Giro d'Italia: Arnaud Démare wins stage 6

Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) surged to a dominant victory in an uphill sprint on stage 6 of the Giro d'Italia, dispatching his rivals with seeming ease in Matera and taking the points jersey with it.

The French national champion won by several bike lengths ahead of Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb), while Fabio Felline (Astana) took third just behind. Bora-Hansgrohe's Peter Sagan, wearer of the maglia ciclamino on the stage, ended up in a lowly ninth place.

"This is amazing," Démare said after the finish. "It was an incredibly hard finish. I lost position but I didn’t go crazy, I got back up, followed Astana, stayed on their wheel and then I kept following them. I launched the sprint and can't believe I won it.

"I said if I won the first one, there'd be more. It's good to win early and feel good. We tried and now we've shaken off the pressure. It's magnifique to win like this. I put my arms and I'm super happy to win this way.

"It was risky, and I didn't think there'd be a chance for a sprint and that Bora would control the race.  At 200 metres I said I'd go for it and it worked out. Thanks to team who trusted me and led me."

Démare looked to come back from a near-impossible position in the final kilometre, swamped with 500 metres to go before jumping onto a move by Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and Felline around the final two left-hand bends.

Sagan, meanwhile, was stuck on the inside and held up as Astana took over on the run to the line. His sprint never really got going, in contrast to Démare, who blasted past the Astana lead out on the 2.6 per cent gradient to the line. Matthews' late dash saw him overcome eventual fourth-place finisher Juan Sebastián Molano (UAE Team Emirates) before edging out Felline at the last.

Démare's win sees him in the clear lead of the points classification – he lies on 106 points to Sagan's 67, while Matthews lies third on 55 points. João Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) retains the race lead, 43 seconds ahead of Bahrain McLaren's Pello Bilbao. The Portuguese youngster didn't enjoy a drama-free day though, being hit by UAE Team Emirates climber Brandon McNulty after stopping to fix his radio with 37km to go.

How it unfolded

Stage 6 of the Giro d'Italia took the peloton 188km from Castrovillari east across the 'instep' of Italy to the ancient city of Matera in Basilicata. It was the first time since 2014 that the southern region hosted a stage finish, though the day would be less taxing than that stage, won by Diego Ulissi in Viggiano.

The early kilometres of the stage would take in several uncategorised climbs before a long, slightly downhill run to the finale with the category 3 ascent to Millotta (4.7km at 6.8 per cent) coming with 25.7km to go.

The final kilometres of the stage would pose a tricky challenge for some sprinters, with the final 10 kilometres rising up and a finishing straight angling slightly uphill at 2.6 per cent. A possible launchpad for the puncheurs lay 2km from the line – a 750 metre rise at 6.3 per cent.

A flurry of attacks went from the start of the stage, with a four-man group prevailing before 10km had been raced. Vini Zabù-Brado-KTM's Marco Frapporti made the break for the second time in three days, with the Lombard joined by fellow northerners, Mattia Bais (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) of Trentino and Filippo Zana (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè) of Vicenza. EF Pro Cycling's Australian James Whelan completed the move.

The quartet gained a maximum advantage of nine minutes in the early afternoon as Deceuninck-QuickStep, working for race leader Almeida, and Bora-Hansgrohe, riding for points leader Peter Sagan, did the bulk of pacemaking at the front of the peloton.

There was little drama through the mid-part of the stage, save for Whelan and Frapporti suffering mechanicals before making it back to the break and CCC Team's Ilnur Zakarin involved in a minor crash in the peloton.

At the first sprint of the day, both Sagan and stage 4 winner Démare went for the four points available behind the break. Sagan only ended up with two, though, losing out to the Frenchman as well as his own teammate Maciej Bodnar after a mix-up in the run for the line.

Team Sunweb joined in the work at the front, helping to bring the gap down to a more manageable six minutes with 80km to race. Over the next 10 kilometres, the peloton's high pace had swept another 1:45 away, with the sprinters teams clearly signalling their intent for the final.

With 37km to go, and with the break under two minutes away, race leader Almeida was involved in a crash. He and teammate Iljo Keisse pulled to the side of the road to fix a problem with his radio, but an unsighted McNulty hit Almeida from behind. Both riders were fine, though, quickly making it back to the peloton.

Up front, Frapporti decided to attack the break 32km from the line, not long after having remonstrated with Whelan about the amount of work that was being done. He was caught at the base of the climb to Millotta, though – the only real prize left on the stage for the quartet.

Whelan jumped away midway up the climb, taking 50 seconds by the top as his breakmates were caught by the peloton. At the back, sprinters Elia Viviani (Cofidis) and Álvaro Hodeg (Deceuninck-QuickStep) lost contact with the peloton.

Work from Bora-Hansgrohe and Jumbo-Visma ended Whelan's adventure with just under 14km to go. Paweł Poljański stuck to the front in service of Sagan afterwards, keeping the pace high until the 7.5km to go mark. A host of teams – including the Sunweb and Groupama-FDJ trains – took over at the front, working for their sprinters as well as keeping GC riders safe on the run to the 3km banner.

There were surprisingly no real attempts to get away on the small hill at two kilometres, and Bora-Hansgrohe took to the front once again over the top with Matteo Fabbro. His work ended just inside the final kilometre, at which point Trek-Segafredo's Vincenzo Nibali mounted a surprise but short-lived attack.

Bora-Hansgrohe's Rafał Majka took over heading into the final 600 metres, with Sagan in third wheel and Démare some way back but moving up. The final two bends proved decisive for positioning in the dash for the line, with the Frenchman following Felline and carrying momentum around the outside, as Sagan was held up by a concertina effect on the inside.

Fuglsang's lead out was a launchpad for Felline to go, while Andrea Vendrame in second wheel didn't have enough kick to challenge. Démare launched down the left and easily outsprinted Felline to the line. Molano's sprint didn't quite get going either, with Matthews' decision to take his wheel proving the wrong one with Démare already bike lengths ahead before the Australian jumped for second place.

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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 4:54:38
2Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb
3Fabio Felline (Ita) Astana Pro Team
4Juan Sebastian Molano Benavides (Col) UAE Team Emirates
5Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Start-Up Nation
6Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R la Mondiale
7Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Den) Deceuninck-Quickstep
8Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
9Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bahrain McLaren
10Jhonatan Manuel Narvaez Prado (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers
11Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck-Quickstep
12Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
13Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Pro Cycling
14Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
15Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
16Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
17Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
18Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb
19Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
20Simone Consonni (Ita) Cofidis
21Ruben Guerreiro (Por) EF Pro Cycling
22Lucas Hamilton (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
23Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain McLaren
24Jai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb
25Joao Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quickstep
26Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
27Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling
28Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb
29Attila Valter (Hun) CCC Team
30Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck-Quickstep
31Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal
32Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma
33Sergio Samitier Samitier (Spa) Movistar Team
34Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott
35Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates
36James Knox (GBr) Deceuninck-Quickstep
37Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) CCC Team
38Koen Bouwman (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma
39Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain McLaren
40Aurélien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
41Martijn Tusveld (Ned) Team Sunweb
42Chris Harper (Aus) Team Jumbo-Visma
43Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
44Francesco Romano (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
45Joe Dombrowski (USA) UAE Team Emirates
46Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Ineos Grenadiers
47Ben Swift (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
48Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
49Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis
50Matteo Fabbro (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
51Alessandro Bisolti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
52Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
53Lawrence Warbasse (USA) AG2R la Mondiale
54Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain McLaren
55Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Lotto Soudal
56Damien Howson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
57Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Groupama-FDJ
58Simon Guglielmi (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
59Jaakko Hanninen (Fin) AG2R la Mondiale
60Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R la Mondiale 0:00:20
61Josip Rumac (Cro) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
62Stefano Oldani (Ita) Lotto Soudal
63Sean Bennett (USA) EF Pro Cycling 0:00:23
64Pavel Kochetkov (Rus) CCC Team
65Jonathan Caicedo (Ecu) EF Pro Cycling 0:00:25
66Nicola Conci (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
67Amanuel Gebreigzabhier (Eri) NTT Pro Cycling 0:00:34
68Davide Villella (Ita) Movistar Team 0:00:37
69Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar Team
70Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM 0:00:42
71Kamil Malecki (Pol) CCC Team
72Einer Augusto Rubio Reyes (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:44
73Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM 0:00:46
74François Bidard (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
75Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Israel Start-Up Nation 0:01:07
76Michael Hepburn (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 0:01:21
77Joseph Rosskopf (USA) CCC Team
78Danilo Wyss (Swi) NTT Pro Cycling
79Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:01:32
80Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bahrain McLaren
81Kilian Frankiny (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
82Pieter Serry (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep
83Victor De la Parte (Spa) CCC Team
84Cameron Meyer (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
85Alessandro Tonelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane' 0:01:46
86Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
87Antonio Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
88Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal
89Etienne Van Empel (Ned) Vini Zabu' KTM
90Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis 0:01:57
91Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo
92Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
93Jesper Hansen (Den) Cofidis
94Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
95Jefferson Alexander Cepeda (Ecu) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:02:12
96Victor Campenaerts (Bel) NTT Pro Cycling
97Simon Pellaud (Swi) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:02:16
98Oscar Rodriguez Garaicoechea (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:02:23
99Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Groupama-FDJ 0:02:24
100Miles Scotson (Aus) Groupama-FDJ
101Jos Van Emden (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma
102Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Team Jumbo-Visma
103Mark Padun (Ukr) Bahrain McLaren 0:02:27
104Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Movistar Team
105Manuele Boaro (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:02:33
106Eros Capecchi (Ita) Bahrain McLaren 0:02:35
107Fernando Gaviria Rendon (Col) UAE Team Emirates
108Dario Cataldo (Ita) Movistar Team
109Josef Cerny (Cze) CCC Team
110Matteo Sobrero (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling
111Jonas Gregaard Wilsly (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:02:42
112Chad Haga (USA) Team Sunweb
113Rohan Dennis (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers 0:02:46
114Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers
115Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
116Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
117Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma
118Tobias Foss (Nor) Team Jumbo-Visma
119Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
120Rodrigo Contreras Pinzon (Col) Astana Pro Team
121Ben O'Connor (Aus) NTT Pro Cycling
122Mathias Le Turnier (Fra) Cofidis
123Simone Ravanelli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:03:30
124Nathan Haas (Aus) Cofidis
125Rick Zabel (Ger) Israel Start-Up Nation
126Tony Martin (Ger) Team Jumbo-Visma
127Luca Chirico (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
128Edoardo Affini (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
129Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:03:32
130Alexander Cataford (Can) Israel Start-Up Nation 0:03:41
131Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Soudal 0:03:52
132Nico Denz (Ger) Team Sunweb 0:04:00
133Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Team Sunweb
134Kamil Gradek (Pol) CCC Team
135Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) UAE Team Emirates 0:04:07
136Dylan Sunderland (Aus) NTT Pro Cycling 0:04:19
137Fabio Mazzucco (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane' 0:04:26
138Tanel Kangert (Est) EF Pro Cycling 0:04:31
139Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers 0:04:47
140Hector Carretero (Spa) Movistar Team 0:05:02
141Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Pro Cycling 0:05:03
142Mikkel Bjerg (Den) UAE Team Emirates
143Giovanni Lonardi (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
144Alex Dowsett (GBr) Israel Start-Up Nation 0:05:05
145Matthew Holmes (GBr) Lotto Soudal
146Louis Meintjes (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling
147Albert Torres Barcelo (Spa) Movistar Team 0:07:11
148James Whelan (Aus) EF Pro Cycling 0:07:28
149Mattia Bais (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:10:32
150Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Groupama-FDJ 0:11:37
151Marco Mathis (Ger) Cofidis
152Jhonatan Restrepo Valencia (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
153Lachlan Morton (Aus) EF Pro Cycling
154Iljo Keisse (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep
155Domen Novak (Slo) Bahrain McLaren
156Matteo Spreafico (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
157Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
158Marco Frapporti (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM
159Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM
160Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis
161Guy Sagiv (Isr) Israel Start-Up Nation
162Filippo Zana (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
163Alvaro Jose Hodeg Chagui (Col) Deceuninck-Quickstep
164Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel Start-Up Nation
165Jonathan Dibben (GBr) Lotto Soudal
166Simone Bevilacqua (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM
167Patrick Gamper (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
168Matthias Brändle (Aut) Israel Start-Up Nation
DNSBrent Bookwalter (USA) Mitchelton-Scott
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Intermediate Sprint - San Severino Lucano - km 62.1
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mattia Bais (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 12
2Marco Frapporti (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM 8
3Filippo Zana (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane' 6
4James Whelan (Aus) EF Pro Cycling 5
5Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 4
6Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 3
7Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 2
8Patrick Gamper (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 1
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Points
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 50
2Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 35
3Fabio Felline (Ita) Astana Pro Team 25
4Juan Sebastian Molano Benavides (Col) UAE Team Emirates 18
5Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Start-Up Nation 14
6Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R la Mondiale 12
7Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Den) Deceuninck-Quickstep 10
8Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 8
9Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bahrain McLaren 7
10Jhonatan Manuel Narvaez Prado (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers 6
11Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck-Quickstep 5
12Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 4
13Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Pro Cycling 3
14Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 2
15Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane' 1
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Bonus sprint, Peschiera - km 135.1
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Marco Frapporti (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM 0:00:03
2Mattia Bais (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:00:02
3Filippo Zana (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane' 0:00:01
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Mountain 1 (Cat. 3) Millotta - km 162.3
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1James Whelan (Aus) EF Pro Cycling 9
2Marco Frapporti (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM 4
3Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 2
4Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling 1
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