- - Volta a Catalunya 2023 Stage 6

Volta a Catalunya 2023 Stage 6

photo credits @ VaC

Kaden Groves has overcome unlikely odds to fight back and win his second stage of the Volta a Catalunya after being forced to borrow a teammate’s bike in the frantic bolt to the finish.

Groves looked to have blown any chance of taking Saturday’s sixth stage as a slow puncture forced him to ditch his bike with four kilometres left, take another belonging to his colleague Xandro Meurisse and then pedal furiously to get back into the lead group.

Once he had rejoined, Groves remarkably still had enough energy in reserve to get in the right position and prove comfortably the fastest and strongest of all his sprint rivals as he sped to his second win in three days for Belgium’s Alpecin-Deceuninck team.

It was the fourth WorldTour win for the 24-year-old and just his second for his new team — but none of the others had been as dramatic and unlikely as this one

“Number one was nice but a second stage win this week, so I’m very happy,” smiled Groves.

“With about seven, eight kilometres to go, I felt my rear tire having a slow leak, and wasn’t sure whether to stop or not. I was thinking whether to go into the sprint with it being pretty flat.

“In the end, though, I’ve got to thank my team directors. They decided I should do a bike swap with Xandro so I stopped, he gave me his bike and with the help of [teammate] Nicola [Conci] I got back to the front for the sprint.

“I was very lucky I had my teammates there. I didn’t have time to do a full bike change, so we had to sacrifice one guy and luckily we could do that. There was a headwind too and, thankfully, a reduced bunch and the race wasn’t going too fast so I got back in.”

“I knew that my shape was good. I haven’t been feeling the best the last days, but today I felt really, really strong,” the Andorra-based Groves said.

Meanwhile, the battle for the overall victory between the illustrious pair of Primož Roglič and Remco Evenepoel continued to delight, with both battling over precious bonus seconds in intermediate sprints.

Ultimately, they cancelled each other out, with three-time Vuelta champ Roglič still 10 seconds clear of world champ Evenepoel going into Sunday’s hilly Montjuic Park finale in Barcelona.

The leading Australian remains Giro d’Italia champion Jai Hindley (Bora-hansgrohe), who’s in eighth place, 2 minutes and seven seconds behind.

Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroen) is 15th at 4:42 and Jack Haig (Bahrain-Victorious) 17th at 5:51.

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