Gerrans places fourth on stage six of Volta a Catalunya after Chaves spends the day in the breakaway

Sat 26 Mar 2016

Stage six of the WorldTour race Volta a Catalunya finished with a bunch sprint with Tour de France stage winner Simon Gerrans narrowly missed out on a podium spot finishing the day in fourth place. 

Colombian climber Esteban Chaves spent 130kilometres of the 197kilometre stage in the breakaway, alongside ten others who were all eventually caught in the closing metres. Davide Cimolai (Lampre-Merida) took the stage honours into Vilanove i la Geltru.

Sport director Neil Stephens said the day unfortunately didn't quite work out for ORICA-GreenEDGE.

"We got a bit split at the start and Gerrans had to do a bit of work early on," Stephens said. "We decided we would sprint for Daryl Impey today, but as it turned out we probably didn't execute the finish as well as we could have."

"Simon and Daryl got split up in the final 500metres and so we made a couple of mistakes today. Everyone wanted to do better but couldn't for different reasons and that was just the way it worked out."

ORICA-GreenEDGE were represented in the day's long breakaway which animated most of stage and worked as an advantage for the team.

"We had Esteban in the break today and by having someone there, there is always a chance to go for a stage finish," Stephens continued. "It probably wasn't a stage that suited Esteban, but while he is in the front it's like having a lottery ticket, you've got a chance of getting the win."

"There were plenty of good bike riders out the in the break with him, and while he is out the front riding, we don't have to ride at the back so that works out for us, that was the benefit we got out of it in the end."

How it happened:

For the penultimate stage the peloton faced another lumpy day but with only two categories climbs there was again the potential for a bunch sprint. Canadian Christian Meier didn't take to the start line for ORICA-GreenEDGE after not feeling 100% over the last few days.

The first 60kilometres of the race was similar to yesterday's stage with a rapid pace and many riders trying to make it into the breakaway. Impey tried early on and established a small gap with others, however the move wasn't to be. At the 63km mark a breakaway finally formed and Chaves found himself alongside ten riders who were able to open up a gap of over five minutes.

On the second and final categorised climb of the day at 116kilometres, the breakaway's advantage came down to three minutes. Chaves crested the climb first, taking top points for the mountain classification. Lampre-Merida and IAM Cycling headed the peloton, working to slowly reel in the eleven escapees.

After 130kilometres out the front, Chaves was finally absorbed by the fast chasing peloton. ORICA-GreenEDGE once again sent Amets Txurruka to the head of the bunch to help with the chase on stage that looked set for a sprint finish.

It was touch and go whether or not the remaining breakaway riders would stay away and it came down to the final few metres when four survivors were caught in an what was an exciting finish to stage six. Cimolai took the stage victory ahead of Gerrans who finished in fourth place.

Tomorrow the riders have another chance with the final stage containing eight category three climbs with laps around Montjuic in Barcelona.

Volta a Catalunya stage six results:

1. Davide Cimolai (Lampre-Merida) 4:35:13
2. Nikias Ardnt (Team Giant-Alpecin) ST
3. Tosh van der Sande (Lotto-Soudal) ST
4. Simon Gerrans (ORICA-GreenEDGE) ST

General classification after stage six:

1. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) 23:07:14
2. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) +0:07
3. Richie Porte (BMC) +0:17
43. Damien Howson (ORICA-GreenEDGE) +11:25