Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Vuelta a Espana 2013 : Stage 6 Preview

AFTER a very tough opening to this years Vuelta a Espana, the overall contenders can definitely have a quiet day today.

Stage six will follow the usual fare for an opening week grand tour stage.

It's 175km long and takes the riders along the western edge of Spain from Guijuelo to Caceres.

No categorised climbs either to tax the field so expect the usual structure of breakaway followed by chase and catch as the sprinters look to take the honours.

The finish is slightly uphill so if it does come down to a bunch sprint it will be one more suited for the stronger sprinter.

It is also a tight and twisty finish with a number of 90 degree corners and roundabouts to deal with.

The final 90 degree bend comes with about 600m to go so it will be important to be in a good position coming out of it. Again being in the first half dozen places or so will be vital.

Favourites are pretty much the same names as mentioned yesterday.

Omega-Pharma-Quickstep will look to Gianni Meersman while others will be Tyler Farrar, Anthony Roux, Nikias Arndt and Edvald Boassen-Hagen.

Today's winner though probably tops the list. Michael Matthews has looked the fastest in the peloton so far and all things being equal should take another win tomorrow.

However there is the possibility that a break may make it all the way. Astana just have to keep the break in check, it will be up to the sprinters teams to get organised and finish the job off.

OPQS have experience of leading a charging peloton and if they feel Gianni Meersman has a chance they will be able to bring things back together.

But if they think it is a forlorn task then responsibility will fall elsewhere and there doesn't seem to be many who will want to take up the mantle. Garmin-Sharp maybe but that will depend on the legs of Farrar.

Sky have the firepower but will they want to save some legs for the big mountain stages?

If it does come back together though and you want an outsider then look to Maximiliano Richeze of Lampre. The Argentinian took second place today and may be able to do enough to upset the favourites.

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