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Robert Gesink has finished in fourth place in the sixth stage of the Vuelta a España. The Dutchman was part of the day's breakaway that battled for the stage victory, but was unable to answer the accelerations of some of his breakaway companions.
Primoz Roglic had a solid day and finished the stage in the presence of George Bennett, among the other favourites, at 5’44” from stage winner Jesus Herrada. Roglic is now in fourth place overall at 1.14 from the new leader Dylan Teuns. With Robert Gesink, Team Jumbo-Visma has a second rider in the top ten. He is sixth.
It was the second stage with an uphill finish. In the tough first half of the stage, Gesink rode away with ten others. The eleven eventually got the blessing from the peloton and competed for the win. Gesink tried several times on the final climb, but sprinted for third place. In the group of GC favourites, little happened on the final climb.
The stage was affected by a massive, nasty crash, which included Team Jumbo-Visma's Neilson Powless, George Bennett and Tony Martin. The three were able to continue their way and rejoined the peloton.
"It was a hectic day," Gesink said. “It was a difficult start with a lot of climbing. The intention was that we were going to ride in position with Primoz to avoid any problems. I responded to an attack of Oliveira and before I knew it, we were in the lead. Eventually I was allowed to go for my own chance. For me, that was very good. It was a bit of a pity for me that the final climb was a bit too short. I would rather have had a harder climb. I did try to attack a few times in the end, but I couldn’t get better than fourth place. It is a bonus that I am now sixth in the overall standings, but that's not that important. We are here to go for the overall with Primoz.”
Sports director Grischa Niermann has mixed feelings. “It was not our best day. We have had our share of bad luck. Halfway through the stage there was a serious crash that happened on a descent, including Neilson, George and Tony. Luckily, we got out of it pretty well and they were able to return in the peloton quickly. That we had Robert in the break was ideal for us. That way we didn't have to chase and we could save some energy. If necessary, we still could have recalled Robert. Primoz has had a fairly calm day and is in a good position. The team was very strong again and that gives us confidence for the next days."