Live Coverage of Vuelta a Espana - Stage 6

Race overview:

Distance: 163.2km

Start Location: Monforte de Lemos

End Location: Luintra

  1. 18:16:33 CEST

    A full report, results and pictures from today's stage of the Vuelta a Espana will follow here.

     

  2. 18:09:07 CEST

    Result:

    1 Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-BikeExchange 4:05:00
    2 Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:20
    3 Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:22
    4 Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team
    5 Kenny Elissonde (Fra) FDJ
    6 Daniel Moreno (Spa) Movistar Team
    7 Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling
    8 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:29
    9 Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
    10 Simon Clarke (Aus) Cannondale-Drapac

    General classification after stage 6:

    1 Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC Racing Team 21:45:21
    2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:28
    3 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:32
    4 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:38
    5 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-BikeExchange
    6 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team 0:01:07
    7 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky 0:01:12
    8 Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:14
    9 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:01:22
    10 Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-BikeExchange 0:01:28

     

     

  3. 18:07:08 CEST

    Simon Yates was thus not by his brother Adam's side when he placed 4th at the Tour de France, but he returned to action in Spain in late July, winning the Prueba Villafranca, and went on to place 7th at Clasica San Sebastian and 4th at the Vuelta a Burgos in the build-up to this Vuelta.

     

  4. 18:05:14 CEST

    Simon Yates was due to ride the Tour de France this year, but missed out as he was still serving his suspension for that positive test at Paris-Nice. The UCI handed Yates a reduced ban of four months after accepting the explanation that his positive test was the result of failing to request a TUE for his asthma inhaler.

     

  5. 17:57:03 CEST

    That victory also lifts Simon Yates into the top ten on general classification. He now lies 10th, 1:28 off Atapuma, and he could prove a very useful foil to team leader Esteban Chaves (5th at 38 seconds) in the days to come.

     

  6. 17:55:37 CEST

    Simon Yates is already at the podium. “We set it up pretty well in the beginning. I managed to take my opportunity in the finale, it wasn’t planned. It was a pretty crazy day with a lot of twists and turns. I timed my attack to perfection,” says Yates, who has enjoyed a fine run of results in Spain since returning from his mid-season ban. “I don’t mind it, maybe it’s a bit too hot,” he joked.

     

  7. 17:53:31 CEST

    General classification after stage 6

    1 Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC Racing Team 21:45:21
    2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:28
    3 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:32
    4 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:38
    5 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-BikeExchange 0:00:38
    6 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team 0:01:07
    7 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky 0:01:12
    8 Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:14
    9 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:01:22
    10 Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-BikeExchange 0:01:28

     

  8. 17:51:29 CEST

     Result:

    1 Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-BikeExchange
    2 Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team
    3 Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
    4 Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team
    5 Kenny Elissonde (Fra) FDJ
    6 Daniel Moreno (Spa) Movistar Team
    7 Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling
    8 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
    9 Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
    10 Simon Clarke (Aus) Cannondale-Drapac

  9. 17:46:20 CEST

    The main GC contenders finished safely together, and Darwin Atapuma (BMC) will wear the red jersey for a third successive day tomorrow.

     

  10. 17:44:25 CEST

    Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) clipped off the front of the peloton in the finale, and he wins the sprint for second place, 20 seconds down on Yates. Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo) nabbed third, ahead of Hermans, Frank et al.

     

  11. 17:43:14 CEST

    Simon Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) wins stage 6 of the Vuelta a Espana.

     

  12. 17:42:48 CEST

    Yates looks over his shoulder on the light gradient in the final kilometre and sees nothing but daylight behind him.

     

  13. 17:42:19 CEST

    1km remaining from 163.2km

    Into the final kilometre for Simon Yates, who is cruising to stage victory.

     

  14. 17:41:50 CEST

    1.5km remaining from 163.2km

    The road flattens out and Yates is destined for stage victory. Hermans leads the chase but the gap is surely too large.

     

  15. 17:41:19 CEST

    2.5km remaining from 163.2km

    Yates has 20 seconds in hand Hermans, Moreno and Frank, and it looks as though the Bury native is on course for stage victory. He tested positive for terbutaline at Paris-Nice this year, and served a four-month ban for what was termed non-intentional doping.

     

  16. 17:39:20 CEST

    3.6km remaining from 163.2km

    After a brief pause on Frank's wheel, Yates climbs out of the saddle and accelerates past him. The Briton is alone at the head of the race, with Frank. Moreno and Ben Hermans (BMC) all giving chase.

     

  17. 17:38:25 CEST

    3.7km remaining from 163.2km

    Simon Yates eases away from Moreno, and has now bridged across to Frank's rear wheel.

     

  18. 17:37:53 CEST

    4.1km remaining from 163.2km

    Dani Moreno (Movistar) attacks from the peloton and Simon Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) bridges across to his wheel. This duo has a gap over the peloton and is closing to within touching distance of Frank.

     

  19. 17:36:46 CEST

    4.2km remaining from 163.2km

    Frank climbs out of the saddle and then glances over the shoulder to see Movistar leading the peloton back up to him. He surely won't last too much longer.

     

  20. 17:36:01 CEST

    4.5km remaining from 163.2km

    Frank presses on alone, his features clenched into a grimace. He still has 25 seconds in hand on the reduced peloton, but this climb must feel interminable.

     

  21. 17:34:56 CEST

    Zeits and Bakelants' race is run. The two chasers are swept up by the peloton as the gradient begins to bite inside the last 5 kilometres. Only Frank remains in front.

     

  22. 17:34:03 CEST

    5km remaining from 163.2km

    Jose Joaquin Rojas leads the peloton onto the climb and then swings over. Valverde still has four Movistar riders to guide him through this finale.

     

  23. 17:33:25 CEST

    Frank hits the final unclassified climb of the day, and this is where his advantage - in theory - ought to crumble. He has 24 seconds on the chasers and 40 on the pack.

     

  24. 17:33:23 CEST

    Frank hits the final unclassified climb of the day, and this is where his advantage - in theory - ought to crumble. He has 24 seconds on the chasers and 40 on the pack.

     

  25. 17:32:24 CEST

    6km remaining from 163.2km

    Into the final 6 kilometres for Frank. He is 26 seconds up on Bakelants and Zeits, and 45 seconds clear of the bunch.

     

  26. 17:31:47 CEST

    7.5km remaining from 163.2km
    • Crash

    A crash at the rear of the main peloton, where Bart De Clerq (Lotto Soudal) appears to be the worst-affected rider. The Belgian takes to his feet, but he is bloodied and brusied after hitting the crash barrier at the roadside before crashing into the ditch.

     

  27. 17:29:45 CEST

    8km remaining from 163.2km

    Movistar are finally beginning to make real inroads into Frank's advantage. The gap now stands at 47 seconds. 

     

  28. 17:29:03 CEST

    9km remaining from 163.2km

    Frank has done his bit on this long descent, keeping his lead on the bunch at around a minute, but the real test comes when the road kicks upwards in the final five kilometres.

     

  29. 17:28:15 CEST

    10km remaining from 163.2km

    Red jersey Darwin Atapuma is still safely tucked in near the front end of the peloton, and on course to defend his overall lead, though an explosive finale awaits...

     

  30. 17:27:28 CEST

    11km remaining from 163.2km

    Frank nudges his lead over the bunch out above the one-minute mark. Bakelants and Zeits are still in no man's land, 30 seconds down on Frank.

     

  31. 17:25:55 CEST

    12km remaining from 163.2km

    Movistar lead the reduced main peloton in support of Valverde, though it's difficult to assess quite how many riders are still in the bunch - the Vuelta's television helicopter is out of action this afternoon, hence the dearth of overhead images of the peloton.

     

  32. 17:24:02 CEST

    Frank is performing very strongly despite spending the day in the break, but he will surely begin to pay a price for his efforts on the final kick up towards the finish.

     

  33. 17:23:01 CEST

    14km remaining from 163.2km

    Bakelants offers his own particular brand of encouragement to Zeits, but this duo won't manage to catch Frank. The real pursuit match is between the main peloton and Frank, and the gap is 55 seconds.

     

  34. 17:20:05 CEST

    16km remaining from 163.2km

    Mathias Frank has 30 seconds in hand on Bakelants and Zeits, but the more pertinent time gap is to the peloton, which is just 54 seconds.

     

  35. 17:19:19 CEST

    18km remaining from 163.2km

    Fraile is caught by the peloton, while Bakelants and Zeits don't seem likely to survive in front much longer. Frank, meanwhile, is hurtling down the descent, which last a shade over ten kilometres.

     

  36. 17:17:32 CEST

    18km remaining from 163.2km

    Frank has opened a gap of 20 seconds over Bakelants and Zeits, but the reduced peloton has closed to just 47 seconds.

     

  37. 17:16:49 CEST

    19km remaining from 163.2km

    The chasers catch Fraile at the summit of the climb, and Mathias Frank (IAM) attacks almost instantly Fraile is immediately dropped, while Bakelants and Zeits try to summon a chase.

     

  38. 17:15:33 CEST

    An Ag2r-La Mondiale takes a tumble as he hands a bidon to Bakelants but the only wound will be to his pride.

     

  39. 17:14:48 CEST

    19.5km remaining from 163.2km

    Fraile looks over his shoulder on the final kick up on this climb, and he sees the three chasers on the point of bridging up to him.

     

  40. 17:13:27 CEST

    20km remaining from 163.2km

    Bakelants, Zeits and Frank have closed to within 20 seconds of Fraile, but the peloton is only 1:15 down on the Spaniard and closing fast.

     

  41. 17:12:39 CEST

    21km remaining from 163.2km

    A Movistar soigneur on the roadside hands bottles to his riders as they sweep past towards the top of this climb. The mercury has touched 35 degrees today and there has scarcely been any let up in the pace either.

     

  42. 17:09:40 CEST

    22km remaining from 163.2km

    Fraile is now betraying very visible signs of suffering as the gradient stiffens. Bakelants, Frank and Zeits are almost within sight of the Spaniard on the straights. 34 seconds their deficit, while the bunch is at 1:29.

     

  43. 17:08:23 CEST

    A weary Didier is swept up by the peloton, where it's all Movistar for the time being. 

     

  44. 17:07:17 CEST

    23km remaining from 163.2km

    Fraile's shoulders are beginning to sway ever more markedly as he draws closer to the top of this unclassified climb. He has just 41 seconds in hand on the trio of chasers, while the bunch has closed to within 1:37.

     

  45. 17:05:05 CEST

    24.5km remaining from 163.2km

    A flagging Laurent Didier has been distanced by the chasing group, which is now just 50 seconds down on Fraile. Zeits, Bakelants and Frank are sticking gamely to their task.

     

  46. 17:02:06 CEST

    This finale ought to suit a rider of Alejandro Valverde's characteristics. Movistar certainl, seem to have committed to pegging back Fraile.

     

  47. 16:59:01 CEST

    27km remaining from 163.2km

    Zeits, Bakelants, Didier and Frank have worked a lot with precious little to show for it. They have made only the smallest of inroads into Fraile's lead, which stands at 1:12. The Movistar-led peloton is 2:02 behind.

     

  48. 16:55:38 CEST

    David Lopez (Sky) is among the riders jettisoned from the rear of the peloton by the Movistar pace-making.

     

  49. 16:53:39 CEST

    30km remaining from 163.2km

    Movistar have taken over at the head of the peloton, with Jose Joaquin Rojas setting the tempo, 2:08 behind the lone leader Fraile.

     

  50. 16:48:52 CEST

    32.5km remaining from 163.2km

    Fraile begins the shallow, unclassified climb through Chandrexa with a lead of 1:22 over the chasers and 2:10 over the peloton. He has 15 kilometres at 4% ahead of him.

     

  51. 16:45:46 CEST

    35km remaining from 163.2km

    Fraile has navigated this descent very well, and he holds a lead of two minutes over the peloton. The road climbs again shortly, however, and that will provide a stiffer test of his mettle.

     

  52. 16:43:51 CEST

    37km remaining from 163.2km

    Losada goes off the side of the road on the descent. Although the Katusha man manages to stay upright, he might struggle to get back up to the chasing group, which now trails Fraile by 1:23.

     

  53. 16:39:25 CEST

    39.5km remaining from 163.2km

    Zeits leads the five-strong chasing group on the descent, but they're making no inroads into the line Fraile's advantage, which stands at 1:20.

     

  54. 16:37:16 CEST

    Bakelants, Didier, Losada, Zeits and Frank are 1:12 down on Fraile, while the Tinkoff-led bunch has reduced its deficit to 2:38.

     

  55. 16:35:40 CEST

    42km remaining from 163.2km

    The road narrows dramatically on the descent, hence the urgency from Tinkoff et al - and Contador's team duly leads the bunch into this sinuous section of descent. 

     

  56. 16:32:29 CEST

    Alberto Contador's Tinkoff team take over at the head of the peloton as the road flattens out. The remnants of the early break, meanwhile, are scattered across the mountain. All bar Fraile should be pegged back by the time the road starts to rise again.

     

  57. 16:30:47 CEST

    In the peloton, meanwhile, delegations from Cannondale-Drapac, Tinkoff and Sky move towards the front, sparking something of a  scramble for position ahead of the descent. 

     

  58. 16:29:28 CEST

    47.5km remaining from 163.2km
    • Climb

    Fraile leads over the top of the category 2 Alto Alenza and then accelerates as he begins the descent. The Spaniard is fully committed to this move, though he has another long, uncategorised climb to follow this section of downhill.

     

  59. 16:27:24 CEST

    Gert Dockx (Lotto Soudal) is swept up by the peloton, where Orica-BikeExchange still lead. The deficit to Fraile has stretched out, however, and now stands at 2:55.

     

  60. 16:26:05 CEST

    49.5km remaining from 163.2km

    Fraile leads through the intermediate sprint at Castro Caldelas. Though the road flattens out from here, he is still two kilometres from the "summit" as far as the king of the mountains competition is concerned.

     

  61. 16:24:37 CEST

    50km remaining from 163.2km

    The remnants of the break are now a minute behind Fraile, who certainly won't relent before he picks up the king of the mountains points at the summit.

     

  62. 16:19:52 CEST

    51.5km remaining from 163.2km

    Fraile, his jersey zipped open to the waist, has managed to increase his advantage over the peloton to 2:20, where Orica-BikeExchange continue to set the tempo.

     

  63. 16:14:06 CEST

    54km remaining from 163.2km

    Fraile has 20 seconds in hand on his breakaway companions and 1:40 on the bunch, where Orica-BikeExchange stick diligently to their task.

     

  64. 16:13:18 CEST

    The day's intermediate sprint is, rather confusingly, placed on this climb. It comes after 114 kilometres at Castro Caldelas, while the king of the mountains banner follows two kilometres later.

     

  65. 16:11:14 CEST

    Fraile grinds on alone with a lead of 1:40 over the peloton. The Spaniard is no threat to Atapuma's overall lead, but unfortunately for him, it is now Orica-BikeExchange and not BMC who are dictating terms and conditions at the head of the bunch.

     

  66. 16:09:27 CEST

    56km remaining from 163.2km

    At the rear of the peloton, meanwhile, a number of riders are being shelled out the back as a result of Orica-BikeExchange's pace-making in support of Simon Gerrans and Esteban Chaves. Pierre Rolland (Cannondale-Drapac) is among the riders to be dropped on this climb.

     

  67. 16:08:13 CEST

    Omar Fraile (Dimension Data) was the man who ignited the attacking in the break, and he is now alone at the head of the race, with his erstwhile companions splintered into smaller groups and trying to chase back on.

     

  68. 16:07:05 CEST

    58km remaining from 163.2km

    The unity of the break fractures as soon as they begin to tackle the lower slopes of the day's lone categorised climb, the Alto Alenza (10.9km at 5.1%). 

     

  69. 16:04:44 CEST

    59km remaining from 163.2km

    Orica-BikeExchange's stint on the front has had an immediate effect, and the break's lead is slashed to 1:29.

     

  70. 15:58:34 CEST

    64km remaining from 163.2km

    Orica-BikeExchange have taken over from BMC over the top of the climb, and the intensity of the peloton's pursuit has gone up a notch.

     

  71. 15:55:25 CEST

    66km remaining from 163.2km

    BMC's pace-making has shaved 30 seconds off the break's lead since the feed zone. The gap now stands at 2:05.

     

  72. 15:50:51 CEST

    70km remaining from 163.2km

    Chris Froome's Sky guard are lined up behind BMC at the head of the peloton. The general classification contenders will be glad that some degree of organisation has been brought to the race after the flurry of attacks and soaring speeds in the opening hour.

     

  73. 15:47:07 CEST

    Laurent Didier dances out of the saddle as he leads the break up this unclassified climb, but the unity of the move remains resolutely intact for the time being.

     

  74. 15:45:41 CEST

    73km remaining from 163.2km

    There has been a slight slackening of pace in the second hour of the race, but lavuelta.com reports that the average speed to date is still a rather brisk 44.5kph. The break's lead stretches out slightly to 2:35.

     

  75. 15:40:23 CEST

    On leaving Monforte de Lemos, the escapees must tackle an unclassified climb of almost ten kilometres in length. This is a day for the strongmen, and the 35-degree temperature only adds to the difficulty.

     

  76. 15:36:13 CEST

    78km remaining from 163.2km

    Zeits leads the escapees through the feed zone with a lead of 2:30 over the peloton. The first half of the stage was an out and back loop from Monforte de Lemos. The race is now passing the fringes of the start town before heading into more rugged terrain for the finale of today;s stage.

     

  77. 15:26:56 CEST

    85km remaining from 163.2km

    The 11 escapees have struck up a decent working alliance, but BMC are still keeping close tabs on them. Movistar are lined up behind them, with Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana safely positioned towards the front.

     

  78. 15:19:27 CEST

    90km remaining from 163.2km
    • Team BMC Racing 2016

    BMC continue to ride on the front of the peloton, and their efforts are keeping the break's lead pegged at 2:16.

     

  79. 15:14:57 CEST

    Jan Bakelants (Ag2r-La Mondiale) crashed in the same incident as Kruijswijk yesterday, but mercifully the Belgian did not report any serious injury and he is a very active part of our break this afternoon.

     

  80. 15:08:26 CEST

    100km remaining from 163.2km

    Into the final 100 kilometres for the 11 escapees, who have a lead of 2:30 over the peloton.

     

  81. 15:04:59 CEST

    Vuelta race director Javier Guillen visited the LottoNL-Jumbo bus at the start this morning to reiterate his apologies for the crash that ended Steven Kruijswijk's race. "It was a mistake, it was not a question of whether it was too technical a circuit, it was a mistake not to draw attention to the bollard," Guillen told Eurosport afterwards. "Many people went past that pole and nobody saw anything or said anything, so we need to investigate that.”

     

  82. 14:57:34 CEST

    105km remaining from 163.2km

    BMC leads the peloton, some 2:20 behind the break. With Mendes just 2:51 down on Atapuma and Losada also within touching distance, they won't want to let the escapees go too far up the road.

     

  83. 14:47:46 CEST

    110km remaining from 163.2km

    The break in full: Laurent Didier (Trek-Segafredo), Kevin Reza (FDJ), Andrey Zeits (Astana), Jan Bakelants (AG2R - La Mondiale), Alberto Losada (Katusha), Gert Dockx (Lotto Soudal), José Mendes and Gregor Muhlberger (Bora-Argon18), Omar Fraile (Dimension Data), Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling) and Valerio Conti (Lampre - Merida).

     

     

  84. 14:44:56 CEST

    After covering 48.6 kilometres in the opening hour of racing, there is sure to be a period of detente in the peloton. There seems to be general satisfaction with the composition of this breakaway, and their lead stretches out to two minutes.

     

  85. 14:43:40 CEST

    113km remaining from 163.2km

    Laurent Didier (Trek-Segafredo) made a mammoth effort to latch onto this break and it seems like it was worth his while. The eleven riders in front have a lead of 1:47 over the peloton.

     

  86. 14:40:42 CEST

    115km remaining from 163.2km

    After nigh on 50 kilometres of racing, it looks as though a breakaway has finally established itself, as ten riders go clear: Kevin Reza (FDJ), Andrey Zeits (Astana), Jan Bakelants (AG2R - La Mondiale), Alberto Losada (Katusha), Gert Dockx (Lotto Soudal), José Mendes and Gregor Muhlberger (Bora-Argon18), Omar Fraile (Dimension Data), Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling) and Valerio Conti (Lampre - Merida).

     

  87. 14:34:26 CEST

    118km remaining from 163.2km
    • Astana 2016

    Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) has abandoned the Vuelta a Espana. The Colombian youngster, who won the Tour de Suisse in such impressive fashion in June, broke three teeth in a crash on stage 3 and has been struggling ever since.

     

  88. 14:28:10 CEST

    123km remaining from 163.2km
    • Red Jersey

    Movistar, Etixx-QuickStep and Cannondale-Drapac have, by and large, been the team policing the moves at the head of the peloton thus far, with the BMC team of Darwin Atapuma content to leave them to it. The Colombian is in his second day in the red jersey of race leader and said yesterday that he has "no idea" of how long he can last in this position. Read the full story here.

     Darwin Atapuma in red after stage 5 at the Vuelta

  89. 14:20:50 CEST

    130km remaining from 163.2km

    The twelve-man move is pegged back. This has been a brutal opening the day's action. 40 minutes into a stage being fought out in soaring temperatures, a break has still to go clear and the pace is very brisk indeed. This could make things very interesting later in the stage, regardless of who - eventually - goes away in an early break. There will be a lot of tired legs come the final hour of racing, and the terrain could be ripe for an ambush by one of the GC men. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) after all, has been known to make the most of opportunities when they present themselves in unexpected places.

     

  90. 14:13:56 CEST

    133km remaining from 163.2km

    Cannondale-Drapac have been active in the early exchanges and, having missed this particular move, are now busy trying to shut it back down. The gap is lingering around the five-second mark and the pace is severe.

     

  91. 14:12:36 CEST

    A dozen or so riders have opened a small gap over the peloton, but there's no quarter being given here. If they want a day pass off the front, they're going to have to work very hard for the privilege.

     

  92. 14:07:36 CEST

    139km remaining from 163.2km

    The peloton is cruising along one of the flatter sections of the course near Ribas de Sil, and the pace is still very high in these early exchanges.

     

  93. 14:04:56 CEST

    142km remaining from 163.2km

    That group of 18 riders is duly deemed too dangerous to granted any leeway. Smukulis et al are reeled in by the peloton and the race is all back together once again.

     

  94. 14:03:46 CEST

    143km remaining from 163.2km

    A clutch of riders have bridged across to Smukulis, and this could be our early break - but only provided there's a decent spread of teams and no dangermen for the GC among their number.

     

  95. 13:59:47 CEST

    148km remaining from 163.2km

    Gatis Smukulis (Astana) is the next man to step up to the plate in a bid to break the deadlock. The Latvian strongman opens a small gap over the peloton, but he could do with some company is he is going to go clear.

     

  96. 13:55:27 CEST

    153km remaining from 163.2km

    Dries Devenyns (IAM Cycling), Loïc Chetout (Cofidis) and Davide Villella (Cannondale) at the next to punch their way clear, but they, too, are swept back up by the peloton.

     

  97. 13:49:17 CEST

    156km remaining from 163.2km

    The speed is still high in the peloton, with every attempted break being policed carefully. There is every chance that the early move will go the distance this afternoon, and so it might take some time for that escape to take shape.

     

  98. 13:45:49 CEST

    161km remaining from 163.2km

    Meanwhile, the flag has dropped for the beginning of stage 6. Simon Pellaud (IAM Cycling), Loïc Chetout (Cofidis) and Christoph Pfingsten (Bora-Argon18) are quickly on the offensive, but are pegged back by the peloton just as promptly. It's a brisk start to proceedings on this uphill start out of Monforte de Lemos.

     

  99. 13:44:18 CEST

    Sébastien Minard (Ag2r - La Mondiale) is another non-starter due to the injuries he sustained in yesterday's crash. The crashes were not captured in live television pictures, but video has since emerged of the incidents, while the Vuelta organisation has issued an apology to Kruijswijk and pledged to investigate why the bollard was neither marked nor protected. Peter Stetina suffered a broken tibia and patella in a similar incident at last year's Tour of the Basque Country, where there were unprotected bollards in the finishing straight. Action, rather than mere investigations, is needed.

     

  100. 13:37:33 CEST

    A minute of silence was observed before the start to honour the 247 victims of yesterday's severe earthquake in central Italy. The Italian riders in this Vuelta stood in the front row of the peloton for the minute of silence, alongside red jersey Darwin Atapuma (BMC).

     

  101. 13:35:19 CEST

    The Vuelta sets out today without Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Robert Kiserlovski (Tinkoff) who both crashed in yesterday's fraught finale. Kruijswijk broke his collarbone when he crashed after hitting an unmarked and unprotected bollard inside the final two kilometres, while Kiserlovski was brought down in a separate incident in the final kilometre. Kiserlovski has no broken bones, but Tinkoff reports that he "is suffering from acute pain in the lumbar-sacral vertebrae, so the decision was taken for him to withdraw from the race and to return home to undergo further exhaustive medical examinations."

     

  102. 13:30:30 CEST

    The peloton is lining up on the start in Monforte de Lemos, and will roll out at 13.31 local time, with the official start due at 13.36.

     

  103. 13:28:53 CEST

    The general classification is as follows ahead of today's stage:

     

    1 Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC Racing Team 17:39:52
    2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:28
    3 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:32
    4 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:38
    5 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-BikeExchange
    6 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team 0:01:07
    7 Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:10
    8 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky 0:01:12
    9 Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:14
    10 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:01:22
    11 Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie 0:01:24
    12 Daniel Moreno (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:35
    13 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff Team 0:01:52
    14 David De La Cruz (Spa) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:01:55
    15 Marcel Wyss (Swi) IAM Cycling 0:02:07
    16 Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac 0:02:13
    17 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:02:17
    18 Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:02:27
    19 Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac 0:02:34
    20 Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0
     

     

  104. 13:27:15 CEST

    The summit of the Alto Alenza comes after 115 kilometres and follows a stiff ascent of 10.9 km at 5.1%. More pertinently, perhaps, it is followed by a long unclassified climb of 15 kilometres at 4% before the drop to Cerreda. That combination ought to dissuade the sprinters, and instead this should be a day for the puncheurs, either from an early break or from a late assault. The road climbs again in the final five kilometres, and while the penultimate kilometre is downhill, it kicks up once again in the finishing straight. 

     

  105. 13:22:47 CEST

    Lies, damned lies and statistics. There is just one categorised climb on the road to Luintra this afternoon, the category 2  Alto Alenza, but this anything but a gentle trek through Galicia's interior. There is scarcely a metre of flat all day long, and the terrain becomes particularly rugged in the finale, where at least two climbs have somehow avoided being categorised. Never mind the quantity of KOMs - a more relevant statistic might be the estimated 3,000 metres of climbing the peloton faces on stage 6.