Herrada wins 6th Vuelta stage, Teuns takes overall lead
ARES DEL MAESTRAT, Spain (AP) — A day after seeing his older brother miss out on a stage victory, Jesus Herrada came through with a strong late charge on the final climb to win the sixth leg of the Spanish Vuelta on Thursday, with Belgian rider Dylan Teuns coming in second to take the overall lead.
Herrada moved past Teuns with about 200 meters (yards) to go on the 198.9-kilometer (123.6-mile) stage that finished on a mountain top in Ares del Maestrat in eastern Spain. The team Cofidis rider finished seven seconds ahead of his opponent from team Bahrain-Merida.
José Herrada was in the breakaway group on Wednesday but could not keep up with stage winner Angel Madrazo.
“This victory is for my brother, who came close to taking the victory yesterday,” said Jesus Herrada, who couldn’t hold back tears after crossing the finish line. “It was hard to get the break going. Halfway through the stage we didn’t know if we were going to make it. When Teuns accelerated, I stuck to his wheel and saved energy for the sprint.”
It was the first Grand Tour win for Herrada, who last year wore the leader’s red jersey on two Vuelta stages.
“This victory was my goal for the year, to get my first Grand Tour win,” the 29-year-old rider said. “I can go home with peace in my mind, but I’ll be looking for more opportunities and they’ll come.”
The 27-year-old Teuns was looking for his second Grand Tour stage win this year. He won the sixth stage of the Tour de France in July.
“It would have been nicer to also win the stage but I’m happy with ‘La Roja.’ I was unlucky that one guy was strong enough to follow me, and then I didn’t have the legs to sprint in the last 300 meters,” Teuns said. “We have to see how I can defend the jersey. Tomorrow we have a pretty hard and steep final climb.”
On Friday, riders will face a 183-kilometer (113-mile) stage that will end at another challenging mountain top.
Former leader Miguel Angel Lopez dropped to third overall, one minute behind Teuns. David De La Cruz moved to second, 38 seconds off the lead.
“The bosses decided it was better to lose ‘La Roja,'” Lopez said. “We’ll go day by day. There are still many things to happen … and we’re in a good shape, that’s the most important thing.”
Irishman Nicolas Roche, one of the early overall leaders, was among the riders who had to withdraw from the Vuelta after a crash in the peloton about 100 kilometers (62 miles) into the race. Rigoberto Uran, Hugh Carthy and Victor de la Parte also withdrew after being involved in the crash, which happened shortly after the stage’s halfway point.