A banner day for Jumbo-Visma at the Vuelta a España on Thursday saw Sepp Kuss power to the stage 6 victory out of the breakaway, while Primož Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard both put time into erstwhile red jersey Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) as they finished a few minutes behind the stage winner.
After being in a huge breakaway group, Kuss took the win ahead of Lenny Martinez (Groupama-FDJ) and Romain Bardet (DSM-Firmenich). The runner-up ride was enough to propel Martinez into the overall race lead, with Kuss now sitting second on GC, just eight seconds back, but nearly three minutes ahead of Evenepoel.
- Kuss, Martinez, and Bardet were all part of a massive break that formed as various groups off the front came together midway through the stage. Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) was one of several other luminaries in the group, while Jumbo-Visma enjoyed a big numerical advantage with four riders in the move.
- Even with multiple riders only a short ways off the race lead, the pack let the break get some breathing room before starting to up the pace when the gap was at around six minutes. The escapees still managed to start the Pico del Buitre finishing climb with around three and a half minutes.
- Einer Rubio (Movistar) made a big surge out of the break with around 4 km to go but he was gradually clawed back, and then it was Jumbo-Visma time, both out front and in the red jersey group. Roglič put in a stinging attack that dropped Evenepoel as Kuss went solo out of the surviving breakaway group.
- As Evenepeol settled into chase mode, Vingegaard linked up with Roglič. Martinez and Bardet went into their own chase mode behind Kuss, but there was no catching the American, who held on for the win, though the red jersey would go to Martinez.
- Evenepoel managed to limit his losses reasonably well, ultimately shipping 32 seconds to Roglič and Vingegaard.
- Despite the presence of riders in the break who were not far off of the race lead, the pack seemed uninterested in closing the escapees down on Thursday, and it was clear relatively early on during the final climb that the red jersey would change hands. When all was said and done, Jumbo-Visma was left with three star climbers in strong positions on the overall leaderboard, which could prove to be a serious headache for any other team hoping to challenge for the GC.
- It was a team effort through and through for Jumbo-Visma, with Attila Valter, Jan Tratnik, and Dylan van Baarle all helping Kuss in the break.
- Evenepoel was not at his best on the final climb, where the powerful surge of Roglič quickly put him in arrears. That said, he didn’t lose all that much time to his main rivals in the end.
- A big concern now will be those riders who gained oodles of time out of the day’s breakaway. Martinez and Kuss are now almost three minutes in front of Evenepoel. That is a huge gap to work with.
Quote of the day
As Sepp Kuss explained after his win, the Jumbo-Visma plan worked to perfection on stage 6.
It was an incredibly hard stage. We wanted to try and go in the breakaway just to test QuickStep and we knew that it would be a hard day to control. That was the primary objective.
Your new race leader likes his yoghurt.
Kuss gave the United States a second Grand Tour stage win this season.
Jumbo-Visma flexed their collective might on stage 6.
One of the most sprinter-friendly days of this year’s Vuelta awaits on stage 7, where nary a categorized climb will stand between the peloton and the finish. Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) is an obvious favorite with Juan Sebastián Molano (UAE Team Emirates) and rising sprint star (?) Filippo Ganna of the Ineos Grenadiers as others to watch.
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