Vuelta a España 2014 – Stage 6 Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

Vuelta a España 2014 – Stage 6 Preview

By David Hunter

Stage 5 Recap

We got a small break today, just Tony Martin and Pim Ligthart. The presence of the big German, severely worried the peloton and they made sure the lead stayed at under 2 minutes. Big Tony, knew that it was pointless, so he gave up and returned to the peloton. The stage, left the main road, for a short climb and descent, with around 40km to go. On the descent, Tinkoff-Saxo, sensed some wind and put the hammer down. They split the peloton, most noticeable in their absence was Cadel Evans, Dan Martin, Andrew Talansky and Ryder Hesjedal. It was a silly, lack of concentration from Garmin and resulted in the end of the GC for Hesjedal and Talansky. Thankfully, Dan Martin, managed to re-join the main bunch. The reduced peleton, rolled towards town for the sprint. It was a bit of a strange one, with BMC launching Philippe Gilbert, too early. That forced De Kort into trying to launch Degenkolb. In the confusion, the German, lost his wheel. This forced him into the sprint from quite far out. He looked to be slowing, potentially allowing Nacer Bouhanni in, but there was no space for the Frenchman. Just as well for Degenkolb, as I think he would have beaten him. Moreno Hofland of Belkin, was third.

Stage 6 Benalmadena – Alto Cumbres Verdes. La Zubia 167.1km

It’s holiday time!


The race heads past Malaga and along the costal road to Torre del Mar. Many happy days, I’ve spent here, in the water park! They turn left and head towards the hills, but every year, I continue on to Nerja. This is my favourite part of the world and I’m very jealous, that I’m not there just now!

The roads here are very hilly and heavy on the legs. The heat will be very high and after so many hot days, some big names will suffer today. I spoke to one of the riders in the peloton and he told me that once you go above your limit, recovery is very hard.

ve6aAfter a nice gentle opening to the stage, with beautiful views over the Med, the riders head to the hills. The final 100km of the stage, includes 3 categorised climbs and a couple of other lumps. The climbs are:-

Alto de Zafarraya 12.3km at 5.7%

Alto de los Bermejales 5.8km at 5.8%

Alto Cumbres Verdes 4.6km at 7.8%

This stage is all about the final 4.6km! Our first mountaintop finish of this year.


This is a great climb and not well known to the riders. One local rider, who is bound to be in the break, is Luis Angel Mate. He used to ride for Andalucia-Cajasur and has previously, gone well in the Vuelta a Andalucia. He can’t win from the peloton, so the break is his only option.

The climb is brutal! Especially, if you remove the 500m of flat, it’s 4 kilometres, at around 10% or more. This is one for the short, steep specialists.

The climb takes place in a very barren bit of land. Very few trees, or protection from the elements. It’s also on a very long road, with very few turns in 5km. The wind is quite light, 7mph, but it’s coming across the riders, from the right and it’s a slight headwind. This means it will be difficult for anyone to escape the clutches of the peloton, until near the end of the stage. Having a strong team, to protect against the elements, is crucial. So who will boss the stage?

Team Katusha are brilliant in this race. They have a very strong squad, full of experienced riders, and they will try to control the climb. They have 2 excellent choices for the stage, Joaquim Rodriguez and Daniel Moreno. If the wind prevents attacks, Moreno will win the stage from the bunch. However, both men are capable of late attacks.

Movistar also have 2 options, Quintana and Valverde. Alejandro, does like racing in Andalucia and previously did this climb as an amateur. Quintana will look to follow wheels, I don’t see him attacking so early in the race.

What do Contador and Froome have? Looking back to stage 3, gives an indication of form. Contador was in a great position, with 600 metres to go, but he drifted back and only just finished on the same time as the other big riders. Froome tried to close down the attack of Caruso, with 300 metres to go, but he didn’t have the legs to do so. I don’t think either man, is capable of winning this stage.

The other major contender is Dan Martin. The Irishman is in great form and this climb suits his capabilities. He has a history of starting the Vuelta with a good performance. He already took second, on stage 3, can he do better here?

I have to be honest, I could list a whole host of other riders, but I think the winner comes from Martin, Rodriguez, Moreno and Valverde.

Prediction time…

This is very, very hard. I’m going to say Valverde won’t win, so we’re down to 3. Katusha have the numbers, so they should take the stage. It depends which way round they play it. Rodriguez can attack and Moreno follow, or they go the other way round!

Dani Moreno to win from a very small, sprint.

Dan Martin to podium.

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David Hunter

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