Vuelta Stage 6: Bozic bosses it in Xátiva
Slovenian takes stage for Vacansoleil, Greipel keeps gold
Image © Unipublic
Vuelta 2009 Stage 6: Xátiva - Xátiva, 186KM
The Slovenian rider Borut Bozic of Vacansoleil held off Garmin-Slipstream’s Tyler Farrar in a sprint finish to take stage 6 of the Vuelta this afternoon in a well-deserved victory for the Dutch oufit, which has figured prominently in breakaways during the race’s opening week.
Columbia-HTC’s André Greipel was off the pace in the final sprint into Xátiva, but keeps the race leader’s golden jersey at least until tomorrow’s time trial in Valencia, when Saxo Bank’s Fabian Cancellara, 18 seconds down in the general classification, will be looking to take it back.
Coming ahead of three days that may well prove crucial in deciding the final standings in this year’s race – tomorrow’s 30-kilometre individual time trial is followed by a summit finish on the Aitana on Sunday, with another key mountain stage on Monday – it’s understandable that today’s stage was ridden at a relatively sedate pace.
The stage’s route was punctuated by three Category 3 climbs and again a small breakaway group formed, comprising Jose Antonio Lopez Gil (Andalucia Cajasur), Matheus Pronk (Vacansoleil), Bingen Fernandez (Cofidis) and Aitor Perez (Contentpolis).
However, the peloton kept a wary eye on the gap, with Columbia-HTC, defending André Greipel’s race leader’s golden jersey, forcing the pace of the chasing pack and not allowing the escapees’ advantage to grow to more than six minutes.
Approaching the final climb some 10 kilometres out, current world road race champion Alessandro Ballan, riding his last Grand Tour for Lampre-NGC ahead of his move to BMC Racing next season, and Matti Breschel of Saxo Bank tried to get off the front, subsequently joined by Silence-Lottos’s Philippe Gilbert, but they were soon pulled back as the pursuing teams sought to set up the final sprint.
David Moncoutié of Cofidis also tried a solo attack in the final kilometres, quickly joined by serial escapee Johnny Hoogerland of Vacansoleil, but both were reeled in as Quick Step and Liquigas forced the pace as the stage neared its close.
Manuel Ortega (Andalucia Cajasur) and Oscar Garcia-Casarrubios (Contentpolis-Ampo) both abandoned during the stage, and a notable absentee from the start was Columbia-HTC’s Kim Kirchen, who is due to join Katusha next season.
Top 20 Vuelta 2009, Stage 61) Borut Bozic (Vacansoleil) 04:40:50 2) Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) 3) Daniele Bennati (Liquigas) 4) Davide Vigano (Fuji-Servetto) 5) Tom Boonen (Quick Step) 6) Leonardo Duque (Cofidis) 7) Sébastien Chavanel (Française des Jeux) 8) Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) 9) Marcel Sieberg (Columbia-HTC) 10) André Greipel (Columbia-HTC) 11) Linus Gerdemann (Milram) 12) Ivan Basso (Liquigas) 13) Samuel Sánchez (Euskatel-Euskadi) 14) Alejandro Valverde (Caisse D'Epargne) 15) Daniel Moreno (Caisse D'Epargne) 16) Fco. José Pacheco, (Contentpolis-Ampo) 17) Haimar Zubeldia (Astana) 00:00:06 18) Tadej Valjavec (AG2R-La Mondiale) 19) Stuart O'Grady (Saxo Bank) 20) David Herrero (Xacobeo Galicia)
Top 10 General Classification after Stage 61) André Greipel (Columbia-HTC) 24:21:13 2) Tom Boonen (Quick Step) 00:00:06 3) Dabiele Bennati (Liquigas) 00:00:09 4) Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) 5) Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) 00:00:18 6) Borut Bozic (Vacansoleil) 00:00:23 7) Ivan Basso (Liquigas) 00:00:27 8) Alejandro Valverde (Caisse D'Epargne) 9) Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) 00:00:28 10) Davide Garcia (Xacobeo Galicia) 00:00:33