Stef Clement (Belkin) was victorious in stage six of the Volta a Catalunya, on a day on which the breakaway got the better of the peloton.
Towards the end of the stage it became clear that the gap between the break and the peloton was not coming down quick enough for the catch to be made, and with 10 kilometres to go the riders in the break shifted their attention from working together to stay clear, to attacking each other and going for individual glory.
The break comprised of Pieter Serry (Omega Pharma), Stef Clement (Belkin), Damien Howson (Orica), Pierre Rolland (Europcar), Jens Voigt (Trek), Antonio Piedra (Caja Rural), Marek Rutkiewick (CCC Polsat) Rudy Molard (Cofidis) and Nico Sijmens (Wanty).
Jens Voigt was particularly lively in the finale, but almost every rider put in a dig at some point. With seven kilometres to go it looked as though Rolland may have gained enough of a gap, but was duly reeled in. Then with three kilometres to go, Molard looked strong with two consecutive attacks, but failed to create a significant gap.
Clement’s attack within the final two kilometres looked the most convincing, and indeed he managed to stay clear until the line, three second ahead of the others. The way he upped his speed and maintained a pace too quick for the others betrayed his talent as a time trial specialist, and as soon as he made the move it looked as though it would stick.
To put the icing on the cake, Clement also took the maximum points over the day’s only climb (the category three Alt de Font-Rubi) to extend his lead in the mountains classification.
The favourites all finished safely in the bunch, with Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) retaining his overall lead. The race finishes tomorrow with a circuit around Barcelona.
Volta a Catalunya 2014, stage six: El Vendrell to Vilanova i la Geltru, 172km
1. Stef Clement (Ned) Belkin in 3-58-44
2. Rudy Molard (Fra) Cofidis at 3 secs
3. Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
4. Jens Voigt (Ger) Trek Factory Racing
5. Marek Rutkiewicz (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice
6. Antonio Piedra Perez (Spa) Caja Rural
7. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar
8. Damien Howson (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
9. Nico Sijmens (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 9 secs
10. Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto-Belisol at 55 secs
Overall classification after stage six
1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha
2. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo at 4 secs
3. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing at 7 secs
4. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale at 10 secs
5. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 10 secs
6. Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky at 17 secs
7. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 18 secs
8. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r La Mondiale at 26 secs
9. Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Shimano at 42 secs
10. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek Factory Racing at 48 secs
Pictures from a foggy and freezing stage of the Volta a Catalunya, won by Tejay van Garderen