Mark Cavendish made it safely through a big crash the amped up the speed in the peloton to storm to his second stage victory in the 2013 Giro d’Italia.
Thursday’s 6th stage of the 2013 Giro d’Italia was a “short” 169km ride from Mola Di Bari To Margherita Di Savoia. The road shrugged up a little bit in the middle of the route, but it was not a stretch to call this a flat stage. Certainly, today’s stage was the best opportunity for the traditional sprinters since Saturday’s race opening stage in Naples. Never a dull moment, however as the last 32km of the stage will be a circuit loop around the outskirts of Margherita Di Savoia and Trinitapoli.
Word comes that Cheng Ji of Argos-Shimano is dropping out of the race due to a fever. He joins Pablo Urtasun (Euskaltel) and Sandy Casar (FdJ) as the race’s only abandoners so far.
The escapees today were Australian compatriots Cameron Wurf of the Cannondale squad and Jack Bobridge of Blanco. They went away about 24km into the race. Their advantage never went much beyond 6 minutes and settled down to about 2’45” with about 75km left in the race.
With about 64km to go, the gap was holding steady, but the peloton was strung out in a looong echelon. Lots of blue and white at the front, looked like a mix of FDJ and Omega Pharma.
53km remaining and the gap was down under a minute. It doesn’t need to be said, but the peloton could pull Wurf and Bobridge back with very little effort. That said, they don’t pose any real threat to the G.C.
FDJ and OPQS were still driving the chase of Bobridge and Wurf as the race neared the entrance of the the first of two loops around Margherita Di Savoia and Trinitapoli.
The catch came at about the 37km mark. Seems to me that the peloton would want to be all together entering the loop.
A big crash at the entrance to the loop really threw things into disarray. Race favorite Bradley Wiggins is one that got tied up behind the crash. He can’t seem to get any luck this year. Meanwhile, Katusha is taking advantage of the crash to ramp up the pace and pull out some advantage.
Eurosport seemed very concerned that Wiggins was 34 seconds back from the peloton, but you could see the gap going down by the second. It was certain that he’d reconnect with the leaders.
Sure enough, Wiggo was able to catch up, and it was Team Sky, Astana, OPQS and Lampre leading the peloton with about 20km to go.
Down to 10km and Astana is still up there. Argos is placing some men at the front as well. I’m not counting out Mark Cavendish today. He tweeted this morning that he was fairly hammered by yesterday’s stage, but he’s been able to stay at the front today and can never really be counted out when there’s a flat finish.
Five kilometers to go and Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Manuele Boaro makes a try, but OPQS shuts him down fairly quickly.
Sir Wiggins himself goes to the front, but it’s only for a moment. Omega Pharma Quick Step, meanwhile, continues to shut down attacks while driving the pace.
In the final kilometer, its Argos-Shimano that launches the attack, likely looking to give John Degenkolb another win, but Cavendish was sitting in the catbird seat, right behind two teammates. He narrowly nipped out Elia Viviani (Cannondale) and Matthew Goss (Orica-Greenedge) at the line.
Luca Paolini of Katusha and the rest of the G.C. hopefuls finished with the pack to keep their positions.
Stage 6 Brief Results:
- Mark Cavendish (OPQS)
- Elia Viviani (CAN)
- Matthew Goss (OGE)
- Nacer Bouhaniu (FDJ)
- Mattia Gavazzi (AND)
- Manuel Bellitti (ALM)
- Davide Appolliano (ALM)
- Giacomo Nizzoli (RLT)
- Matti Breschel (TST)
- Roberto Ferrari (LAM)
General Classification After Stage 6
- Luca Paolini (Italy / Katusha) 23:52:42″
- Rigoberto Uran (Colombia / Team Sky) +17″
- Benat Intxausti (Spain / Movistar) +26″
- Vincenzo Nibali (Italy / Astana) +31″
- Ryder Hesjedal (Canada / Garmin) +34″
- Bradley Wiggins (Britain / Team Sky)
- Giampaolo Caruso (Italy / Katusha) +36″
- Sergio Henao (Colombia / Team Sky) +37″
- Mauro Santambrogio (Italy / Vini Fantini) +39″
- Cadel Evans (Australia / BMC Racing) +42″
Sprint Classification After Stage 6:
- Mark Cavendish (Britain / Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) 58
- Elia Viviani (Italy / Cannondale) 52
- Luca Paolini (Italy / Katusha) 35
- Nacer Bouhanni (France / FDJ) 31
- John Degenkolb (Germany / Argos) 30
- Cadel Evans (Australia / BMC Racing) 30
- Matthew Goss (Australia / Orica) 28
- Enrico Battaglin (Italy / Bardiani Valvole) 25
- Giacomo Nizzolo (Italy / RadioShack) 25
- Cameron Wurf (Australia / Cannondale) 24