La Vuelta España Femenina Preview: Stage 6

When to watch, and what to watch for, in stage 6 of La Vuelta Femenina.

Stage 6: Tarazona to La Laguna Negra (132.1 km)

When: Friday, May 3

Where to watch:  🇬🇧🇪🇺 Discovery +/Eurosport, 🇺🇸 Peacock, 🇨🇦 FloBikes, 🇦🇺  SBS

When to watch: 🇬🇧 14:30 BST, 🇪🇺 15:30 CEST, 🇺🇸 🇨🇦 9:30 EDT, 🇦🇺 23:30 AEST

Stage type: One Big Climb

What to expect: General Classification hopefuls fighting for seconds.

Stage summary:

From the start of the stage in Tarazona, the road slopes upward, with 30 km of uncategorized climbing at the word go. From there it is mostly flat, with a few minor uncategorized climbs, and plenty of time for a break to establish themselves as the peloton prepares itself for the finish.

The route of stage 6 of La Vuelta Femenina. After the start in Tarazona the race describes a lazy southward curve before trending back north on its westerly run to the finish atop La Laguna Negra.

After 114.9 km the race will cross a sprint classification point in Vinuesa before they start the ascent to the finish. There is only one categorized climb and it’s the finale of the race. The Category One to La Laguna Negra is 6.5 km long and averages 6.8%, it finishes at 1,730 m, so as the riders near the top the air is thinner, and those who have dedicated time to altitude training will have a slight advantage.

The profile of the final ascent of the 6.5 km La Laguna Negra. The final 1.5 km are steep, with gradients up to 14% in spots.

From the early slopes, the climb gradually gets harder and harder. By the finish, it reaches a gradient of 9%, so if anything does stay together to that point be sure it will not last long once the riders reach those steeper slopes. The final 500 metres of the climb is a staggering 11.2%, in case the roads to that point hadn’t broken the legs.

This is a great stage for a break to go because general classification teams will be eyeing that final climb and spend most of the day, and their energy, preparing for the final fight to the line. They will be less worried about controlling the peloton, as it is likely the general classification will be rocked after the sixth stage.

With the time gaps that formed on the shorter ascent that finished off stage 5, it’s probably not going to be a huge GC fight on Friday. There is still a chance on Sunday for some GC hopefuls to try and climb the ranks, but for Demi Vollering who will go into the sixth stage comfortably in red, she doesn’t need to put much pressure on the rest of the GC riders. Elisa Longo Borghini, who is second, could try an attack or two, but it’s more likely we see pressure coming from Kristen Faulkner who is fourth on GC, just 17 seconds behind Riejanne Markus. Or Juliette Labous who is fifth, three seconds behind Faulkner.

Vollering’s GC looks to be pretty safe on Friday’s stage, given her current climbing ability and the fact that with Marlen Reusser 1:23 down and Niamh Fisher-Black 1:34 down she is the only leader for SD Worx-Protime.

Plenty or riders will want to leepfrog up a place or two in the overall standings, and the GC battle isn’t over yet, but the stage might be one for the breakaway.

My pick: This is tough. My heart wants to say another EF Education-Cannondale victory with maybe Magdeleine Vallieres, she is a strong climber and she lost over four minutes on Thursday so she’s no threat to the GC. If she could slip into a move she could definitely win the stage. But Friday is really a tossup … it could also be a Ricarda Bauernfeind victory, or another Vollering win to solidify her GC ambitions. Depending on how she’s feeling after the crash on stage 5 maybe Gaia Realini will want to turn the race around and go for a stage; she is well back in the GC now. Can I refuse to make a pick? No? Ok, let’s go with Niamh Fisher-Black. She is a really strong climber, not a threat on GC and if she slips up the road Vollering can just chill. Plus, she’s awesome!

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