Ireland's Nicolas Roche was taken to hospital after being involved in a huge crash on stage six of the Vuelta a Espana.

Roche, who held the race leader's jersey until Wednesday, attempted to carry on after the collision in the 105th kilometre of the stage from Mora de Rubielos to Ares del Maestrat but abandoned soon after.

The incident also ended the races of Rigoberto Uran and Hugh Carthy, who were both confirmed by their team EF Education First to have been sent to hospital for further evaluation, while CCC Team's Victor De La Parte was also forced to pull out.

Roche had to get a dozen stitches in his forearm and suffered a lot of road rash but he has not suffered any injuries considered to be serious.

"There's not much to say," Roche said.

"I think this is one of the biggest disappointments I’ve had in my career. I’d worked so hard to get back to this level and it was a new opportunity to show that I was at this level again. 

"There’s nothing broken which is the good point. I have some stitches in my forearm and pain in my quadriceps which is why I could not continue."

Dylan Teuns claimed the red jersey after finishing second behind Jesus Herrada.

After forming part of an early break, Herrada dropped Teuns in the final kilometre to cross the finish line seven seconds clear of the Belgian, with Dorian Godon finishing third.

Teuns' performance was enough to see the Bahrain-Merida rider unseat Miguel Angel Lopez at the summit of the general classification after the Colombian finished in the bunch, almost six minutes behind the stage winner.

Teuns now holds a 39-second lead over Team Ineos' David De La Cruz in the GC standings, with Astana's Lopez having dropped to third.