Vuelta a Espana 2017: Tomasz Marczynski wins stage six as Chris Froome stays in red jersey

Second-place Tejay van Garderen loses time after crashes

Thomas Marczynski (Lotto-Soudal) won stage six of the 2017 Vuelta a Espana from the breakaway, as Chris Froome (Team Sky) retained the red jersey on a lumpy course.

Marczynski outsprinted fellow Pole Pawel Poljanski (Bora-hansgrohe) and Enric Mas (QuickStep Floors) after the three accelerated away from the breakaway late in the stage.

When they went clear, it looked as though they would be swept up by the red jersey group, which had been blown apart by Alberto Contador’s attack.

But good work at the front, and a lack of impetus from the GC group, teed up a three-way sprint for the stage, and it was Marczynski who triumphed.

Froome, meanwhile, now leads by 11 seconds overall after second-placed Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) suffered two crashes – Johan Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) is now second instead, while team-mate Adam Yates (Orica-Scott) stays eighth.

Tomasz Marczynski grabbed the first Grand Tour stage win of his career on stage six (pic: Sirotti)

A lumpy course meant no shortage of riders keen on a day in the breakaway, but a fast pace in the peloton meant it took some time for a move to stick.

When it did stick, however, it was a huge group off the front with most teams represented, and riders including King of the Mountains Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac).

It was Villella who led the way over the top of the Alto de Alcudio de Veo, while other riders in the front group included Jarlinson Pantano (Trek-Segafredo) and Bob Jungels (QuickStep Floors).

Team Sky led the peloton as Villella also claimed maximum climbing points on the Puerto de Eslida, but the front group split up after the next climb, the Alto de Chirivilla, when Jungels and Maxime Monfort (Lotto-Soudal) accelerated on the downhill.

Their attack eventually proved short-lived, however, and indeed the entire breakaway’s advantage began to tumble as Trek-Segafredo took over the front of the peloton and ramped the pace up.

It was the perfect set-up for Alberto Contador, who accelerated and subsequently blew the race to pieces as he linked up with Pantano up the road.

Froome, Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing), Carlos Betancur (Movistar) and Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates) were with the Trek duo, but the BMC Racing man crashed leaving Froome and Contador alone up the road.

Up the road, Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto-Soudal), Enric Mas (QuickStep Floors) and Pawel Poljanski (Bora-hangrohe) had an advantage over the Puerto de Garbl, but the gap was always tumbling.

Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) got across to the leaders but opted to wait for the group behind, which had swelled as Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) and Fabio Aru (Astana) got back across.

Also combining with the remnants of the breakaway, it made for a large group of chasers but they lacked the impetus to bring back the front three, to Sanchez’s obvious frustration, as the small gap to the leaders went back out to 30 seconds.

Chris Froome is now 11 seconds clear overall after Tejay van Garderen suffered two crashes (Pic: Sirotti)

Further back, Van Garderen had remounted and got himself into another chasing group, 30 seconds further back from the GC group, before attacking off the front to chase across.

He was just closing in on the cars when he suffered another crash on a roundabout – again remounting and resuming his chase.

Sanchez and Polanc tried to bridge across from the GC group to the three leaders, but they could not close the gap as the leading trio worked well together – holding a 17-second advantage under the flamme rouge.

It was enough time for the front three to stare each other down, constantly delaying their sprint before Mas finally kicked first.

Marczynski had the better sprint, however, and used it to great effect to claim his first Grand Tour stage win aged 33.

Froome finished eighth meanwhile, to ensure he has now worn the red jersey more than any other Brit – overtaking Sir Bradley Wiggins.

Vuelta a Espana 2017: stage six – result

1) Tomasz Marczynski (POL) – Lotto-Soudal – 4.47.02hrs
2) Pawel Poljanski (POL) – Bora-hansgrohe – ST
3) Enric Mas (ESP) – QuickStep Floors
4) Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP) – Astana +8”
5) Jan Polanc (SVN) – UAE Team Emirates – ST
6) Warren Barguil (FRA) – Team Sunweb +26”
7) Giovanni Visconti (ITA) – Bahrain-Merida – ST
8) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky
9) Fabio Aru (ITA) – Astana
10) Jack Haig (AUS) – Orica-Scott

General classification

1) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky – 22.54.38hrs
2) Johan Esteban Chaves (COL) – Orica-Scott +11”
3) Nicolas Roche (IRL) – BMC Racing +13”
4) Tejay van Garderen (USA) – BMC Racing +27”
5) Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) – Bahrain-Merida +36”
6) David de la Cruz (ESP) – QuickStep Floors +40”
7) Fabio Aru (ITA) – Astana +49”
8) Adam Yates (GBR) – Orica-Scott +50”
9) Michael Woods (CAN) – Cannondale-Drapac +1.13
10) Simon Yates (GBR) – Orica-Scott +1.26

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