October 14/07 3:31 am - Vuelta a Chihuahua: Kevin Field's Stage 6 report & photos
Posted by Editoress on 10/14/07
Vuelta a Chihuahua
Stage 6 Report By Kevin Field
Photos by Kevin Field, Symmetrics Fuelled By FarmPure
Steven Cozza from Slipstream won the stage today, just ahead of Cam Evans from Symmetrics Fuelled By FarmPure. Will Routley was 8th on the stage. Cam and Will were part of a breakaway that formed at the beginning of stage 6 leaving the city of Cuauhtemoc. Also in the break were Filipe Cordoso (Liberty), Carlos Hernandez (Canels), Mikel Artetxe (Fuerte Ventura), John Mumford (Kelly), and Fausto Esperanza (Tecos).
Behind this break Christian Meier drove home a group of five that shook up the GC a bit. Overnight leader Javier Mejias from Saunier Duval missed this move and lost the GC lead to Franciso Mancebo (Relax) with Christian moving into 2nd overall on GC.
The Day's Events
Our plan hasn't changed for three days: Place riders in the early move to be in position to help Christian over the climbs. And within 5km of the stage starting we had two riders in a promising move of eight riders -- Will and Cam. Right away this move started gaining time, the mix in the break was right with riders from Fuerte Ventura, Tecos and Slipstream and none of the riders were GC threats. Missing the move from the stronger teams were Relax and Saunier Duval--who clearly didn't care--and the French team Agributel.
Soon the gap had grown to nearly 4 minutes and the race had taken shape. Relax and Saunier were riding a comfy tempo and the Mexican Orven team was riding some guys... but the break was generally gaining time.
Today the stage profile showed what might be a challenging climb with 25km to go. Slipstream moved to the front en masse and set a vicious tempo. The climb actually didn't seem to hard, but coupled with the wind Slipstream simply blew the race apart. By the time they were finished they were left with Lucas Euser and Tim Duggan followed by Christian Meier, F. Mancebo and his team mate D. Moreno, Antonio Adalpe (Canels). Saunier's race leader Mejias was apped off. Not only that but he isolated with only one team mate in a group of about 21. Euser brushed wheels in the cross wind, losing control of his bike and riding into the ditch. He did not go down but he lost contact with the Mancebo group. Mancebo, Moreno, Duggan, Meier and Adalpe all rode hard to distance themselves from Mejias. At this point there were only 20km to go and the race was all downhill. Mejias got little help in his group. He held the gap to the Mancebo group at 8-10 seconds for a few kilometers but then started to lose time. when the gap to the Mancebo group grew to 30-40 seconds the Liberty Team started to roll two riders with Mejias and his team mate Ruben Laboto. We were now watching a team pursuit with the 5 in front gaining time on the 4 chasing behind.
In front the break of eight were losing time but were not going to lose the stage. Symmetrics had the numbers in the break with 2, and took responsibility to control the action in the finale. Will Routley attacked at least 4 times inside the final 4kms. This served to keep the pressure on Filipe Cordoso from Liberty who was the strongest sprinter in the group. It also allowed Cam Evans to conserve his energy for the sprint. After Will's 4th punch, Steven Cozza took an opportunity as the rest of the group swung left he stayed right and shot up the road. It was a smart move with about 1.2km to go. Will couldn't react and cam wasn't well positioned at the time. None of the other breakaways reacted and Cozza got the gap he needed. Will recovered and went back to the front to drive the group in pursuit of Cozza. But Cozza turned the final bend with 400m to go and it was clear he wouldn't get caught. Cam put in a great sprint to come 2nd, ahead of Cordoso.
Behind Christian Meier led in Mancebo, Moreno, Duggan and Adalpe. They had gained 1:15 on Mejias. Meier finished 8th on the stage moving into 2nd on GC. Mejias is now 1:20 down on GC. 3 riders still remain tied on time: Mancebo, Meier and Adalpe with Tim Duggan in 4th on GC at 16 seconds. Christian still leads the U23 competition and now has 1:25 on the Liberty rider Vitor Rodrigues.