A shortened stage six (117km) of the Volta Catalunya eventually saw the winner come from the two-man break in a day of furious, freezing racing from Pobla de Segur to Torrefarrera.
The two-man breakaway of Sergio Rubio (Burgos-BH) and Maximillian Schachmann (Quickstep-Floors) escaped early, opening up a lead of 1:20 with around 15km gone, which they more than doubled over the course of the next 15km.
The resultant chase to reel in the two saw the peloton split with Ben O’Connor staying with the front bunch and the rest of our team among the second group.
A final surge saw the breakaway hold the chasing pack at bay with the German winning the stage, outfoxing Rubio into second and Sam Bennett winning the sprint for third, among the group 18 seconds behind.
It was in this group that Ben O’Connor finished in 60th position on the stage which was good enough for him to maintain his 15th position on the GC.
Merhawi Kudus, Igor Anton, Louis Meintjes and Jacques Janse van Rensburg all finished 3:10 behind the stage winner.
Alejandro Valverde retains the overall race leader’s yellow jersey with O’Connor 15th and Meintjes now in 32nd place overall.
Alex Sans Vega – Sporting Director
Today started with the stage being shortened by over 70km because of a snow storm. That meant only 117km was raced today with still the category two climb. These short stages are always fast and hard.
Two strong guys went in the break today and Mitchelton put in a big effort to split the race and bring back the breakaway.
They were successful in splitting the peloton into 3 groups, in the first group we only had Ben. Bahrain started to help Mitchelton because the 2 in front weren’t coming back fast enough and this meant our other four guys had no chance to come back. In the end, the break still stayed away.