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Roche tenth in Murcia sprint finish

Posted 02 September 2010

Nicolas Roche recorded his third top ten finish in this year’s Vuelta á Espana when stage six came down to a bunch sprint won by Thor Hushovd of the Cervelo Test Team.

Roche placed 10th in the sprint after a group of 65 riders held together over the climb and descent of the second category Alto de Cresta del Gallo inside the final 20 kilometres.

Roche’s prospects of a stage win looked promising heading onto the seven kilometre long climb as the peloton pulled back a three man break comprising Markus Eichler (Milram), Juan Javier Estrada Ruiz (Andalucia CajaSur) and Freddy Bichot (Bbox Bouygues Telecom).

Some strong riding by the Katusha team of Joaquin Rodriguez spat out most of the sprinters but the climb was too short to separate the GC contenders or to allow a lead group to form.

Race leader Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma Lotto) and Filippo Pozzatto (Katusha) opened some ground on the rapid descent but returned to the fold with 14 kilometres to go.

A counter attack by Astana’s Dmitriy Fofonov ran aground after five kilometres as the Cervelo Test Team made the most of having five riders in the lead group to set things up for Hushovd.

The Norwegian delivered the stage win with relative ease after Gilbert made the mistake of opening the sprint from 450 metres out. Daniele Bennati (Liquigas Domio) held out for second place with Grega Bole (Lampre Farnese Vini) taking third.

Philip Deignan (Cervelo Test Team) finished the stage as part of a group of thirty riders who came home 12:31 down and drops to 165th in the GC where he is now 53:13 behind Gilbert.

Roche remains 11th in the GC just 58 seconds off the pace heading into stage seven to Orihuela which is unlikely to produce anything other than another sprint finish.

Results:

2010 Vuelta á Espana

Stage 6: Caravaca de la Cruz – Murcia, 151 kilometres

1. Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team 3 hours, 36 minutes, 20 seconds    
2.  Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo             
3.  Grega Bole (Slo) Lampre-Farnese Vini             
4.  Allan Davis (Aus) Astana             
5.  Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Team Katusha             
6.  Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto             
7.  Peter Velits (Svk) Team HTC - Columbia             
8.  Pablo Urtasun Perez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi             
9.  Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, le Credit en Ligne             
10. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale, all s.t.

10. Nicolas Roche (IRL) AG2R La Mondiale, same time
187. Philip Deignan (IRL) Cervelo Test Team at 12 minutes, 31 seconds

General classification after stage 6:

1.  Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 22 minutes, 36 minutes 26 seconds
2.  Igor Anton (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:00:10        
3.  Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha             
4.  Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo at 0:00:12        
5.  Peter Velits (Svk) Team HTC-Columbia at 0:00:16        
6.  Tejay Van Garderen (USA) Team HTC-Columbia at 0:00:29        
7.  Xavier Tondo (Spa) Cervélo Test Team at 0:00:49        
8.  Frank Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank at 0:00:50        
9.  Ruben Plaza (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne at 0:00:54        
10. Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia at 0:00:55

11. Nicolas Roche (IRL) AG2R La Mondiale  at 58 seconds
165. Philip Deignan (IRL) Cervelo Test Team at 53 minutes, 13 seconds

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