Freire Wins Stage 6 of Vuelta
Oscar Freire (Rabobank) has won Stage 6 of the Vuelta a Espana.
Oscar Freire (Rabobank) has won Stage 6 of the Vuelta a Espana. The two-time world champion took a bunch sprint for Erik Zabel (T-Mobile) and Stuart O?Grady (Cofidis) to win the rolling, 157-km ride from Benicarlo to Castellon de la Plana in 3:48:23. Manuel Beltran (U.S. Postal Service) remains the overall leader.
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The riders suffered through warm, hazy, humid conditions. At 37 km, Manuel Quinziato (Lampre) attacked, and Martin Hvastija (Alessio) and Kevin Hulsmans (Quick Step) joined him. Hvastija was dropped, but Quinziato and Hulsmans built an 11-minute lead before the Rabobank-led peloton began to chase.
With 35 km remaining, Illes Balears and Liberty Seguros joined Rabobank at the base of the Alto del Desierto de las Palmas. The break was reeled in, and Isidro Nozal (Liberty Seguros) accelerated. The combustion split the peloton and dropped Juan Antonio Pecharroman (Quick Step), Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel), Igor Astarloa (Lampre), and Danilo Di Luca (Saeco), among others.
Cofidis drove the field to the finish. In the last two km, David Fernandez and Jorge Ferrio (both from Paternina) attacked but were reeled in. Pedro Horrillo (Quick Step) started the sprint with O?Grady on his wheel. Zabel jumped O?Grady, but Freire overhauled the German with 200 m left.
In the overall, Beltran leads teammate Floyd Landis and Denis Menchov (Illes Balears). Stage 7 will probably not change the top of the general classification dramatically. The 170-km run from Castellon de la Plana to Valencia will feature a Category 2 and a Category 3 ascent in midstage, but the peloton should regroup for a bunch sprint. Will Freire make it two in a row? Will Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) win his third stage of this year?s Vuelta? Will Zabel win his first? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!
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