Sylvain Chavanel let the peloton know his aggressive and opportunistic racing style wasn't taking a back seat on his Giro d'Italia debut as the IAM Cycling leader made his mark on the first summit finish of the race to Abetone by finishing second. Chavanel's ambition for the Giro was to finish with a stage win to his name and having made his way into the day's four-man break, he executed one plan for the day having stated before the stage that he was "determined to show what I can do", he ultimately fell one position short of victory.
While describing that the percoso of stage six suits him better, Chavanel explained he was keen to show himself out in front and chance his luck for victory.
"I managed to slip into the right group of guys for the break, even though Thursday's stage will likely suit my qualities since it is longer. But never put off till tomorrow what you can do today. We rode along well together and had a good pace. The stage was less difficult than those that we have faced since Sunday," Chavanel said.
Chavanel was unable to match the climbing speed of stage winner Jan Polanc (Lampre-Merida) who finished 1:31 in advance of the 35-year-old but he just managed to hold of the fast finishing trio and overall favourites, Fabio Aru, Alberto Contador and Richie Porte, for his best results so far of the season.
"This meant it was a great opportunity to be at the front. I am still not quite in top form, but I managed my efforts. Of course, I'd be even happier if I had won, but I was just lacking a little pep on the climbs that pitched above 6-7%," Chavanel said. "I came up against someone who was stronger than me, but it still feels good to be at the front of a race. I intend to try my luck again. For the team, it was also important to show that we have the firepower to fight."
With the team's Italian sprinter Matteo Pelucchi recovering day-by-day from his injuries, IAM Cycling's sport director Kjell Carlström added that the team will be looking to claim another high stage finish today.
"Tuesday we just were trying to get through the stage. And I said to the guys in the briefing to give it a go. But I hardly thought that Sylvain would manage to hang on for second place on a summit finish that was going to be greedily eaten up by the GC favourites," Carlström said. "Nevertheless, he did succeed in putting in a great performance. For the team morale, this second place came just at the right time. Indeed, Thursday's stage we will be placing all our forces at the disposal of Matteo Pelucchi, since the stage should end in a sprint where his speed could come to the fore."