Mikel Nieve tried his hand with a trademark long-distance breakaway in Friday's sixth stage of the Dauphiné, but the 29-year-old fell well short as he continues to hunt the state of form that will bring him success at the Tour in July.
The classy climber managed to give the team some much-needed presence in the race by infiltrating the day's eight-man break, but, while Thomas Voeckler would go on to claim the stage win from that same group, Nieve had to let his breakaway companions continue on without him with some 30 clicks to go. He was dropped alongside Thomas De Gendt and Tim Wellens, leaving five up front from which Voeckler would come out tops in Grenoble.
Nieve eventually had to settle for a placing mid-pack, coming home in the first group 46 seconds down alongside Samuel Sánchez and a few other orange-clad riders.
Approaching the last two days, 'Samu' is, as per tradition, the team's best GC card in 20th.
Results (full results here):
- (1, Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), 3:24:13)
- 30, Samuel Sánchez, 0:46
- 35, Mikel Astarloza, s.t.
- 49, Gorka Izagirre, s.t.
- 54, Mikel Nieve, s.t.
- 74, Egoi Martínez, 5:34
- 121, Romain Sicard, 13:49
- 154, Peio Bilbao, 15:51
- 158, Ricardo García, s.t.