Fifth-placed Nicolas Roche rode on after the crash, but the Irishman abandoned the race a few minutes later. Photo: @TeamSunweb/Twitter

ARES DEL MAESTRAT, Spain – Former race leader Nicolas Roche and overall contender Rigoberto Uran were amongst four withdrawals from the Vuelta a Espana during Thursday’s stage six.

Riders from Lotto Soudal, Deceuninck-Quick Step, Jumbo-Visma and EF Education First all went down as there was a mass crash in the peloton with just over half of the course’s 199km covered.

Columbia’s Uran, who was sixth in the overall standings, Hugh Carthy (both EF Education First) and Victor de la Parte (CCC) all withdrew immediately after the crash.

“Rigoberto Uran and Hugh Carthy have abandoned the La Vuelta due to a large crash on stage 6.

“They are currently on their way to the hospital where they will receive further medical evaluation. Further updates announced in due course,” EF said in a statement on Twitter.

Teammate Tejay van Garderen, who was part of the breakaway, also crashed, but the team confirmed he remains in the race.

Fifth-placed Roche rode on, but the Irishman abandoned the race a few minutes later.

German Tony Martin was heavily cut on each leg, but continued racing.

Stage six is a 199km mountain stage from Mora de Rubeilos to Ares del Maestrat, finishing at the top of the Puerto de Ares climb.

Reuters