2022 Vuelta a España – Stage 6 Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

By @EchelonsHub

The fifth stage of the Vuelta a Espana saw a tough battle for the stage win, a day for the breakaway where a large group went up the road and had fights for both stage win and GC lead. Marc Soler attacked in the final climb and went solo off the front, to hold off the chasing group just barely into Bilbao. Daryl Impey sprinted to second place behind, with Fred Wright finishing third after an intense battle with Rudy Molard for the red jersey – which is now on the shoulders of the Frenchman. 

(Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Positive: Soler going for a much needed win, and Rudy Molard taking over the race lead. 

Negative: Nothing to note. 

The Route

Two hilly days lead into the first mountain stage and true summit finish. It will be an important day for the overall classification, with differences assured, and the true form of the climbers having to be on display with nowhere to hide. 

The riders will be heading to Cantabria, once again travelling west with a rolling start. The first climb of the day, will summit with 103 (8.1Km; 6.4%) kilometers to go. With 58.7 (39Km; 7.1%) there will be another climb to set things up. 

The Collada de Brenes will be a warm up to the final climb, a tough ascent however with 6.3 kilometers at 8.6%, with a bonus sprint at the summit however it will be unlikely to be used as it still comes with 35.7 kilometers to go. 

The attacks and damage are to come on the ascent to Pico Jano. A climb of two halves, but definitely not an easy one. There will be a false-flat run-up to the ascent, and it’s first 7 kilometers average almost 8%, definitely enough to attack the race. There will be a small flat restbite before the final 4.5Km where the gradients will largely be around thr 7% mark, without any ramps that are too steep throughout it. 

The Weather

Forecast sees some rain which will make the race quite different than the last few days in the Spanish heat. Descents can become tricky. There will also be a northern breeze, which can come as somewhat of a tail/tail-crosswind in the final ascent – but covered throughout most of the day. 

Breakaway chances: 40%

It’s the first mountain stage of the race, and now frequently those are marke by conservative climbing – despite the summit finish. I don’t expect to see many interested in controlling the breakaway to go for a stage win, however with Groupama now in the lead of the race they will want to keep it and if there is a threat in the escapee group surely it will be neutralized. 

The Favourites

Primoz Roglic – He’s taken his stage win and is leading the run for the GC contenders. Here Roglic will only need to race defensively, and Jumbo has him well protected. A case of keeping the status quo I would say. 

Remco Evenepoel – This is a climb that will suit Evenepoel, with less hard gradients towards the end yet very constant. With his eye on the third week however I doubt he’ll want to attack, rather just stay safe and in sight of the lead. 

BORA – Jai Hindley will prefer the stages for the pure climbers but he’s looking good. Having Hindley and Sergio Higuita – who I will assume is feeling better than yesterday’s heat issues – will be a good weapon for BORA which they can capitalize on. 

INEOS – Carapaz is the leader for INEOS but I think his best form is still to come. He’s not looked too sharp in Pologne and the first hilltop finish here, whilst Pavel Sivakov and Tao Geoghegan Hart have. With Carlos Rodríguez added in the mix, I think the team’s priority will be to keep the depth, which they can play later in the race. 

Bahrain – Mikel Landa shared not so good signs before the Vuelta, but it may be a bluff. The team has options with Gino Mader and Santiago Buitrago, but I would say they are a level below the top. They may at the same time enjoy some freedom because of that however. 

Simon Yates – There will be better days, however if Simon Yates is on a good day he may very well turn up the gas and try to blow up the GC race. He’s fond of doing so when he’s got good form, he’ll have to be watched closely. 

If it comes to the GC riders, several other riders will have the chance to fight for stage wins aswell. Enric Mas showed great legs in the opening hilltop finish and will have to be taken into consideration, with Ben O’Connor also putting in a good performance. Regarding the Vuelta a Burgos, you’ve seen Miguel Angel Lopez and João Almeida perform very well on the queen stage and they may be eyeing to take some time on this first summit finish. 

The stage will likely serve to have some order in the GC, so many will prefer to stay in the wheel and get a grip of what level they are in. However surprises can always pop. Between the outsiders there will be Thymen Arensman and the duos of Intermarché – Louis Meintjes and Domenico Pozzovivo, Trek – Segafredo – Juan Pedro López and Kenny Elissonde – and the EF trio of Hugh Carthy, Esteban Chaves and Rigoberto Uran

A breakaway can succeed too. With 5 minutes of deficit at least for the majority in relation to Molard and likely little intent to chase, the hilly start may see a strong and uncontrollable group go up the road. Clément Champoussin, Élie Gesbert, Jesus Ezquerra, José Manuel Díaz, Jesús Herrada, Thibaut Pinot, Jay Vine, Bob Jungels and Alexey Lutsenko are some of the riders that I would expect to see try something, and be a possible threat to the stage win. 

Inside The Bus

This morning I talk to…

#194 Jesús Ezquerra – Let’s try and get in the break Jesús! Victor has done a great job and is into the KOM lead, you’re showing strong form and a breakaway may succeed again – who knows, a red jersey? Anyway if that’s to be possible today is likely your last opportunity, let’s give it a nudge. 

#84 Ethan Hayter – Don’t overdo it Ethan, I know you’ve been always in the back of the peloton but this will be an important day for the GC riders and we need to keep the climbers safe. Stay in front, help with positioning, and if you’re still there into the final climb you can let the group go and rest towards more suiting stages. 

#188 Jay Vine – We’ll have some guys with you early on, you’ve lost the time and should have freedom to join a breakaway. We want to go for a stage win with you and this will be a good opportunity. Ideally, it will all be into the final climb for you to fight for the win. 

Prediction Time

⭐⭐⭐Lutsenko, Vine, Roglic

⭐⭐Jungels, Evenepoel, Hindley, Sivakov

⭐Champoussin, Gesbert, Pinot, Je.Herrada, Higuita, Carapaz, S.Yates, Mas, MA.Lopez, Almeida, O’Connor

I’m going for a second breakaway win, this time for Jay Vine. It’s a day for the climbers, and some riders have already lost time eyeing the breaks. It’s a good day for the Alpecin rider, I think it can be his. 

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Rúben Silva

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2 thoughts on “2022 Vuelta a España – Stage 6 Preview

  1. Super prediction once again Rúben ! Congrats because it was not an easy one. Vine was impressive today, and this stage was rich in lessons for the GC. A great stage already.

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