Marczynski wins chaotic stage six as Froome adds one second to GC lead
Tomasz Marczynski came out on top in a chaotic sixth stage at the Vuelta a Espana, while Chris Froome gained one second in the race to remain in the red jersey.
Two-time Polish champion Marczynski (Lotto Soudal) finished first after a surge to the line in the final stages of the 204.4-kilometre route from Vila-real to Sagunt, moving past Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors) and Pawel Poljanski (Bora-Hansgrohe) for his maiden stage win at a Grand Tour.
Team Sky rider Froome crossed the line as part of the next bunch 26 seconds behind, narrowly extending his general classification advantage to 11 seconds.
Esteban Chaves is now Froome's closest rival, with Tejay van Garderen crashing twice - the second of which came while taking a roundabout at speed on his own - to fall out of the top three in the GC, Nicolas Roche (BMC Racing) moving up to third.
General classification hopefuls Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Fabio Aru (Astana) managed to keep pace with Froome, who was forced to push during the final climb as Alberto Contador and Trek-Segafredo team-mate Jarlinson Pantano launched an attack that shattered the peloton.
Froome followed Contador's move, but they were eventually reeled in by the chasing group with Van Garderen dropped after hitting the deck for the first time on a day that saw him lose 20 seconds to his rival.
Marczynski had plenty left in his legs in the final kilometre, though, and he was delighted his persistence paid off.
"I came here really wanting to win a stage," said the Pole. "The last ascent, we climbed really fast. We got to the end with two and then a few others came into town.
"Then we were all looking at each other, but I said, 'I'm not going to let any attack go without me. If I don't have enough strength in the final, so be it, but I'm going to give it my all'."
GOOD DAY/BAD DAY
When Contador made a break in the final 40km, Van Garderen knew he had to follow Froome and move on with the Spaniard.
However, he was involved in a crash that saw him lose close to 45 seconds to that group, and when he slipped out 3km from the finish his hopes of limiting the damage done to his GC bid took a knock.
#LV2017 Tejay van Garderen has crashed. We will provide an update as soon as we have more information.-- BMC Racing Team (@BMCProTeam) August 24, 2017
#LV2017 Tejay van Garderen has slipped off the bike again but he is back racing quickly and pushing hard to try and close the gap.-- BMC Racing Team (@BMCProTeam) August 24, 2017
1. Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto Soudal) 4:47:02
2. Pawel Poljanski (Bora-Hansgrohe)
3. Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors)
4. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) +0.08
5. Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates) +0.08
1. Chris Froome (Team Sky) 22:54:38
2. Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) +0.11
3. Nicolas Roche (BMC Racing) +0.13
1. Matteo Trentin (Quick-Step Floors) 49 points
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) 31 points
3. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) 29 points
KING OF THE MOUNTAINS
1. Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac) 38 points
2. Darwin Atapuma (UAE Team Emirates) 12 points
3. Lluis Mas Bonet (Caja-Rural) 11 points
If Thursday's route was not gruelling enough, Friday will see the riders take on the longest stage of this year's competition.
The 207km journey from Lliria to Cuenca includes a trio of category three climbs, the final one at a gradient of 7.2 per cent for two kilometres.