Carapaz takes Vuelta lead after Ion Izagirre stage win

Sallent de Gállego (Spain) (AFP) –


Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz claimed the Vuelta a Espana overall lead after Spaniard Ion Izagirre won Sunday's sixth stage.

Former Giro d'Italia winner Carapaz took the red jersey from defending champion Primoz Roglic who struggled in wet conditions in the mountains near the French border.

Ineos' Carapaz, 27, made the most of Roglic's tough day in the Pyrenees to take an 18-second lead as the Slovenian fell to 30 seconds behind in fifth.

Canadian Michael Woods finished second on the day with Portuguese rider Rui Costa in third behind 31-year-old Izagirre.

The finish at the Col de Tourmalet peak at 2,115m in France was moved to south of the border due to the coronavirus pandemic, as the race ended at 1,790 metres at the Formigal.

Remi Cavagna, Magnus Cort and Remy Mertz made an early break within the opening 20km before Cavagna was left alone to fight off a 15-man chasing pack.

Cavagna was caught by the chasing group which had grown to 22, including the Izagirre brothers and Astana team-mates in Ion and Gorka, with 120km left.

Roglic's peloton gradually lost time following two category climbs and an intermediary sprint just across the French border.

Temperatures dropped to 13 degrees celsius during racing with Roglic covering his red jersey with a black jacket and two-time winner Chris Froome carrying cold weather clothing for his Ineos team-mates, including Carapaz.

Roglic struggled up the final climb to the Aramon Formigal ski resort as Carapaz capitalised, along with Hugh Carthy who moved to second overall.

With 3km to go, Ion Izagirre made his attack through thick fog and heavy rain at more than 1,700m altitude to add to his stage wins at the Tour de France in 2016 and the Giro four years earlier.

Monday is the first rest day before Tuesday's 159.7km hilly stage seven.