France’s Bouhanni sprints to stage win in Vuelta
Molard keeps lead for 2nd straight day
SAN JAVIER, SPAIN — One day after finishing last, Nacer Bouhanni rebounded in fine fashion by sprinting to win the sixth stage of the Spanish Vuelta cycling race Thursday.
FDJ rider Rudy Molard kept the lead for a second straight day after finishing shortly behind fellow Frenchman Bouhanni.
Bouhanni claimed the win for his Cofidis team in just under four hours by edging the closest of five rivals by a wheel length in the mostly flat 155.7-kilometre ride from Huercal-Overa to
San Javier along the dry and rocky southeastern coast.
“I was very motivated to turn this situation around,” Bouhanni said.
“I really wanted to get another important win.”
Bouhanni also won two stages in the 2014 edition of the
But after not being selected to ride in the Tour de France in
July, Bouhanni was having a rough start to this year’s Vuelta.
Bouhanni finished Stage 5 in last place, 25 minutes behind the stage winner.
He was also handed a 30-second penalty that was originally reported by Spanish media as resulting from a heated argument with his sports director.
Cofidis denied that there had been a dispute and attributed the penalty to the rider taking food in a prohibited area.
Bouhanni proved a day later why he is considered one of cycling’s top sprinters by charging to the win ahead of Danny
Van Poppel (LottoNL-Jumbo), followed by Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) in third.
The stage was uneventful until a small crash rounding a corner in a town crossing with 25 kilometres remaining as the peloton entered a section subject to crosswinds.
The cyclists broke apart and a pack of trailers including Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), who both started the day in the top 12 spots, lost one minute and 44 seconds.
Molard maintained his 41-second lead over Team Sky’s Michal Kwiatkowski.
Among the other race favourites, Simon Yates (Michelton-Scott) remained fourth at 51 seconds behind Molard, and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) was fifth, 53 seconds back.
Nairo Quintana (Movistar) was eighth, trailing Molard by 1:14.
Richie Porte (BMC) got out on an early breakaway with Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis) and Jorge Cubero (Burgos-BH).
The peloton caught Porte and Mate with 32K left. Cubero lasted for three more kilometres.
The seventh stage remains in the southeastern region of Murcia on Friday for a relatively flat 185.7-kilometres from Puerto Lumbreras to Pozo Alcon.
The three-week Grand Tour finishes in Madrid on Sept. 16.