Stage 6: Caravaca de la Cruz — Murcia
What is it? Mostly flat, with a climb at 18 kilometers to go. Breakaway likely.
Got Climbs? Just one: Category 2, Alto de la Cresta del Gallo
Red Jersey Battle: Probably not.
Ideal Rider: Philippe Gilbert. There's a 7 kilometer climb with 18 kilometers left to race. It's a finish made for an attacking rider. Why not a stage win before Worlds?
@Gavia: A tricky business, these Vuelta stages. I only pretend to know how to call them.
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We're still in southeastern Spain, and this stage runs from Caravaca de la Cruz to Murcia. It's mostly flat with occasional bumpy bits. Only one categorized climb decorates the profile, and it summits with 18 kilometers left to race. It's a perfect launch pad for a stage victory and we should see a breakaway winner in Murcia. The Alto de la Cresta del Gallo climbs for 7 kilometers and has an average gradient of just over 4%. The organizers did not feel inclined to tell us anything more about this climb, except that it appears in the Vuelta for the first time this year.
The final 10 kilometers run flat into Murcia. If a breakaway wants to succeed, they will have their work cut out for them. The climb offers opportunity, but it's by no means a sure thing. If the sprinters are motivated, they might be able to bring it all back together. It's a good chance for a sprinter like Farrar or Freire, who can make it over the final climb with his sprint speed still in his legs, and Garmin-Transitions might decide to throw down big for the chase here.
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Post-Race Happy Hour
It was a sprint! But not everyone made it to the party, thanks to the Cresta del Gallo. Cervélo TestTeam did the driving and delivered Thor Hushovd to a stage victory today. Daniele Bennati finished second, Gregory Bole of Lampre third. Philippe Gilbert continues as the race leader. Really, he looks quite smashing in Red.
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