Classy Sanchez surprises field
Albasini looking secure in race lead
Last Updated: 24/03/12 5:05pm
Samuel Sanchez: The Spaniard's constant attacking finally paid off on stage six
Samuel Sanchez escaped the clutches of the peloton to claim victory on stage six at the Volta a Catalunya.
The Euskaltel-Euskadi rider attacked on a steep incline on the finishing circuit in Badalona and surged onwards to the finish, taking a valuable two seconds on the line to propel himself up to second overall in the standings.
In a finish which saw sprinters mixing it up with GC contenders desperate for a high stage placing, it was Allan Davis (GreenEDGE) who claimed second with Friday’s victor Julien Simon (Saur-Sojasun) third.
A bunch kick allowed leader Michael Albasini (GreenEDGE) to maintain his comfortable advantage, yet the big mover on the day was Sanchez, jumping up two places on the overall to second with a classy victory.
In a stage that looked like it could possibly favour a breakaway, a three man group of Cedric Pineau (FDJ-BigMat), Mikael Cherel (AG2R-La Mondiale) and David Moncoutie (Cofidis) built up an advantage of 3:40 in the early going.
However the race was neutralised after 70km due to an incident as a police motor cycle collided with a car running ahead of the race. After a 38-minute delay the action resumed, yet the fire had been taken out of the break and they were reeled in ahead of the final climb.
Unsurprisingly another group fancied their chances with the quartet of stage three winner Janez Brajkovic (Astana), Yann Huguet (Project 1t41), Romain Zingle (Cofidis) and Jussi Veikkanen (FDJ-BigMat) pushing on.
But with a number of teams fearful of leaving the race empty-handed there were plenty of riders willing to ride on the front in pursuit of the escapees.
Despite only weighing in at 355 metres a number of leading contenders, desperate to make up time, tried to attack on the third category Alt de la Conreria.
The surge in pace saw the escapees quickly captured as the favourites marked one another, none able to build up a buffer for the third consecutive day.
That was until Sanchez caught the leaders napping with a late bid and a welcome first victory of the season for his Basque squad.