Following Luke Durbridge’s demonstration in the prologue, Nairo Quintana is the third young rider coming of age by taking his first victory in the World Tour the day after Arthur Vichot. The 22 year old Colombian who won the 2010 Tour de l’Avenir found himself at ease in the col de Joux-Plane to claim a wonderful solo stage win in Morzine. He preceded by 16 seconds Cadel Evans who rode away from the yellow jersey group in the downhill but the strength of Team Sky produced the most impressive show of the day. Therefore, Bradley Wiggins logically retained the lead ahead of his team-mate Michael Rogers.
19 riders in the lead, including King of the Mountains José Sarmiento
Right after the start at Saint-Alban-Leysse in the outskirts of Chambéry, eleven riders rode away from the peloton in the climb leading to the col de Plainpalais. It included King of the Mountains José Sarmiento (LIQ) who passed the top of the first climb of the day in the lead of the group reinforced by David Moncoutié (COF). The Frenchman also showed his intentions to compete for the polka dot jersey he has won on four occasions consecutively at the Tour of Spain. Thomas Voeckler (EUC) made his move across in the downhill. After 15 kilometres of racing, a front group of 19 riders was created: Petr Ignatenko, Alberto Losada and Yuriy Trofimov (KAT), Thomas Voeckler and Pierre Rolland (EUC), Blel Kadri and Christophe Riblon (ALM), Tiago Machado (RNT), Maciej Paterski and José Sarmiento (LIQ), Rémy Di Gregorio and David Moncoutié (COF), Egoi Martinez (EUS), Mario Marzano (LAM), Jesus Hernandez (SAX), Sylvain Chavanel (OPQ), Brice Feillu (SAU), Alexandre Geniez (ARG) and Matteo Carrara (VCD). They reached a lead of 3.45 at the top of col de Leschaux (km 32.5).
Andy Schleck abandons
After 64 kilometres of racing and prior to the ascent to the col des Essérieux, Andy Schleck (RNT) pulled out as he suffered the consequences of his crash during Thursday’s time trial. He had been dropped off in the first climb of the day but made it back later on. It looked like an unlucky day for the RadioShack-Nissan team, as green jersey wearer Tony Gallopin crashed in the downhill of the col Leschaux. Andriy Grivko (AST) moved away from the bunch at km 84 and bridged the 3 minutes gap by himself when he rejoined the nineteen leaders in the downhill of the col de la Colombière. No attack was recorded in that climb where José Sarmiento (LIQ) increased his lead in the King of the Mountains competition.
Brice Feillu on the offensive
Brice Feillu (SAU) was the first of the twenty breakaway riders to make a move. It happened in the côte de Châtillon with 44 kilometres to go. The Frenchman started climbing to the col de Joux-Plane with an advantage of 1.30 over his former breakaway companions and 2.40 over the peloton led by Lotto-Belisol and BMC but Team Sky was prompt to take the responsibility of the chase again in the most difficult climb of the day. All escapees got caught. Nairo Quintana (MOV) rode away from the yellow jersey group five kilometers away from the top of Joux-Plane. The Colombian put an end to Feillu’s dream two kilometers before the summit.
Quintana goes up, Evans goes downhill
The little Colombian was strong enough to keep a lead of twenty seconds as he started going downhill. Even though Cadel Evans attacked in the descent to Morzine on two occasion, he didn’t catch the South American but coming home on second position awarded him the green jersey while Wiggins retained the yellow-blue with no worries.
“You might have seen on TV how strong Team Sky was, so I was obliged to hold my team-mates’ wheels! I have so much to thank them of again. They made my job easier for sure. But it was still difficult. I felt good. That’s what we’ve trained for. We’ve done particular things, we’ve trained as a group for a very long time, that’s what we’ve done in Tenerife: three or four guys riding uphill together like that, so it was nice to be all up there today. When Cadel [Evans] attacked in the downhill, he had a nice little gap, but we didn’t take too many risks. We knew Cadel was going to do something, he never gives up! I had no problem letting him take 25 or 30 seconds. The Dauphiné isn’t over yet but we’ve done the hardest part. It should be ok tomorrow but we never know. It’s too early to say that I’ve won.”
“The tempo made by Team Sky climb after climb showed they’re a very strong team. Being alone in Joux-Plane made it difficult for me to attack. It was quite windy as well. Tejay Van Garderen is improving every day and we get to know each other. In the descent, I attacked but I didn’t take any risk. I didn’t know exactly how close I was from a possible stage win but I heard that Tony Martin had been dropped and I wanted to maintain my position on the podium. I didn’t have a lot to lose. I didn’t do that for the green jersey. Tony Gallopin was pretty keen for this but now that I have it, I’ll go home with something maybe.”
“In the finale, I hadn’t recovered from my effort in the last climb but the stage didn’t go badly. I’ve tried to escape and I made it to the finish with a couple of seconds of advantage. We’re very happy to bring Colombia back at the top of cycling. With [King of the Mountain José] Sarmiento, we’re two Colombians on the podium. We’re like brothers in arms. He helps me a lot. His presence in the breakaway worked as a point of reference for me.”
1. Nairo Quintana
2. Cadel Evans, at 0.16
3. Dani Moreno, at 0.24
4. Bradley Wiggins
5. Peter Weening, st
Cadel Evans, second, will take the green jersey.
Nairo Quintana (MOV) wins stage 6 in Morzine in a great solo effort.
Cadel Evans rides away from the group of Bradley Wiggins. He’s 22 seconds behind Quintana and 6 seconds ahead of Wiggins.
Nairo Quintana has 25 seconds lead at 5km to go.