Vuelta a España: Sepp Kuss leads Jumbo-Visma charge on stage six | Vuelta a España

Lenny Martinez moved into the red jersey on stage six of the Vuelta a España but it was Jumbo-Visma who were the big winners on the climb to the observatory at Javalambre.

Sepp Kuss took the stage victory out of a huge breakaway group while his teammates Primoz Roglic and Jonas Vingegaard put more than 30 seconds into Remco Evenepoel, who had said he wanted to hand over the responsibility of red, but perhaps not like this.

In a frantic start to the ferocious 183.5km stage from La Vall d’Uixo, Evenepoel’s Soudal-Quick-Step team let a quality group of 40 riders go up the road, including Kuss, Martinez, Marc Soler, Mikel Landa and Wout Poels, and saw them open up a lead of six minutes.

On the steep ramps of the final climb, Kuss went solo with 2.5km remaining as the American, who worked tirelessly for Roglic at the Giro d’Italia and Vingegaard at the Tour de France, took his personal reward. However, the French hope Martinez, just 20, finished 26sec down in second to take red by 8sec for Groupama-FDJ.

“It was an incredibly hard stage and we wanted to try and go in the break,” Kuss said. “The whole day I felt super good and was just thinking about when to go.”

The peloton passes near Mora de Rubielos during the sixth stage
The peloton passes near Mora de Rubielos during the sixth stage. Photograph: Manuel Bruque/EPA

Further down the mountain, Roglic was the first to launch an attack from the group of main favourites and, once it became clear Evenepoel could not respond, Vingegaard cruised up to join him, building a 32sec advantage over the Belgian.

Evenepoel still remains ahead of the pair in the overall standings, but his advantage over Vingegaard is down to 5sec, with Roglic another 6sec back. “If this was a bad day then it’s OK,” Evenepoel said. “I started to feel a bit heavy-legged but let’s hope this is one of the worst days for me.”

Geraint Thomas tried to stick with Evenepoel but lost the wheel towards the finale, and now sits 23rd, his deficit to the other main favourites growing to about two minutes.