Bouhanni sprints to win Vuelta's Stage 6, Mo­lard keeps lead

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

One day af­ter fin­ish­ing last, Nacer Bouhanni re­bounded in fine fash­ion by sprint­ing to win the sixth stage of the Span­ish Vuelta on 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-kilo­me­ter (96.7-mile) ride from Huer­calOvera 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 Vuelta.

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 (Quick­Step Floors) in third.

The stage was un­event­ful un­til a small crash round­ing a corner in a town cross­ing with 25 kilo­me­ters 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 1 minute, 44 sec­onds.

Mo­lard main­tained his 41-sec­ond lead over Team Sky's Michal Kwiatkowski.

Among the other race fa­vorites, 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 kilo­me­ters.

The sev­enth stage re­mains in the south­east­ern re­gion of Mur­cia on Fri­day for a rel­a­tively flat 185.7-kilo­me­ter (115.3-mile) from Puerto Lum­br­eras to Pozo Al­con.

The three-week Grand Tour fin­ishes in Madrid on Sept. 16.

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