Izagirre wins 6th Vuelta stage; Carapaz takes overall lead

SALLENT DE GÁLLEGO, Spain (AP) — With some help from his brother, Ion Izagirre won the sixth stage of the Spanish Vuelta on Sunday, and Richard Carapaz snatched the overall lead from defending champion Primoz Roglic.

Ion Izagirre was guided by older brother Gorka Izagirre during the final parts of the stage and made a strong attack on the final climb of the 146-kilometer (90-mile) stage. The stage was originally planned to cross into France but had to be altered to stay in Spanish territory because of tightened coronavirus restrictions. Ion Izagirre, a Spanish rider for Astana, finished 25 seconds ahead of Michael Woods and Rui Costa.

“I have to thank Gorka because he made things easier for me,” the younger Izagirre said.

Roglic crossed the line in 20th place — nearly two minutes after Ion Izagirre — and dropped to fourth place in the overall standings. The Jumbo-Visma rider is 30 seconds behind Carapaz. EF Pro Cycling’s Hugh Carthy moved to second place, 18 seconds off the lead, with Dan Martin from the Israel Start-Up Nation team close behind in third place.

Ineos Grenadiers rider Carapaz finished 12th in Sunday’s stage marked by wet and cold conditions.

“This is a reward for the team, we had worked well all week,” the 27-year-old Ecuadorean said. “There’s still a lot of Vuelta left, we will try to defend this jersey.”

Roglic, a contender in the Tour de France until the final competitive stage, had been wearing the leader’s jersey since winning the first Vuelta stage.

Monday will be the race’s first rest day. On Tuesday, riders will face a hilly 159-kilometer (98-mile) stage from Vitoria-Gasteiz to Valdegovía.

The Vuelta is taking place amid tight health restrictions after Spain recently endured a surge in coronavirus cases. The race was postponed from earlier in the year because of the pandemic.

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