José Joaquín Rojas (Movistar) finally got the win that eluded him all week after he sprinted to victory in Saturday’s sixth stage at the Volta a Catalunya.
A two-man breakaway and a late attack by Peter Stetina (Garmin-Cervélo) were neutralized by the sprinters coming into the finale in hilly, three-climb 184.5km run from Tarragona to Mollet de Vallès.
After finishing second or third in four of the first five stages in Catalunya, Rojas proved fastest in a drag race up a rising finale to win for the second time in 2011.
“It was about time I won, because it wasn’t normal what was going on. Each day I would make a small error that would cost me the win, but I never lost hope because I knew I was the fastest,” said a happy Rojas after the stage.
“This victory isn’t going to change anything, because I’ve shown since January that I have been at the front in the races. Winning sometimes depends on the small details.”
Crossing the line second was Wednesday’s winner Manuel Cardoso (RadioShack), while yesterday’s winner, Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis), finished third. Dan Martin (Garmin-Cervélo) was fourth and Chris Horner (RadioShack) was 12th.
Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Sungard) finished safely in the main pack to retain the leader’s jersey going into Sunday’s 124.5km finale into Barcelona. The race concludes with five laps on a circuit that ends right at the Christopher Columbus monument at the bottom of Las Ramblas.
- 1. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Esp), Movistar, 4:22:19
- 2. Manuel Antonio Leal Cardoso (Por), Team RadioShack, s.t.
- 3. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra), Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne, s.t.
- 4. Daniel Martin (Irl), Garmin-Cervélo, s.t.
- 5. Diego Milan Jimenez (Esp), Caja Rural, s.t.
- 1. Alberto Contador Velasco (Esp), Saxobank-Sungard, 26:50:47
- 2. Levi Leipheimer (USA), Team RadioShack, at 0:23
- 3. Michele Scarponi (Ita), Lampre-Farnese Vini, at 0:23
- 4. Daniel Martin (Irl), Garmin-Cervélo, at 0:35
- 5. Christopher Horner (USA), Team RadioShack, at 0:35