Giro d’Italia: Mark Cavendish wins stage six as teamwork comes together
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Thursday, May 09, 2013

Giro d’Italia: Mark Cavendish wins stage six as teamwork comes together

by Ben Atkins at 11:46 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia, Race Reports and Results
 
Bradley Wiggins gets a scare as a big crash splits the peloton

mark cavendish

Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) took his second victory in the 2013 Giro d’Italia as he sprinted to win the sixth stage between Mola di Bari and Margherita di Savoia. While the result was the same as the first stage five days before, the Manx Missile’s journey to the line could not have been more different this time, as the Omega Pharma-Quick Step lead out came together to deliver him to the finishing straight.

Launched to the line by teammate Gert Steeegmans with less than 200 metres to go, Cavendish was able to hold off the attentions of Elia Viviani (Cannondale), who took second place among the sprinters fanning out behind the Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider, with Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) taking third.

"I'm so happy right now, it was incredible," Cavendish said after his victory. "The lead out was absolutely perfect, nothing went wrong, it was beautiful. I'm absolutely buzzing.

“Imagine you have a kit car, something you've built from the start as we have this year with the lead out,” he continued. “You start it, 'vroom vroom' and you know, you have some fears about it, all those things having been put together, about being able to start the engine. I'm just the last part, the exhaust, the last one that makes the most noise. But when it works! That's how you can win.

“I also want to dedicate this win to Wouter Weylandt, who died tragically at the Giro two years ago," Cavendish added.

The break of the day came from Jack Bobridge (Blanco) and Cameron Wurf (Cannondale), who escaped in the opening 20km. The two Australians were almost six and a half minutes ahead early in the stage, but were gradually wound back by the sprinters’ teams and caught with just over 35km to go.

There was a scare for several of the general classification hopefuls, including race favourite Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky), as a mass pile up split the peloton in half with 33km to go. After an initial surge in speed, however, the riders in the front half of the peloton chose not to take advantage of the incident and - although the pace was not entirely neutralised - it was eased up enough to allow the second half to rejoin.

From that point the strong teams kept control of the peloton, with a number of the contenders being taken to the front to keep them away from any more potential danger. The sprinters’ teams took the race into the final kilometre, however, with Steegmans finally leading Cavendish into the final metres.

Race leader Luca Paolini (Katusha) finished safely in the peloton, along with all of the other riders at the top of the general classification, and held onto his Maglia Rosa for another day.

Reactions to follow.

Finally a stage just for the sprinters but two Australians have other ideas

After some tough stages around the very southernmost part of Italy, the 169km sixth stage finally delivered a flat stage for the sprinters as the Giro d’Italia began its long journey north. A flat 136.4km leg along the coast would be followed by two laps of a 16.3km finishing circuit, with the finishing straight more than three kilometres in length.

It took almost 20km of constant attacks from multiple riders before the duo of Bobridge and Wurf managed to get away but, once the two Australians were clear, the peloton sat up and let them go. With Wurf the best placed of the two riders, some 30’57” behind Paolini in 128th place, the Katusha team had no interest in chasing them down and the duo was 6’25” ahead after just 38km.

Omega Pharma-Quick Step then took responsibility, on behalf of Cavendish, and pegged the gap back to 4’50” at the 50km point. With FDJ lending a hand, the peloton continued to close gradually on the two Australians up ahead.

At the first Traguardo Volante sprint, in Trani after 64.8km - which was taken by Wurf as he rolled over the line ahead of Bobridge - Cannondale whipped up the pace for Elia Viviani. The Italian just made it to the line ahead of Cavendish, just 2’54” behind the two Australians.

With the sprint out of the way the pace began to ease up again, before Cannondale began to surge forward again for the second one, which came in Barletta just 11km after the first. Wurf took first place across the line, again by virtue of the fact that he was on the front of the duo at the time, while Viv took third place again, beating Cavendish to the line once more.

The gap to the two leaders was now down to 2’30” and, as Omega Pharma-Quick Step and FDJ reorganised on the front of the peloton, this is where it was to remain on the approach to the feedzone, in Andria after 86km.

Halfway through and the break already looks doomed

As the peloton slowed down a little for riders to take their musettes from their team soigneurs, three riders that had found themselves on the wrong side of the central reservation of the highway that that race was travelling along took the opportunity to climb over the high metal barrier and rejoin their teammates.

With 75km to go Bobridge and Wurf’s lead peaked at 2’54”, but the the seconds then gradually began to tick downwards again.

The slightly rolling roads after the feedzone saw the gap drop a little more sharply and, through the town of Canosa di Puglia with 58km to go, it was down as low as 2’03”. The moto leading the peloton then slid off on a cobbled corner, but luckily the leading Omega Pharma-Quick Step riders were able to get around it without difficulty before starting the gentle descent back down towards the coast.

Bobridge and Wurf were just 1’35” ahead as they passed the 50km banner and, ten kilometres later, both riders began to fill their pockets and jerseys with bottles to give to their teammates when their inevitable capture happened.

On a tight right hand bend, in Trinitapoli with 38km to go, there was a crash near the rear of the peloton that saw 2000 winner Stefano Garzelli (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia), Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R La Mondiale) and Eros Capecchi and Juanjo Cobo (both Movistar) affected.

The incident had little or no effect on the front of the peloton, however, and Omega Pharma-Quick Step and FDJ cruised past the two leaders with 36.5km left.

Drama for Wiggins as half the bunch grinds to a halt

Shortly before the race crossed the finish line with 32.6km, to start the first of the two finishing circuits, Bradley Wiggins suffered a mechanical that saw him take a new bike from his team car. As the Tour de France champion was being paced back up to the peloton a big crash brought down several riders, who blocked the entire road and delayed Wiggins and many of the other race favourites.

The front half of the peloton continued, with Katusha setting the pace, but the Russian team soon eased up to let the fallen and delayed riders rejoin. A group containing much of the AG2R La Mondiale, Vini Fantini-Selle Italia and Movistar teams rejoined with around 27km to go, as Team Sky and Orica-GreenEdge led the what amounted to the second half of the peloton a minute behind the first.

FDJ and Omega Pharma-Quick Step then began to set a strong pace at the head of the peloton, but not strong enough to prevent the second peloton from slowly closing the gap. With just over 22km to go, as the race entered Trinitapoli for the second time, Wiggins team led him onto the back of the peloton and set about moving their captain forward.

Once at the head of the peloton Team Sky’s riders began to set the pace themselves, keeping Wiggins safe as they approached the finish line for the second time. Omega Pharma-Quick Step moved up on the opposite side of the road, however, and led the peloton into the final lap.

Astana and FDJ moved forward up the middle of the road, but the Belgian team was not to be denied and continued to lead Cavendish along the left hand gutter. Team Sky and the Garmin-Sharp then moved up, however, keeping Wiggins and defending champion Ryder Hesjedal safe respectively, and the pace in the front of the peloton saw riders begin to drop off the back on the exposed coastal road.

Into the final nine kilometres Argos-Shimano surged forward, but Astana took over soon afterwards to keep Vincenzo Nibali out of trouble. With six kilometres to go the sprinters teams were trying to take over, but most of the overall contenders were also trying to stay at the front.

Manuele Boaro (Sxo-Tinkoff) managed to get himself clear at the front with five kilometres to go, but he was calmly reeled back within a few hundred metres by the combined train of Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Cannondale and Argos-Shimano, then Wiggins himself took the lead and led the peloton around the last real corner with just over three kilometres left.

The FDJ team was lined up in force behind the British rider, but several teams surged past as he began to ease up. The drop in pace saw Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil-DCM) take the chance of jumping away with 2.5km to go, but the former Dutch champion was soon caught as Orica-GreenEdge chased him own.

With a kilometres to go Argos-Shimano took over, but Omega Pharma-Quick Step was right behind the Dutch team and, with just under half a kilometre to go Gert Steegmans led Cavendish into the finishing straight and, as the big Belgian pulled over with 200 metres left, and the Manxman sprinted to victory.

Result stage 6
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
2. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycilng
3. Matthew Goss (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
4. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ
5. Mattia Gavazzi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela
6. Manuel Belletti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
7. Davide Appollonio (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
8. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack-Leopard
9. Matti Breschel (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
10. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida

Standings after stage 6
1. Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha Team
2. Rigoberto Urán (Col) Team Sky @ 17s
3. Beñat Intxuasti (Spa) Movistar Team @ 26s
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Team Astana @ 31s
5. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp @ 34s
6. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky
7. Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha Team @ 36s
8. Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky @ 37s
9. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia @ 39s
10. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team @ 42s

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