Michael Morkov won stage six of the Vuelta a Espana in a nail-biting finale that saw the day’s solo escapee Tony Martin almost take line honours.

Morkov (Saxo-Tinkoff) won a bunch sprint ahead of second again Maximilliano Richeze (Lampre-Merida) and Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard). Giro d’Italia champion Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) maintained his overall lead.

Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) escaped virtually from the gun of the undulating 177.3km race from Guijuelo to Caceres.

The dual time-trial world champion, who is using the Vuelta to fine-tune his form ahead of next month’s world titles in Italy, was flying with an average speed of around 50km/h in what commentators described as training for his upcoming worlds assault.

Martin slowed after 100km of solid work and many thought he would be reeled-in before the run to line that featured a roundabout with 500m to go.

Orica-GreenEdge, which won a stage with Michael Matthews yesterday, moved to the front of the peloton, as did Argos-Shimano, assembling their respective sprint trains within the final 2km.

But Martin, 28, had resumed his pace and held a lead of around 15 seconds. The German was caught metres before the finish line as spectators held their breath, waiting to see if he would mark a memorable win. The honour went to Morkov, after sprint teams looked too much at each other, in a well-timed surge to the line.

Martin, if nothing else, sent a warning to national team rivals, including Cancellara and Bradley Wiggins, that have identified the elite men’s time-trial world titles as a goal.

Vuelta a Espana 2013, stage six: Guijuelo to Caceres
1. Michael Morkov (Den) Saxo-Tinkoff 3-54-15
2. Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida
3. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack Leopard
4. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
5. Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM
6. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
7. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
8. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
9. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
10. Graeme Brown (Aus) Belkin 

Overall classification after stage six
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana  22-38-07
2. Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard at 3secs
3. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Saxo-Tinkoff at 8secs
4. Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack Leopard at 16 secs
5. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 21 secs
6. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack Leopard at 26 secs
7. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Sky at 28 secs
8. Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha at 31 secs
9. Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo-Tinkoff at 38 secs
10. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff at 42 secs

Toro toro!

Tony Martin’s day-long solo escape

Morkov wins, with Martin just on the right

Vuelta a Espana 2013: Related links

Vuelta 2013 coverage index

Vuelta a Espana 2013: Stage reports

Stage five: Matthews wins in Lago de Sanabria

Stage four: Moreno wins tough stage

Stage three: Horner takes charge with stage win and overall lead

Stage two: Nicolas Roche attacks to win

Stage one: Astana takes opening team time trial

Vuelta a Espana 2013: Photo galleries

Stage six photo gallery

Stage five photo gallery

Stage four photo gallery

Stage three photo gallery

Stage two photo gallery

Stage one photo gallery

 

Cycling Weekly April 17 2014 issue
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