Stage 6 of the 2019 Vuelta and the shocks just keep on coming. Jesus Herrada finally won a stage for Cofidis, the red jersey changed hands again and a crash took away three top 20 GC riders.
It looked like a day for the breakaway and that proved to be the case. A large and powerful break broke free and built up a lead that wasn’t going to be caught by a peloton that didn’t look at all interested to chase anything or anyone.
Mitchelton-Scott’s Tsgabu Grmay and Movistar’s Nelson Oliveira attacked off the front during the day’s penultimate climb but it was on the final ascent up to Ares del Maestrat that the fireworks really went off. Herrada hit off with Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Merida) with 4 kms to go, quickly passing the leading duo and riding up to the finish together. With Teuns certain to go into the race lead, he offered no resistance when Herrada pushed on towards the line. Heartbreak for Jose yesterday, pure joy for Jesus today – the Herrada family has sure been through all the emotions in 48 hours.
Rider of the DayEmbed from Getty Images
I almost didn’t award it today. There were so many agendas at play that there wasn’t too much pure riding prowess on display. I did consider Tsgabu Grmay, who animated the last hour of racing and had the balls to make things happen. Dylan Teuns was also in my thoughts for taking his first grand tour leader’s jersey.
But I’m going with the winner from Cofidis – Jesus Herrada. Not for his power or sharp thinking cycling acumen. NO! I’m awarding it for how he stayed cool under pressure. Imagine what was going through his mind – his brother Jose was in a similar position yesterday and pretty much got mugged. Jesus must have spent the last two kilometres repeating “don’t be like Jose, don’t be like Jose” under his breath.
“This victory goes to my brother who just missed out yesterday. Things like this come from the rage that he did not win, now there is joy”
The Spaniard kept his cool and even had time to do a jersey zip up before raising his hands aloft as he crossed the line.
Cofidis are the punchline to many a cycling joke but with this win Herrada should have changed that. The French squad have now won a stage of a grand tour this year. Something that can’t be said for Dimension Data, CCC, EF-Education First and… Team Ineos!
A horrible EF-ing dayEmbed from Getty Images
A huge crash after two hours of racing saw four riders leave the race and countless others bearing scars and wounds that could yet cause more abandons. The riders out are Rigoberto Uran, Hugh Carthy (both EF), Victor de la Parte (CCC) and former red jersey wearer Nicolas Roche (Sunweb). Riders from Jumbo Visma, Quick-Step and Bora were also involved. Latest reports on the crash suggest that there was water on a corner – exactly the same thing that brought teams down in the TTT earlier in the race. Jumbo’s George Bennett spoke to Eurosport after the race
“It was a really nasty crash, I don’t feel too good after it. It’s part of racing I guess but we keep hitting the deck. It’s not good”
As well as losing two riders in that crash, EF then had to watch on as Tejay Van Garderen went off-road during a descent and was last seen lying in a bush. He did complete the stage, a brief chink of light in an awful day for the team.
All change in red
Astana decided that, one day after having won it, they’d give up the red jersey so no real effort was made to reel in the breakaway today. At one point it looked as if Ineos’s David de la Cruz would take a shock lead of the GC but he faded on the final climb. That meant Dylan Teuns continued his year of success by pulling on the roja.
1 Jesus Herrada (Cofidis-dis-dis) 4:43:55
2 Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Merida) +0:07
3 Dorian Godon (AG2R) +0:21
4 Robert Gesink (Jumbo-Visma) same time
5 Bruno Armirail (FDJ) +0:37
1 Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Merida) 23:44:00
2 David de la Cruz (Team Ineos) +0:38
3 Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) +1:00
4 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +1:14
5 Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +1:23
6 Robert Gesink (Jumbo Visma) same time
7 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +1:28
8 Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) +2:17
9 Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) +2:18
10 Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +1:47
All the Jerseys
Leader’s jersey: Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Merida)
Points jersey: Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe)
Climber’s jersey: Angel Madrazo (Burgos-BH)
Young Rider’s jersey: Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana)
Team classification: Movistar Team