FIUGGI, Italy (VN) – Francisco Ventoso launched an impressive sprint at the end of the sixth stage of the Giro d’Italia to score big win for the Movistar team, as Rabobank’s Pieter Weening finished in the main field to keep his hold on the overall lead.
Ventoso fought a tight duel with veteran Lampre sprinter Alessandro Petacchi in a charge to the line at the end of a hilly 216-kilometer stage from Orvieto to Fiuggi, along the the lower slopes of the Apennine Mountains. Petacchi’s sprint faded as the line approached and Ventoso had ample opportunity to celebrate.
Roberto Ferrari (Androni Giocattoli-Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni) finished third ahead of Katusha’s Danilo Di Luca, whose attack on the final 1km climb, fractured the field and left some sprinters – including HTC’s Mark Cavendish – trailing on the climb towards Fiuggi.
The 216-kilometer stage passed slightly to the east of Rome, giving fans from the capital a chance to see the Giro first hand under a sunny sky and warm temperatures.
The day’s break
The hilly stage, with but one categorized climb, offered the GC contenders a chance to rest in the peloton, as the expected break formed at 15 kilometers into the stage. None of the five riders – Sacha Modolo (Colnago-CSF), Kristof Vandewalle (Quick Step), Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack), Frederik Veuchelen (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Jussi Veikkanen (Omega Pharma-Lotto) – in the break posed a significant GC threat and the peloton appeared content to let them slip off the front.
The escapees got to work and built up a lead of nearly six minutes at the 90km mark, before the sprinters’ teams gradually increased its speed and began to nip away at their advantage.
The break began to fracture with 40km to go, with Modolo the first to falter and lose contact with his four companions.
Eventually, all five were caught as the last survivor, Vandewalle, was pulled in by the peloton with less than 2km remaining. With a slightly uphill finish, late attackers hoped to slip away for the stage win, including a late attack from Danilo Di Luca in the final kilometer. But attentive sprinters’ squads wouldn’t allow that and the finale came as expected, with the remaining fast-twitchers in the field fighting it out over the final few hundred meters. While the late attacks may not have succeeded, they did cause some top sprinters in the peloton to struggle, including HTC sprint ace Mark Cavendish who was dropped on the climb to Fiuggi.
Check back soon for more details, results and photos
- 1. Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (ESP), Movistar, in 5:15:39
- 2. Alessandro Petacchi (ITA), Lampre-ISD, s.t.
- 3. Roberto Ferrari (ITA), Androni Giocattoli-Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni, s.t.
- 4. Danilo Di Luca (ITA), Team Katusha, s.t.
- 5. Davide Appollonio (ITA), Team Sky, s.t.
- 1. Pieter Weening (Netherlands), Rabobank Cycling Team, in 20:15:12
- 2. Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Belarus), HTC-Highroad, at 0:02
- 3. Marco Pinotti (Italy), HTC-Highroad, at 0:02
- 4. Christophe Le Mevel (France), Garmin-Cervelo, at 0:05
- 5. Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spain), Movistar, at 0:22