Catalunya: Schachmann wins shortened stage 6, Valverde retains GC lead

Heavy snow shortened the sixth stage of the Volta a Cataluyna and Maximilian Schachmann (Quick-Step Floors) took top honors.

Maximilian Schachmann (Quick-Step Floors) won the shortened sixth and penultimate stage of the 2018 Volta a Catalunya in Torrefarrera on Saturday, as the peloton mistimed the catch of the breakaway. Schachmann outsprinted his breakaway companion Diego Rubio (Burgos-BH) to take the win. Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) led home the peloton 18 seconds after Schachmann to complete the stage podium.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) finished safely in the bunch to retain his lead in the general classification. Crosswinds in the final 30 kilometers threatened to create havoc among the overall contenders, but all of the favorites made the front split.

Top-10 stage 6

  • 1. Maximilian Schachmann, QUICK-STEP FLOORS, in 2:34:25
  • 2. Diego Rubio, BURGOS-BH, at 00:00,
  • 3. Sam Bennett, BORA – HANSGROHE, at 00:18
  • 4. Matej Mohoric, BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, at 00:18,
  • 5. Roberto Ferrari, UAE-TEAM EMIRATES, at 00:18,
  • 6. Enrique Sanz, EUSKADI – MURIAS, at 00:18,
  • 7. Arley BernalEgan, TEAM SKY, at 00:18,
  • 8. Danilo Wyss, BMC RACING TEAM, at 00:18,
  • 9. Joaquín RojasJosé, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 00:18,
  • 10. Benoit Jarrier, FORTUNEO – SAMSIC, at 00:18,

Top 10 overall

  • 1. Alejandro Valverde, MOVISTAR TEAM, in 24:56:48
  • 2. Arley BernalEgan, TEAM SKY, at 00:16
  • 3. Nairo Quintana, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 00:26
  • 4. Pierre Latour, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 00:48
  • 5. Simon Yates, MITCHELTON-SCOTT, at 01:12
  • 6. Marc Soler, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 01:18
  • 7. George Bennett, TEAM LOTTONL-JUMBO, at 01:20
  • 9. Felipe MartinezDaniel, TEAM EF EDUCATION FIRST-DRAPAC P/B CANNONDALE, at 01:26
  • 10. Jesper Hansen, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 01:28

The penultimate stage of the 2018 Volta a Catalunya was shortened by 78 kilometers due to heavy snow at the start in Vielha e Mijaran. The stage instead started in Pobla de Segur and was only 116 kilometers long. Despite moving to a lower altitude to avoid the snow, the peloton still rode through a cold rain throughout most of the stage.

Schachmann and Diego Rubio escaped from the peloton early in the stage, but the peloton kept them on a short leash. For the majority of the stage, the peloton rolled along calmly.

Heading into the final 35 kilometers of the stage the wind picked up. It had stopped raining, but the peloton was now being buffeted by a stiff crosswind that blew across the flat landscape. The peloton split to pieces in the wind with many echelons forming. All of the GC contenders were alert and made the front echelon, as the breakaway’s lead came tumbling down. The duo held just over a minute advantage with still 20 kilometers to go.

After turning away from the crosswinds, the riders had a tailwind to finish the stage. Inside the final 10 kilometers, the leading duo still held nearly a minute advantage, as the chase in the peloton was disorganized. The tailwind was greatly helping Schachmann and Rubio’s chances of surviving to contest the stage win.

Through the outskirts of Torrefarrera, the leaders still held an advantage of nearly 30 seconds. The road turned and weaved through many traffic islands and roundabouts. This also played into the hands of the leaders, as the traffic furniture made it difficult for the peloton to have an organized chase effort.

Inside the final kilometer, it was evident Schachmann and Rubio would stay away to contest the stage win. The Quick-Step rider handily outsprinted his breakaway companion to take the victory.

The peloton came home without incident, as Bennett took the bunch sprint over Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida) and Roberto Ferrari (UAE Team Emirates). Valverde finished safely in the bunch to keep the leader’s jersey. He will enter the final stage in Barcelona on Sunday with a 16-second advantage over Team Sky’s Egen Bernal. Valverde’s teammate, Nairo Quintana, sits third overall at 26 seconds.