Race report

Robert Power takes brave 4th place from star-studded breakaway

Vuelta a España

Photos: Cor Vos

The Vuelta continued with its trend of high mountain stages on day six with a short sharp 146 kilometre route in the lower Pyrenees. The riders set off from the town of Biescas under miserable weather conditions -synonymous with northern Aragón in late October- which followed the riders throughout the afternoon. Despite the constant rainfall, it was another blistering start to proceedings with 50 kilometres covered in the first hour of racing. A couple of breakaway attempts were neutralised before a group of 23 which included Robert Power, Jasha Sütterlin and Michael Storer, was allowed to get away.

In spite of their strength in numbers, the escape’s advantage never exceded the four minute mark, given that a few of the breakaway members threatened the red jersey’s virtual lead. Unfazed by their relatively small margin, the group cooperated well together and maintained a similar buffer throughout. Hostilities would then resume over the penultimate climb, Puerto de Cotefablo, as riders saw the opportunity to make a move on the descent back into Biescas.

With the GC favourites exchanging blows further down the road, the victory looked certain for the breakaway. Gorka Izagirre’s long range attack combined with the irregular percentages of Aramón Formigal whittled the group down to just a handful of big name riders heading into the final few kilometres. Comfortably nestled in the front group after being sheltered by Storer and Sütterlin on the earlier slopes, was Power, who managed to stick with the big favourites finishing in fourth place just 27 seconds down on the winner.

“We all did really well to get in the breakaway,” explained an exhausted Power after the stage. “Coming into the final climb, Michael did a great job covering all the moves. I tried my best all the way to the line. Despite the weather conditions, the legs were really strong. I gave it everything and I’m proud of how we performed today. Still a lot of opportunities left in this race.” 

Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef continued: “Our goal today was to go for the early breakaway. It was a big group and the boys were very sharp in managing to get three of us in the move. They worked really well together. Ultimately Rob was our strongest guy in the final and managed to get a solid fourth place. It’s an encouraging peformance going into the rest day.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 IZAGIRRE Ion Astana Pro Team 3:41:00 100
2 WOODS Michael EF Pro Cycling 0:25 40
3 COSTA Rui UAE-Team Emirates ,, 20
4 POWER Robert Team Sunweb 0:27 12
19 STORER Michael Team Sunweb 1:37 -
67 SÜTTERLIN Jasha Team Sunweb 10:18 -
69 DONOVAN Mark Team Sunweb ,, -
107 ARENSMAN Thymen Team Sunweb 17:11 -
126 KANTER Max Team Sunweb ,, -
162 SALMON Martin Team Sunweb 25:58 -