Esteban Chaves was seeing red on Thursday at the Vuelta a España. After losing the leader’s jersey to Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) on Wednesday, the Orica-GreenEdge rider unleashed a bold, early attack on the short finishing climb of stage 6 to win his second stage and reclaim the red jersey. Dumoulin put up a good fight to chase back the 25-year-old, but he could not defend his narrow one-second GC lead at the end of 200.3km of racing.
“I can’t believe — it’s unbelievable. Today was a really long stage,” said Chaves. “I had really good legs. I’m really happy, and I want to say again — the team is amazing. It’s like a family, this team.”
Top 10, stage 6
- 1. Jhoan Esteban CHAVES RUBIO, ORICA – GreenEdge, in 4:46:16
- 2. Daniel MARTIN, TEAM CANNONDALE – GARMIN, at :05
- 3. Tom DUMOULIN, TEAM GIANT – ALPECIN, at :05
- 4. Ruben PLAZA MOLINA, LAMPRE – MERIDA, at :11
- 5. Alejandro VALVERDE BELMONTE, MOVISTAR TEAM, at :11
- 6. Joaquin RODRIGUEZ OLIVER, TEAM KATUSHA, at :11
- 7. Christopher FROOME, TEAM SKY, at :11
- 8. Rafal MAJKA, TINKOFF – SAXO, at :11
- 9. Nairo Alexander QUINTANA ROJAS, MOVISTAR TEAM, at :11
- 10. Nicolas ROCHE, TEAM SKY, at :11
- 1. Jhoan Esteban CHAVES RUBIO, ORICA – GreenEdge, in 21:55:13
- 2. Tom DUMOULIN, TEAM GIANT – ALPECIN, at :10
- 3. Daniel MARTIN, TEAM CANNONDALE – GARMIN, at :33
- 4. Nicolas ROCHE, TEAM SKY, at :36
- 5. Alejandro VALVERDE BELMONTE, MOVISTAR TEAM, at :49
- 6. Daniel MORENO FERNANDEZ, TEAM KATUSHA, at :51
- 7. Christopher FROOME, TEAM SKY, at :55
- 8. Joaquin RODRIGUEZ OLIVER, TEAM KATUSHA, at :56
- 9. Nairo Alexander QUINTANA ROJAS, MOVISTAR TEAM, at :57
- 10. Fabio ARU, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 1:08
Six riders were off the front early: Peter Velits (BMC), Miguel Angel Rubiano (Colombia), Kristijan Durasek (Lampre-Merida), Steve Cummings (MTN-Qhubeka), Cyril Gautier (Europcar), and Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quick-Step). Inside of 19 kilometers to go, the gap was under one minute. With 11.5km left, Cummings attacked and got away from the other breakaway riders. With 5km to go, his lead was 48 seconds.
However, the Tour de France stage winner, Cummings, was caught as Chaves attacked from the peloton and set off alone at the bottom of the climb to Sierra de Cazorla. Giant-Alpecin drove the pace behind to defend Dumoulin’s GC lead. Then, they cut Dumoulin loose to chase the Colombian attacker as the climb’s steep grade relented.
Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin) was next to attack from the field, with less than a kilometer left. The Irishman punched his way up the steep pitch to catch Dumoulin, but he couldn’t bring back Chaves.
On Friday, the Vuelta peloton will be faced with a far more intimidating final climb — a category 1 ascent of the Alto de Capiliera after 191.1km of racing from Jódar to La Alpujarra.