …
We climbed the last ascent really fast. We got to the final with two and then a few others came into town. Then we were all looking at each other, but I said to myself, I’m not going to let any attack go without me. If I don’t have enough strength in the final, so be it, but I’m going to give it my all. Since I’ve been in the break all day, I’ve got to take advantage of this opportunity.
It all worked out in the end.
Quickstepper of the day awardEmbed from Getty Images
I find myself concurring with team management, and it’s youngster Enric Mas‘s turn to be today’s honoured Quickstepper. Part of the mass break-out, he hung in there amid all the drama on today’s taxing stage but ultimately was beaten to the line by two vastly more experienced riders. However, the Vuelta judges rightly named him Most Combative. Next time, Enric, next time!
If you’re wondering why we have this award, which Midge started on stage 1, wonder no more!
Another fresh face
In the last few kilometres, another young rider impressed as he battled at the front of the chasing peloton to bring back the trio upfront. It was Sunweb’s Sam Oomen, another Grand Tour debutant and, at just 22 years old, one of the youngest riders in the race, currently lying 14th overall. Teammate Warren Barguil (13th overall) paid tribute, saying Sam put in a mountain of effort to close the 20-second gap to the red jersey group so that there was no danger of time loss for their GC hope Wilco Kelderman (11th overall). Then he continued at the front of the chasing group – pretty impressive!
Keeping the pressure onEmbed from Getty Images
Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) treated us to a vintage performance when he attacked race leader Chris Froome 40km from the finish and split the peloton asunder, initially distancing Vicenzo Nibali and Esteban Chaves. Luckily for Froome, Wout Poels was there to help him stay with Baby Blackbird.
Top 5 stage
1 Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto-Soudal) 4:47:02
2 Pawel Poljanski (Bora-hansgrohe) same time
3 Enric Mas (Quick-Step Cycling) s/t
4 Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) +0:08
5 Jan Polanc (UAE Emirates) s/t
Top 5 GC
1 Chris Froome (Sky) 22:54:37
2 Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) +0:11
3 Nicolas Roche (BMC) +0:13
4 Tejay van Garderen (BMC) +0:27
6 Vicenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) +0:36
All the jerseysEmbed from Getty Images
Leader: Chris Froome (Sky)
Points: Matteo Trentin (Quick-Step Floors)
KOM: Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac)
Combined: Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott)
Team Classification: Astana
Most Aggressive Rider: Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors)
Header image: Tomasz Marczynski ©GETTY/TDW Sport