Esteban Chaves wins 6th Vuelta stage, takes overall lead
SIERRA DE CAZORLA, Spain (AP) — Esteban Chaves of Colombia timed his final charge perfectly to win the Spanish Vuelta’s sixth stage, notching up his second stage win to take the overall race lead Thursday.
The 25-year-old fended off challenges by Daniel Martin of Ireland and Tom Dumoulin of Netherlands up the final ascent and finished in four hours, 46 minutes, 16 seconds. He had also won Sunday’s second stage ending at Caminito del Rey.
Martin finished second, five seconds behind, and Dumoulin third on the same time.
The Orica Greenedge rider acknowledged he had achieved something important by winning two stages in the 11-stage race, but insisted he had to stay focused.
“We’ve done something pretty big — two stage wins,” he said. “We have to enjoy this moment but keep our feet on the ground because some very difficult stages are yet to come.”
The race from Cordoba to Sierra Cazorla included two category three ascents, and it was at the beginning of the second that a six-rider group led by Stephen Cummings broke away from the pack, leading by up to two minutes.
However, temperatures reaching 39 degrees Celsius (102 F) in sunny condition took their toll as the lead group tackled the final ascent and Chaves spotted his chance.
Chaves, who crossed the line having raced at an average of 42 kilometers per hour (26 mph), leads overall on 21 hours, 55 minutes, 13 seconds, with Dumoulin third overall and Martin third.
Tour de France winner Chris Froome of Britain finished seventh overall, 55 seconds behind, while Nairo Quintana of Colombia is now ninth, 57 second behind.
Friday’s seventh stage is a 191.1-kilometer (118.7-mile) mountainous stage from Jodar to La Alpujarra — including a category one ascent to the finish line at the Alto de Capileira summit.