Roberts "so close and yet so far away" from maglia rosa

A day in the breakaway has rocketed Saxo Bank Australian Luke Roberts up the general classification with the 35-year-old now sitting 10th overall, 41 seconds back on the maglia rosa of Adriano Malori (Lampre-ISD) after Friday's sixth stage.

As the best placed rider in the front group of eight riders, Roberts in his third Giro d'Italia, was in the virtual leader's jersey during the hilly stretch from Urbino to Porto Sant´Elpidio but in the finale on the short but incredibly steep slopes the front group exploded and Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Androni Giocattoli) took off in an insistant solo ride towards the finish line.

With 20 kilometres left to race, Roberts was caught by the remnants of the peloton but the Columbian kept his gap and won the stage.

"It was a tough stage and there was a lot of uncertainties along the way whether we were able to stay together up there and whether Garmin would and could pull us back in," he said following the stage. "I kept an eye on my followers and I knew I was in the virtual leader's jersey but I met a steep steep wall with 35 kilometres to go and I was simply not able to climb it with the best in the group. So close and yet so far away from the jersey."

Sports director, Philippe Mauduit was happy about the team performance:

"The plan was to be represented in the long break and luckily, Luke managed to take off and got a smell of the pink jersey along the way," he explained. "But cramps put an end to his adventure in the front but he finished in the field and is now tenth overall. Manuele [Boaro] had a bit of an off-day and simply couldn't follow the pace of the pack. It's his first grand tour and he also has to take care of himself. Tomorrow, there's another tough stage and even with an uphill finish. It's a long tour."

In March, Roberts finished 7th overall at the Dreidaagse Van West-Vlaanderen. This is his 11th professional season.


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