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Buongiorno and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage six of the Giro d'Italia. The 177km stage is from San Salvo to Pescara. The stage is close to the Adriatic coast but includes numerous short, steep climbs in the hills. It will be a tough day in the saddle and could see the overall contenders on the attack.
Hello from a warm and sunny Marina di Salvo.
The riders are about to line-up at the start for the stage.
The four special jersey are, as usual, on the front of the start, with the rest of the peloton behind them.
They're off! The seventh stage has started!
Today's stage includes four categorised climbs late in the day but in truth the route is packed with short and often steep climbs that will hurt the riders legs. There is hardly a flat section of road in the whole 177km route.
This is the first time the Giro d'Italia has started in Marina di San Salvo. It is the 18th time the race finishes in Pescara.
The Giro first visited Pescara way back in 1912, the fourth edition of the race. The last time was in 2001 when Rik Verbrugghe won a time trial stage. He covered the short and flat course at a speed of 58.874 km/h, which remains as a record speed for a TT stage.
Pescara is famous for its seafood but also for the Arrosticini, meat roast on sticks and similar to kebabs.
The stage includes 2600m of climbing,making for a tough day in the saddle.
We expect an early break to form soon before the overall contenders perhaps test each other in finale of the stage.
After the feedzone at Guardiagrele, after 90km, the climbs come thick and fast, some with very steep gradients: Bucchianico (max
15%), Villamagna (KOM), Chieti-Pietragrossa
(max 16% - KOM), Chieti-Tricalle (max 19% - Sprint), Santa Maria de Criptis (max 16% - KOM) and San Silvestro (max 14% - KOM).
The ï¬�nal climb is just over 7km from the ï¬�nish line.
Two riders didn't start the stage today: Leigh Howard (Orica-GreenEdge), who broke his collarbone in a crash yesterday and Klaas Lodewijck (BMC).
Mattia Cattaneo (Lampre-Merida) is also out of the race after a crash just 3km into the stage.
Several riders are also ill and injured but are determined to fight on.
Taylor Phinney (BMC) is struggling with hay fever and admitted today will be a battle of survival for him.
Dario Cataldo (Team Sky) is one of several locally-based riders and hopes to have recovered from a virus that has hit him hard in the last few days.
Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) is a key domestique for Vincenzo Nibali but has been struggling with a knee injury. He tweeted that he also woke up with a temperature this morning.
Several riders have tried to go clear but nothing has stuck yet.
Early attackers have included Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Fabio Taborre (Vini Fantini).
Susan taking over for a few minutes.
Bradley Wiggins lack of luck continues. Due to a mechanical defect, he just had to get a new bike.
We now hear that Thomas Damuseau (ARG) and Fabio Taborre (VIN) were together with Danilo Hondo (RadioShack) in a break group. The Honeo and Damuseau crashed, and Taborre continued on alone, with a 26 second gap.
Just in case you have forgotten, here is the top ten in GC:1 Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha 19:56:39 2 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling 0:00:17 3 Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:26 4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:31 5 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp 0:00:34 6 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 7 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha 0:00:36 8 Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling 0:00:37 9 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia 0:00:39 10 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:42
Well, that top ten certainly didn't come out in a very readable format, sorry about that....
It will surely not surprise you to learn that Wiggins, with the help of his teammates, is now back in the peloton.
Cannondale's Elia Viviani can try what he will, he just can't get ahead of Mark Cavendish in a mass sprint here, having finished second behind the Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider twice so far. The Italian acknowledged Cavendish's great skills, though.
The stage has hit what is probably its only flat section, about a 25 km piece. And immediately the attacks begin. The names Sella, Tamouridis, Tjallingii, Rollin, Hansen, Ligthart, and Rabottini are being mentioned....
And in fact the sextet of Sella, Tamouridis, Tjallingii, Rollin, Hansen, and Ligthart has now built up a one-minute gap!
The gap is now 2:14 for Emanuele Sella (Androni Giacattoli), Ioannis Tamoridis (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Maarten Tjallingii (Blanco), Dominique Rollin (FdJ), Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol) and Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil-DCM).
Will the field let this group go? Sella is only 6:52 down....
Looks like they got away at km 29.
Tuttobici reports that Cattaneo has been taken to hospital with a suspected fractured femur. We wish him all the best.
Turning things back over to Steve now....
Km 41. Sella (AND), Tamouridis (EUS), Rollin (FDJ), Hansen (LOT), Tjallingi (BLA) Lightart (Vacansoleil DCM) > 4'45'' > Bunch /Gruppo #giro
@giroditalia Fri, 10th May 2013 12:43:30
The gap has grown rapidly and is now close to six minutes.
Sella is the best placed rider in the overall classification, 6:52 behind Luca Paolini (Katusha). that could limit the chances of the break staying away. No doubt the other riders in the move are pleading Sella to drop back but he's got every right to ride his own race.
The Tour de Picaride is also underway today.
Situation #tourdepicardie: 5 leaders have 5 min after 70k. FDJ, Argos, MTN and Europcar are controlling in the bunch.
@Lotto_Belisol Fri, 10th May 2013 12:59:17
Widely published average gradients for some of today's climbs look 'doped' to make them seem easier that they are... #truestory
@friebos Fri, 10th May 2013 13:05:45
Have you caught up with the news after stage six?
For a full report on Mark Cavendish's stage win and a huge photo gallery of all the action, check out stage report here.
The is a lot of talk about the steep climbs during the stage in the Abruzzo region. The descents could also be a factor, especially with the weather expected to worsen later in the afternoon.
There is a strong breeze blowing at the finish in Pescara and rain could fall during the finale of the stage.
The peloton is rolling along at the moment, with the Vini Fantini-Selle Italia and the Katusha team setting the pace in defence of Luca Paolini's pink jersey.
It seems Vini Fantini directuer sportif Luca Scinto has ordered his riders to chase. He won't be happy to have missed the break of the day. Scinto promised to light up the stage yet again, with Danilo Di Luca expected to go on the attack in the finale, close to his home town of Spoltore, on the outskirts of Pescara,
Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) is wearing the red points jersey today. Like all the sprinters, Cav will have a long hard day in the saddle.
It's started to rain in Pescara and the skies are grey out on the race route.
The gap is now 7:10, making Sella now the virtual race leader.
First crash in the rain! Ligthart goes down on a corner and damages his bike. His time in the break is probably over.
Good news for Matteo Cattaneo (Lampre-Merida) who crashed earlier. X-rays in hospoital have excluded any fractures. It was suspected he had fractured his femur after hitting a kerb but he should make a quick recovery.
Vini Fantini is still leading the chase.
Well done to Ligthart. He's fought back to catch the break.
At the finish in Pescara, RCS Sport has announced details of the 2014 Tour of Dubai. The race will be held between February 5-8.
We'll have a story and photographs from the announcement very soon on Cyclingnews.
The gap between the break and the peloton is close to seven minutes again.
Looks like Di Luca will be on attack later....maybe even Santambrogio. Sammie Sanchez from a small bunch sprint. Pellizotti to have a crack.
@BriSmithy Fri, 10th May 2013 14:19:32
The roads are dry at the moment but more showers could hit the race closer to the finish.
It's interesting to hear from Italian Maarten Tjallingii (Team Blanco) is a vegetarian.
Team Sky has played down talk about Rigoberto Uran's personal ambitions and loyalty in this Giro. He spoke to Colombian radio and said he will ride for Wiggins but also has hopes of finishing in the top five overall and taking the pink jersey today.
You can read the story here.
The break's lead is coming down quickly now as the hills come quick and fast.
Vini Fantini is still leading the chase but the overall contenders and their teams are now gathering at the front. Team Sky has three riders protecting Wiggins.
The gap is just 3:45 now. The six breakaways are struggling after bring in the break all day.
The break is on the first categories climb of the stage but they've been in the hills virtually all day.
Crash! Two riders go down at the back of the bunch but both get up and begin to chase. The roads are slippy after the rain.
This climb has a leg hurting section at 10%.
Mark Cavendish has eased off and distanced by the peloton. Several Omega Pharma-Quick Step teammates are staying with him as they form a gruppetto.
On the finish line it'is now raining / Sull'arrivo sta piovendo #giro
@giroditalia Fri, 10th May 2013 14:59:08
Several other sprinters have also sat up with Cavendish. Taylor Phinney (BMC) is also there.
The riders are about to tackle the super steep climb of Pietragrossa, that caused so much damage during Tirreno-Adriatico in March.
This part is at 16% Ouch!
Sella is leading the break but Adam Hasen (Lotto Belisol) looks good today.
The peloton is now on the climb. will we see an attack?
Cadel Evans (BMC) is at the back of the bunch. He has needed to change a shoe. It's the wrong moment to be stuck at the back.
Upfront Taborre has opened a gap on the peloton but he's not going away.
Evans is being escorted by Steve Morabito back up to the front.
A problem for Uran too, he seems to have tangled with a Lotto Belisol rider.
Lots if riders have opted for compact chainsets today. They'll need them.
The break goes over the KOM line and the clock starts to measure the gap to the peloton.
Robert Gesink (Blanco) is at the front of the peloton. He'd love to gain some time today before Saturday's long time trial.
Another climb and the break splits into pieces.
The break is now on the climb to the centre of Chieti. This one hurts too!
Hansen and Sella have dropped the other riders in the break.
It is now raining much heavier.
The peloton is also suffering on the steep climb to Chieti. This the climb often used in Tirreno-Adriatico for a stage finish.
Taborre still has a slight lead but the peloton can see him.
Even the Colombian riders are struggling on the steep climbs.
Hansen and Sella have dived down the decent to Chieti Scala.
Crash!!! Sella goes down hard on a corner.
The road is part dry and part wet. The worst combination.
Hansen continues alone.
The peloton is about to hit the right turn
Sella went straight on and slipped out. The road is like ice.
Taborre has a good gap, as Team Sky leads the peloton, with Blanco just behind them.
Sella has got back up to Hansen but he seems a little stunned.
Another crash as Jeansson (FDJ) touches wheels and slips in the rain.
The peloton seems to have eased off in fear of crashing.
However Garmin-Sharp look ready to go on the attack.
They have several riders near the head of the race, including Ryder Hesjedal.
Blanco is also massing near the front.
upfront Hansen has dropped Sella over the top of the climb. He's going for the stage win and shaved his head last night to get into the mood.
Di Luca attacks!
Taborre is waitnig for him to create a Vini Fantini duo.
Nibali, Gesink and Scarponi are also on the attack. Where is Wiggins?
Wiggins is just behind, as are Hesjedal and other GC contenders.
The roads are very wet now and the main peloton has split into several groups.
#Giro Whev av you Sir Bradley??
@sarpergunsal Fri, 10th May 2013 15:51:20
Wiggins is at the back of the front group. He nods at the TV motorbike to move away. He's clearly not happy in the rain.
Hansen has a great chance of winning the stage.
Tanel Tangert (Astana) jumps off the front of the peloton and is joined by Di Luca.
Astana seems to want to put Wiggins under pressure.
Sella is chasing but won't catch Hansen.
The riders are on the last climb before a short descent and then a flat final 5km to the finish.
10km to go for Hansen.
This is a huge performance from Hansen.
Nibali attacks on the descent! And the other riders are struggling to keep up on the wet descent.
Di Luca and Pirazzi are further up the road and so could form a good group with Nibali.
Nibali crashes on the descent! He slipped out in the rain.
He seems ok and gets back going very quickly.
Hansen is near the top of the climb. just the wet descent lies between him and victory.
Wiggins is reported to be struggling at he back of the main group, while other riders attack up front.
Wggins is with the pink jersey but other riders are in a group ahead of him. Wiggins has two teammates with him.
Wiggins has Henao and Uran leading the chase.
Sella crashes again in the rain!
Wiggins goes down too!
He's chasing but is alone. He could loose a lot of time today.
Wiggins slipped out on a tight hairpin curve. He's on his own and is being very careful on the wet roads. The riders are trying to gain as much time as possible.
Other riders crash as Wiggins takes it very carefully round a corner.
Lampre-Merida is driving the group along, trying to put time into Wiggins.
Uran and Henao have waited for Wiggins, they face 5km of flat roads to the finish. how much time will he loose?
Upfront Hansen smiles. He's close to victory.
Here comes Hansen in the pouring rain. He wanted this win and has earned it with a super ride in the hills and rain.
It's the Australian's birthday tomorrow. A pretty cool present!
He wins alone, almost in tears.
Paolini is off the back of the leading group and so will loose pink.
sprint for second place: Battaglin seems to have it.
Hesjedal, Nibali, Scarponi, Evans are in the front group.
Wiggins is coming in now. He's lost more than a minute!
Hansen describes his in as the biggest of his career.
Spain’s Beñat Intxausti (Movistar) is the new race leader and so takes the pink jersey from Luca Paolini (Katusha).
In provisional results, Wiggins is 1:32 behind after is crash on the descent. He is 1:27 behind Nibali in the GC.
Wow, what a stage!
Nibali now 2nd in the GC by 5", Hesjedal 3rd by 8". Wiggins out of the top 10. #Giro
@opqscyclingteam Fri, 10th May 2013 16:25:22
Wiggins took an inside line on the hairpin and his bike slipped away. After that he really struggled in the rain on the corners and was alone for several kilometres until Henao and Uran waited for him.
Cyclingnews reporter Alasdair Fotheringham spoke to Beñat Intxausti (Movistar) before the start and predicted he would take the pink jersey.
You can read the story here.
After Hansen takes the applause on the podium, it's Intxausti's turn. He pulls on the pink jersey and celebrates a special day in his career.
21 canons explode to celebrate the stage and podium in honour of Italian writer and poet Gabriele D’Annunzio .
Wow, what yet another exciting and drammatic day of racing.
We'll have a full race report, photo galleries and interviews on Cyclingnews very soon.
Thanks for joining us for live coverage of the stage. Join us tomorrow for the very important 55.4km time trial stage.
We'll find out just how much Wiggins will be able to pull back on his overall rivals. Don't miss it!