Simon Gerrans sprints to surprise Volta a Catalunya win as Dan Martin retains lead
Last Updated: 24/03/13 11:59am
Simon Gerrans: Impressive turn of speed to win stage six
Simon Gerrans timed his sprint to perfection to claim victory on stage six at the Volta a Catalunya as Dan Martin maintained the race lead.
The Australian (Orica-GreenEDGE) came from deep in the pack to hold off Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) as a depleted bunch contested the sprint into Valls.
The peloton had been stretched to breaking point after a rapid ascent of the final second category Alt de Lilla with around 40 riders arriving into a technical finish.
The day's break were swept up with four kilometres to go as a number of riders pushed the pace along, yet as the dust settled it was Martin (Garmin-Sharp) who maintained his lead at the top of the standings.
An early time bonus elevated the Irishman to a 17-second lead over Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) with Nairo Quintana (Movistar, 45 seconds back) and Sir Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) at 54 seconds next up.
The 178.7km penultimate stage headed back towards the coast with the peloton strung out from early on in the day.
The race held together heading into the first intermediate sprint in Alcarras where Martin carved out a further three seconds on his rivals flanked by his team-mates.
A fast pace saw the peloton split briefly but it all came back together as the first category Alt de Prades prepared to take the peloton up to 1000 metres.
With 100km in the books a break of eight riders finally went clear, Josh Edmondson flying the flag for Team Sky on the steep slopes with the likes of Sylwester Szmyd (Movistar) and Daniel Navarro (Cofidis) also lending their weight to the move.
The gap opened out to 2:45 but the steep descent and the run down to the final climb of the Alt de Lilla saw things close back up as AG2R-La Mondiale and BMC Racing looked to bring back the move.
Team Sky looked to police the attacks on the wide roads as the pace of the climb significantly strung out the bunch on the run into Valls ahead of the sprint.
Stage six result
1 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE, 3:55.46
2 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, same time
3 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, st
4 Daniele Ratto (Ita) Cannondale, st
5 Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC, st
6 Julien Simon (Fra) Sojasun, st
7 Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha, st
8 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha, st
9 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana, st
10 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Team Sky
1 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp, 26:16.22
2 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha, +17secs
3 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, +45
4 Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky, +54
5 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida, +55
6 Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco, +1.07
7 Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida, +1.18
8 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ, +1.26
9 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol, +1.28
10 Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin-Sharp, +1.30