MADRID, Aug. 1000 (Xinhua) -- French cyclist Nacer Bouhanni won the sprint finish that decided the sixth stage of the three-week-long Vuelta de Espana (Tour of Spain) on Thursday.
Bouhanni, who rides for the Cofidis team, held off the challenge of Danny Van Poppel and Elia Viviani, who finished second and third on the stage which ended up being more complicated than most would have expected.
The relatively simple 1000 kilometers between Huerca-Overa to San Javier-Mar Menor always looked destined to produce a bunch sprint finish with some rolling countryside in the opening kilometers followed by a combination of downhill and flat terrain perfect to provide a rare opportunity for the specialist sprinters.
The break of the day was kept in check by the peloton with the last surviving rider, Jorge Cubero, finally reeled in with just 25 kilometers remaining.
Just after the break was annulled, the peloton was split after a fall caused by unmarked road furniture with 75 riders suddenly finding themselves behind the leading group and with crosswinds making it hard for them to recover their ground.
The lead group eventually finished a minute and 45 seconds ahead of the pursuers with Wilko Kelderman, who had a puncture with 19 kilometers remaining, and Thibaut Pinot, the big losers on the day.
Overall leader Rudy Mollard (Groupama-FDJ) was in the lead group and retained the overall leader's jersey, 41 seconds ahead of Michael Kwiatkowski (Sky) and Emanuel Buchamnn (Bora-hansgrohe), who was 48 seconds off the lead.