Roglic back in red after Vuelta small summit showdown
Defending champion Primoz Roglic retook the Vuelta a Espana overall lead on Thursday when he led the main contenders up a steep incline finish, just failing however to catch early escaper Magnus Cort Nielsen, who won stage six.
The finals ascent at Cullera was an imposing 1.9km climb at 9.4 per cent gradient and delivered a confrontation between the overall contenders.
EF's Cort Nielsen clung on impressively to beat Roglic by a bike length, and could barely raise his arms in celebration at the finish.
"It was very close, I looked back at 150m and saw Roglic. I'm so happy," said the 28-year-old Dane, "This one is special for me in a very different way. The stages I win are always in sprints and I'm very happy to show I can also do it in other terrains and finish off a breakaway like this today!"
Another EF rider, and one of the pre-race fancied riders, Hugh Carthy, was dropped and lost around three minutes after Ineos, Jumbo and Movistar powered away in the final part of the stage.
Roglic now leads a trio of Movistar riders in the overall standings with Enric Mas at 25sec, Miguel Angel Lopez at 36 and Alejandro Valverde at 41 with Egan Bernal in fifth, also at just 41sec.
Valverde made it a 2-3-4 for Movista, while Vlasov and Ciccone are the only other men within a minute of the leader.
Roglic said afterwards to the press, "Magnus was just stronger and he had really good legs so definitely he deserved the win. For myself it was not so much about the win. It was first of all trying to stay safe out of trouble and then try to enjoy it. At the end I had good legs so I did a little sprint. We'll see who will be the strongest in Santiago eh? It's a long way until then but it's a start and we'll try to keep the focus and do our job the best."
La Vuelta serves the first proper mountainous test on the seventh day of action!
Stage 7 goes either up or down from start to finish. The route amounts to 152 kilometres and finishes at the steep Balcón de Alicante, a plateau behind the tourist region of the Costa Blanca.
VIDEO: 2021 La Vuelta Stage 6 Highlights
2021 La Vuelta Stage 6 Top 10
1 Magnus Cort (Den) EF Education-Nippo 3:30:53
2 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma
3 Andrea Bagioli (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:02
4 Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech 0:00:04
5 Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team
6 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team BikeExchange 0:00:06
7 Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:08
8 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
9 Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:09
10 Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:16
2021 La Vuelta GC after Stage 6 Top 10
1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma 21:04:49
2 Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:25
3 Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:36
4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:41
5 Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers
6 Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech 0:00:53
7 Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:58
8 Lilian Calmejane (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team 0:01:04
9 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain Victorious 0:01:12
10 Fabio Aru (Ita) Qhubeka NextHash 0:01:17