Vuelta a Espana 2021 : Stage 6 – Cort hangs tough for victory as Roglic eases into red

Magnus Cort (EF Education-Nippo) held on from the break-of-the-day to take a breathless victory atop the Alto de la Montaña de Cullera on Stage 6 of this year’s Vuelta a Espana. The Dane, strained every sinew and kept pumping those legs to keep ahead of a fast finishing Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) – when I tell you I YELLED! What a finale! Roglic’s imperious, smooth acceleration may not have grabbed the stage win, but it did put him back in red as Trek-Segafredo’s Kenny Elissonde surrendered on the finale. All this AND we finally had our longed for crosswind action.

Well, well, well La Vuelta, THAT was a bit more like it! The VeloVoices write up schedule had this stage down as ‘weird flat day’. With a largely downhill start, a long flat stretch in the middle, a finish atop a Cat 3 climb, and a seeming paucity of crosswinds in the region -I wasn’t about to argue with the description.

However, as always with the Spanish Grand Tour, the devil is in the detail, and today those were worthy of Saint Nick himself. A delicious coastal loop of the finishing town exposed to the sea breezes, some Strade Bianche like road surfaces and a 1.9km Cat 3 with a 10% sting in the tail. Let’s get into the spicy action.

Crosswinds AT LAST!

They have been promised for the past two days, but we finally got some echelon action in the final 35km. Nerves were already high in the peloton after BikeExchange started to force the pace to catch the breakaway. The speed kept increasing, the roundabouts appeared thick and fast. Lots of little crashes and mishaps as they fought for space at the front.

A small change of direction onto a road exposed to the sea and POWWWWW!

INEOS Grenadiers drilled it at the front  and suddenly gaps appeared everywhere.

A group of 30 or so riders got a gap with the Jumbo Bees, Movistarlets and INEOS sitting pretty.

Race leader King Kenny was caught out. I do love how poetic this sounds from Trek-Segafredo.

The race calmed down for a while and the groups came back together including INEOS’s Adam Yates who also appeared to have been caught out when his teammates broke the race part. However, it was only a brief respite as the riders raced into the crosswind section again with 17km. This time Movistar bossed the front.

The pressure at the front saw Hugh Carthy gapped and it took an EF team time trial to bring him back. It was touch and go.

The effort cost Carthy. As his teammate took victory, the man from Preston trailed in almost three minutes later and now sits at +4.28 to the red jersey holder Roglic.

King Cort

There is nothing I love more than a win for the breakaway. Make that a Danish rider and I’ll be happiness personified. Make it one like today and I will sing all the praises. Yes a Danish win is enough to break out the red and white bunting in my corner of VeloVoices Towers, but holy heck the manner of this victory deserves the plaudits.

Just watch that video and then remember that at the foot of the 1.9km climb, the break held just 20secs on the peloton. Into the final kilometre and Magnus was holding mere seconds as the GC favourites massed behind him. One surge and he would be swept away. But somehow he just kept it going, kept churning that gear. Roglic accelerated and jumped to him, so close that he must have felt him breathing down his neck.

Yet STILL the Dane kept his cool and as the gradient lessened chose his moment to launch his sprint for his 3rd Vuelta victory.

I looked back with 150 metres to go and I could see him (Roglic) coming. I sprinted with everything I had and I luckily could keep him behind. This one is special for me in a very different way. The stages I win are always in sprints and I’m very happy to show I can also do it in other terrains and finish off a breakaway like this today.

When a plan comes together

So was I ….

King Kenny to King Rog

I love this interview. I love that he had a day in red. I loved his smiles and waves as he came over the finish line.

Most of all I LOVE his reasoning, that he now has time in hand that might allow him to be part of a breakaway. ALLEZ KENNY!

“As much fun as possible on a very nervous day in the life of the red jersey”. I don’t think you can ask for more.

Primoz Roglic looked in control and like a rider who has another gear he can move up to. He left his GC rivals when he wanted to, and only the tenacity and timing of Cort kept him from stage and the race lead. He is back in red and riding into his favoured territory.

I expect fireworks. I expect him to keep grabbing those bonus seconds, but I don’t expect him to have it all his own way. The Movistar trio of Enric Mas (+0:25), Miguel Angel Lopez (+0:36) and Alejandro Valverde (+0:41) are massed behind him. Will they have the tactics to take it to the top step of the podium this year?  – the GC, not the Team classification!

Stay tuned people, the Vuelta just upped the spiciness.

The final word

All the results

Stage results 

1 Magnus Cort (EF Education-Nippo) 3:30:53

2 Primoz Roglic  (Jumbo-Visma) same time

3 Andrea Bagioli (Deceuninck-Quick Step) +0:02

4 Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) +0:04

5 Enric Mas (Movistar) same time

GC Top 10 

1 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 21:04:09

2 Enric Mas (Movistar Team) +0:25

3 Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar Team) +0:36

4 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) +0:41

5 Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) +0:41

6 Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) +0:53

7 Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) +0:58

8 Lilian Calmejane (AG2R Citroen) +1:04

9 Mikel Linda (Bahrain Victorious) +1:12

10 Fabio Aru (Qhubeka NextHash) +1:17

All the jerseys

Leader’s jersey : Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma)

Points jersey : Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix)

King of the Mountains: Rein Taaramae (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert)

Best young rider : Egan Bernal (Ineos)

Best team : Movistar

For full race results, go to

Official Vuelta website is here 

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