/ Cycling

Roche 11th on penultimate Cataluyna stage

Updated: Sunday, 28 Mar 2010 16:40

Nicolas Roche is in fifth spot in the Tour of Catalunya going into the final day
Nicolas Roche is in fifth spot in the Tour of Catalunya going into the final day

Ireland’s Nicolas Roche finished in 11th place in the main bunch in stage six of the Tour of Catalunya on Saturday.

French team Cofidis had a double reason to celebrate as Frenchman Samuel Dumoulin and team mate Rein Taaramae of Estonia seized the top two places.

The team mates outpowered a 48-strong pack in the uphill sprint in Barcelona's Montjuich park, where the sixth stage of the Tour de France finished last year.

Joaquim Rodriguez of Spain was third and kept the race lead. Roche is in a tie for fifth position with Ryder Hesjedal from Canada.

Stage winner Dumoulin said afterwards:‘It was the same finish as the Tour but the very different final approach route today meant I could go for the win.’

‘We dropped the top sprinters because it was a tough finale, but as I'm a small guy I could handle the climbs better and then use my power to take the sprint.

‘Getting first and second on the stage was more circumstantial than planned. Rein's lying third overall so we wanted to keep control of his rivals by staying close to the front and then with 200 metres to go I decided to go for it.’

Cofidis announced on Friday that they were extending their sponsorship of the team until the end of 2012.

‘This is our twelfth victory of the season but after yesterday's news this one's very special,’ team manager Eric Bouyer told Reuters.

‘We told the sponsor that the best way of thanking them was with a win this weekend, and we've got the top two places in Catalunya's hardest race.’

With one easy stage of the event remaining, Rodriguez is poised to become the first Catalan rider to win his home race in 27 years.

‘It's not over yet but the end's in sight,’ Rodriguez told reporters.

‘That's a good feeling.’

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