Michael Morkov won stage 6 of the Vuelta a España on Thursday in Cáceres, Spain. Morkov (Saxo-Tinkoff) jumped from third wheel to take the sprint in the 175-kilometer leg from Guijuelo, just nipping solo escapee Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) in the final 15 meters.
Maximiliano Richeze (Lampre-Merida) was second and Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard) was third. American Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) was fourth.
“I had never participated in a bunch sprint like this before so I just tried because I was the only one in the team who can sprint,” Morkov told TVE. “In the end I had a really good position, I got on the wheel of Cancellara and I knew I would have a last kick and in the end it was enough.
“It feels amazing, it’s fantastic to race in this national Danish jersey and I just feel so proud and lucky to do so.”
Martin held on for seventh after attacking 3km into the stage and holding the peloton at bay for more than four hours. The German held a maximum advantage of more than seven minutes and clung to a 15-second lead impossibly late into the second consecutive sprint stage in Spain. It was not to be for the time trial world champion, however, and the surging peloton finally honed in on its target in the finishing straight.
“I wanted to break away and I was hoping to go with a few other guys, but nobody could follow so I just kept going,” said Martin. “It was really close and I think it was a great day for the fans and everyone who was watching.”
Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) defended his three-second overall lead on Chris Horner (RadioShack). Nicolas Roche (Saxo) is third, at eight seconds.
The 68th Vuelta continues Friday with the 205km seventh leg, from Almendralejo to Mairena del Aljarafe.