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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, May 13, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

The best portion of a good man's life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love. - William Wordsworth

Les Woodland's book Dirty Feet: How the Great Unwashed Created the Tour de France is available in print, Kindle eBook & audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Giro d'Italia stage six reports

We posted the report from stage winner Arnaud Démare's Team Groupama-FDJ with the results.

Here's the report from second-place Caleb Ewan's Lotto Soudal team:

Lotto Soudal rider Caleb Ewan just missed out on the stage victory in stage six of the Giro d’Italia. During an incident free and slow 192-kilometre stage between Palmi and Scalea, one brave rider rode ahead of the bunch but in the end a sprint royal would appoint the winner of stage six. In a fast and furious final, Lotto Soudal brought its sprinter Caleb Ewan in a perfect position towards the finish. The Australian launched a powerful acceleration, only to be beaten on the line by Frenchman Démare, who was appointed as the stage winner after a photofinish.

Arnaud Demare

Arnaud Demare just beats Caleb Ewan. Sirotti photo

A disappointed Caleb Ewan looks back on the sixth stage of the Giro and already looks ahead to the next opportunity.

Caleb Ewan: “The team did what they had to do today and dropped me off perfectly. That way, I could start my sprint when I wanted to. It looked very good but in the end I just got beaten by an inch on the line. Of course, I’m really disappointed to just miss out on the stage victory. But we need to take away from today that it could have gone our way as well. The shape and the team are there and of course I am keen on taking revenge.”

Here's the report from third-place Mark Cavendish's Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team:

Just like in 2000 – until today, the only time the race had visited Scalea – the stage finishing in the small Calabrese town came down to a mass gallop, although unlike 22 years ago, the terrain was ideally suited to the sprinters, who arrived in the final kilometer after a calm and quiet stage that had in the spotlight a one-man breakaway for almost four hours.

The Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl train was in prime position under the flamme rouge, but things changed in the blink of an eye, when a move of another rider who cut across forced Bert to hit the brakes, leaving Mark Cavendish only with Michael Mørkøv for company for the last 800 meters of the stage. The Dane had to do an extra load of work in the wind before launching the Manxman, who took off with 250 meters to go and claimed third place at the end, as Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) notched up the victory in a photo finish.

The race continues Friday with the complicated stage 7 from Diamante to Potenza, whose up-and-down rough terrain is perfect for a breakaway, but also for a shake-up of the general classification.

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Here's the report from fourth-place Biniam Girmay's Team Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert:

The designated rider for the sprint finishes in the Tour of Italy (2.UWT), Biniam Girmay, continued his series of good results by obtaining fourth place in the sixth stage.

Biniam Girmay

Biniam Girmay finished on Caleb Ewan's wheel. RCS Sport photo

Except of a climb in the first race hour, the 192 kilometer stage along the Tyrrhenian coastline did not contain any difficulties and it was no surprise that a complete peloton sprinted for the victory in the streets of Scalea after catching the only breakaway of the day.

Thanks to solid teamwork, Girmay could start his effort in the first positions. With his fourth place, he achieved his fourth top five since the start of the event or the fifth of the team in six days.

“Even though my profile is more adapted to harder races, I also appreciate pure sprint stages like today. In the final 20 kilometer the battle towards the sprint was very exciting and tough. It was extremely nervous, many risks were taken and crashes avoided. My teammates guided me to the front for the final 700 meter, enabling me to rival again with the fastest sprinters. During the sprint I had to break several times, and in the end I was defeated by Démare, Ewan and Cavendish, who were the fastest today. I really loved this battle and I'm already looking forward to the next one!” - Biniam Girmay

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Here’s the Giro report from mountains classification leader Lennard Kämna’s Team Bora-hansgrohe

On the first day of racing the Italian mainland, a less demanding route from Palmi to Scalea along the coast awaited the peloton and after 192 km in the saddle, the sprinters were able to fight it out for the win. The field started the stage at a leisurely pace, with BORA-hangrohe aiming to save energy before tomorrow's difficult stage, and bring their GC riders safely to the finish.

Lennard Kämna collected two points in the only mountain classification of the day and is still in the lead in the fight for the blue jersey. He also picked up a bonus second at the second intermediate sprint. GC riders Emanuel Buchmann, Jai Hindley and Wilco Kelderman crossed the finish line in the peloton.

Lennard Kamna

Lennard Käman just after the stage. Sirotti photo

"Today was quite an easy day for us and I think it did me good to just turn my legs and recover a little. Tomorrow will be super hard and I'm expecting a tough race but I will try to survive as long as possible. I can't say for sure right now whether the blue jersey will be a definite goal but we'll just have to see how it goes." - Lennard Kämna

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Here's the Giro stage 6 report from team Jumbo-Visma:

The fifth stage of the Giro d'Italia has ended in a bunch sprint. The day after the first mountain stage, Team Jumbo-Visma kept somewhat in the background and finished in the middle of the pack. Pascal Eenkhoorn rode a creditable final kilometre. In the sprint he crossed the line in fifteenth place.

A 174-kilometre ride took the riders from Catania along the Mediterranean coast towards Messina. The peloton faced one obstacle: a long twenty-kilometre climb at an average gradient of four percent. Five riders saw their chance early in the stage. They jumped away from the peloton and grabbed a 4-minute lead. Shortly after the climb, the peloton caught them back.

Giro d'Italia peloton

The peloton finished almost compeltely intact. Sirotti photo

Some sprinters had to let go on the climb. Subsequently. the pace in the peloton was kept high by teams with ambitions for the day's victory. In the streets of Messina the stage finally ended in a bunch sprint. Arnaud Démare won. The riders of Team Jumbo-Visma crossed the line unscathed and in the same time as the winner.

"It was important today to finish well", Jos van Emden said. "Those kinds of stages are simply part of a grand tour. There is still a lot to come this Giro. So a day like today is certainly welcome. Although it is sometimes unfortunate that there is a lack of sporting challenges at such a stage. That's not to say that today was an easy day. Several teams kept the pace pretty high. Tomorrow I expect a similar day. From Friday onwards, we'll be entering different terrain."

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