Giro d'Italia (st. 6)
Antonio suffers mechanical incident at final ramp to the finish; GC unchanged, stays inside top-20 alongside Samitier, who made the front group.
/ Today’s route
It was a finish open to many scenarios on stage six of the Giro. The riders would be covering 188km from Castrovillari to Matera, with a demanding start and a lumpy finish. The Cat-3 GPM of Millotta (26km before the end) preceded a series of small ascents in the approach to Matera’s finish, which contained a 750m slope at 6% with two kilometers to go. It could have gone to a winning breakaway, a GC attack or even the most resilient sprinters.
/ Weather report
The good news for the riders was the lack of rain and a generous 15 to 20ºC all over the stage. The bad news: strong headwinds (around 30kph) for most of the route.
/ Keys to the race
- The wind discouraged those most willing to attack, with only four riders going on the adventure: Jimmy Whelan (EF1), Mattia Bais (ANS), Marco Frapporti (THR) and Filippo Zana (BRD). Their advantage, though, was huge, the biggest so far in this Giro: 9’30” over a peloton where Deceuninck – Quick Step took on their early duties as leaders of the race before Bora-Hansgrohe started to push with about 100km to go.
- Despite having a sprinter, Albert Torres, in its ranks, the Movistar Team focused its efforts in the finale on taking care of their two main GC riders, Antonio Pedrero and Sergio Samitier. Torres himself, Dario Cataldo, Eduardo Sepúlveda and Davide Villella put themselves at service of the Blues’ two top climbers before the decisive ascents, leading the bunch into the last 30km. However, a late scare was waiting for Pedrero at the last ramp: a mechanical incident which took him out of the GC peloton and required a revision from the jury, on the team’s request, to keep him at the eve’s position he held in the standings.
- Arnaud Démare (GFC) took a comfortable victory, his second stage win in the race, ahead of Michael Matthews (SUN, 2nd) and Fabio Felline (AST, 3rd). Around 60 riders -including Pedrero, despite finishing a bit later- concluded the stage with the same time as race leader Almeida, Samitier within that group. Antonio and Sergio remain in 15th and 16th overall.
/ Upcoming goals
Finally, a clear chance for all sprinters on Friday. Even the ones less inclined to getting over climbs before their goal would enjoy an opportunity in Brindisi, after 143km with no rated ascents and a completely flat approach. An appetizer before multiple occassions the fastest legs of the peloton will enjoy on week two of the race. Watch out, however, for the crosswinds..!
Cover picture (c): BettiniPhoto