Riders stepped out of their team buses into pouring rain on Thursday morning as they made their way to sign-on for stage 6 of the Giro d'Italia.
Ahead of the first summit finish of this year's race, many of the overall contenders spoke to the media about what they expected from the day's racing. Many are predicting Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) will win the uphill sprint to the finish in Roccaraso.
You can find Cyclingnews' in-depth stage 6 preview by clicking here.
Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin), race leader
"Normally it's a hard day and it definitely will be with the weather but hopefully it will it improve. If I have good legs, then I think I can follow [the others]. I think there will be attacks by Landa, Valverde and Nibali as they try to make the race hard and take time bonuses and take time before the upcoming time trial.
"I feel good. I think today will be a first test for everyone."
Mikel Landa (Team Sky)
"I don't think the [final] climb is hard enough to make a real difference and I think Dumoulin should be able to defend the pink jersey. I think the finish suits [Alejandro] Valverde and so he's the favourite for the stage win."
Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge)
"I was the first to sign on and so I hope to be first to reach the finish.
"The climb to the finish isn't that hard but I'm sure someone will ride it hard, test their legs and see what happens. We want to be up there with the GC guys and not lose time. That's the most important thing."
Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)
"The stage suits Valverde but we'll see what happens out on the road. Different things could happen, there could be a break and so the stage could be controlled. The GC guys will all be on their guard, we've got good guys to get in the break and so we'll see what happens."
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)
"I don't like the weather but, like most riders, will just try to get through it. We'll see what happens out on the road."
Damiano Cunego (Nippo Vini Fantini)
"It's raining now but the weather is likely to improve. That's good because racing in the rain is not easy and often dangerous. The first mountain points are up fro grabs after just 54km, so I'll go for it. I could lose the jersey but will fight to get it back.
"Our team is from this area in Abruzzo, so we're playing at home, and our sponsors want us to do well today."
Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida)
"It could suit me but we'll need to see how we attack the stages. The climbs are pretty rideable and I'll try to stay with the leaders because you never know, something could happen. I expect Movistar to control the race because Valverde could win the stage. I wouldn't be surprised to see Dumoulin up there and win too because he's very strong."
Michele Scarponi (Astana)
"It's an important stage but we'll wait and see what happens. The finish suits Valverde and so perhaps he'll be up there and sprint for the stage win and time bonuses. But there could be other tactics too. We'll be careful."
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