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Gallery: Magnus not Cort as he holds on for Vuelta a Espana glory

Robyn Davidson
20 Aug 2021

Primoz Roglic surges back into the red jersey after Alto de la Montaña de Cullera battle

Shades of Paris-Nice threatened to befall Stage 6 of the Vuelta a España yesterday, as EF Education-Nippo’s Magnus Cort survived to cross the line in Alto de la Montaña de Cullera first.

But behind him was a surging Primož Roglič, powering up the 1.9km climb with more energy than the dismantling breakaway up ahead.

The Jumbo-Visma rider almost snatched a victory at the death – and Cort could have suffered the same fate as Gino Mäder that very day on the Valdeblore La Colmiane – had the paint on the ground been any further away. Yet he hung on and managed the energy to smile, or more likely grimace, after 158 kilometres in the saddle for his fourth Vuelta victory.

He said, ‘It was very close and I’m very happy that I kept Roglič just behind. I looked back with 150m to go and I could see him coming. I sprinted with everything I had and I luckily kept him behind me.’

Two random crashes occurred during as many kilometres on the stage out of Requena, the first featuring only one rider. Trek-Segafredo’s Alex Kirsch hit the ground while navigating a roundabout, but the more bizarre one later came from Alpecin-Fenix.

Sacha Modolo leant into the bunch to avoid going off the road and into vegetation, yet ultimately shouldered into BikeExchange’s Andrey Zeits. Both went down, with the peloton turning their heads to see what on earth had just happened.

Movistar, Ineos and Jumbo-Visma helped force a fierce pace at 35 kilometres to go that dropped numerous riders out of the back. Short crosswind sections produced a vague glimpse of echelons through the groups of bodies strung out across the road, but quickly dissipated in the blink of an eye. Perhaps our luck will be better on another stage.

Towards the end of the day, tensions rose in Preston as EF Education-Nippo’s Hugh Carthy was distanced. He couldn’t quite bridge the gap alongside his three teammates, a strength-sapping effort even before the 9.4% climb hampering his general classification chances. The peloton continued to stand tall on the horizon, their presence like a dangled carrot he couldn’t reach for.

Narváez set such a blistering pace on the final climb that he momentarily detached himself from his Ineos teammates Carapaz and Bernal. Behind pedalled Roglič, waiting to launch his decisive attack for the red jersey.

Cort turned and saw the approaching peloton with 1.5km to go, and off he went. He mustered every ounce of energy to turn the pedals, the only lasting member of the once five-man breakaway. Roglič sensed the potential and set off himself with 300m left to go, a fading Cort still in his sights. The EF Education-Nippo rider gave everything for the win, with Roglič left with the considerable consolation of leading the general classification once again.

Below, Chris Auld's images of the day:

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