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Giro d'Italia 2012: Stage 6


The climbing starts! The Giro d'Italia heads into the mountains for the first time in stage six.

Giro d'Italia, stage six – medium mountains. After all the excitement (and crashes) of the opening flat stages, we are finally getting into the climbing.

We are on a bit early today, the race doesn't actually start until 11:40.

If we have our clocks correctly co-ordinated, the race should now be underway!

It is actually a lot more rolling than mountainous, but still – it is not flat! We have four ranked climbs, one category two and three category three. And when we look at the profile, we really don't see a lot of flat anywhere.

As far as we know, all 198 starters are still in the race. And that despite all the nasty crashes we have seen!

We are suffering from a lack of information so far, so let's see how we can fill the time....

What does the CN “Bluffers guide” say to this stage? “The last 100 kilometres will be punch and counterpunch through the thinking man’s Tuscany, as the Giro begins in earnest. Scarponi, from nearby Filottrano, will look to deliver to his legions of Marchegiano fans.”

The weather appears to be co-operating today.  At the start we hear it was 20°C, sunshine and virutally no wind. Sounds lovely!

For the record, we are riding 210 km today from Urbino south-southeast to Porto Sant'Elpidio.

After five stages, who is wearing what jersey and who is leading which ranking? Let's take a peek, starting with GC.

1     Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin - Barracuda     14:45:13      
2     Robert Hunter (RSA) Garmin - Barracuda     0:00:05      
3     Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Barracuda     0:00:11      
4     Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team     0:00:13      
5     Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky Procycling     0:00:14      
6     Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling     0:00:16      
7     Manuele Boaro (Ita) Team Saxo Bank     0:00:19      
8     Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin - Barracuda     0:00:26      
9     Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team     0:00:30      
10     Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha Team          

And at the other end of things, our lowest-ranked rider is Miguel Minguez of Euskaltel-Euskadi, who is already 24:39 down.

For the red jersey of the points competition:

1     Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team     65      pts
2     Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky Procycling     53      
3     Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Barracuda     30      
4     Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling     26      
5     Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team     25      

178km remaining from 207km

The gap is up to 40 seconds.Let's see if we can't get some of the names.

We have barely had enough bumps to call mountains so far, but there have been enough to establish a mountain ranking. We can expect some changes here today for sure!

1     Alfredo Balloni (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia     6      pts
2     Pier Paolo De Negri (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia     3      
3     Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin - Barracuda     2      
4     Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Col) Androni Giocattoli     2      
5     Brian Bulgac (Ned) Lotto Belisol Team     2      
6     Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli     1      
7     Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team     1      
8     Miguel Minguez Ayala (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi     1      

1:15 is the gap now, at km 33.  Here the names we have gathered: A. Malori, A. Dyachenko, Rubiano, Belleti, Balloni, Rollin, Bauer, Kuschynski, Keukeliere, Smukulus, Lastras, Golas, Van Winden, Benedetti and Roberts.

Best young rider is, of course, the GC leader, 24-year-old Ramunas Navardauskas.

1     Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin - Barracuda     14:45:13      
2     Manuele Boaro (Ita) Team Saxo Bank     0:00:19      
3     Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha Team     0:00:30      
4     Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin - Barracuda     0:00:31      
5     Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quickstep     0:00:35

Fast team classification is headed by Garmin-Barracuda:

1     Garmin - Barracuda     43:01:35      
2     BMC Racing Team     0:00:36      
3     Radioshack - Nissan     0:00:45      
4     Orica Greenedge            
5     Sky Procycling     0:00:51     

165km remaining from 207km

Five riders in the group are within one minute of our leader in pink. The top-ranked rider is Luke Roberts of Saxo Ban, who is currently 41 seconds down in 25th position.

Has Taylor Phinney had an up-and-down time of it in the Giro, or what? He has hit the ground in practically every stage. What an introduction the youngster has had in his first grand tour: winning the opening stage, wearing the leader's pink jersey and then crashing, crashing, crashing. He is pretty philosophical about it, though.

And here again, the list of riders in this break: Miguel Rubiano (Androni-Giocattoli), Manuel Belletti (AG2R-LaMondiale), Alfredo Balloni (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia), Dominique Rollin (FDJ-BigMat), Jack Bauer (Garmin-Barracuda), Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Katusha), Jens Keukeleire (Orica-GreenEdge), Gatis Smukulis (Katusha), Pablo Lastras Garcia (Movistar), Michal Golas (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Dennis Van Winden (Rabobank), Cesare Benedetti (Team NetApp), and Luke Roberts (Saxo Bank).

A puncture for Navardauskas. Better now than later.

It looks like Alfredo Balloni of Farnese Vini-Selle Italia is serious about holding on to his mountains jersey. He is in this group and has the potential to pick up a lot more points today.

Let's all give one big “ooooooh, how sweet.......” for little Delilah Cavendish, who made her podium debut yesterday. Oh yeah, her Dad was there too.

152km remaining from 207km

Alex Rasmussen of Garmin-Barracuda was considered a hot favourite to take the leader's jersey after the team time trial, but the Dane had to drop back before the finish line. He was happy the team won and that his teammate Navardauskas took the jersey, but felt “he let the team down.”

We have our first abandon of the 2012 Giro: Romain Feillu of Vacansoleil. He was one of those who finished 12 minutes down yesterday.

Well, it looks like the peloton has finally woken up. The gap has come down to 7:43, with 144km to go.

And moments later, the gap is back to over 8 minutes.

Yvon Sanquer is sitting in the team car for FDJ-Big Mat. You may remember him as being with Astana, where he was team manager, or at least he was up until Alberto Contador left that team. He is still convinced that Contador won the 2010 Tour de France clean.

Here's one for all you Ipad folks: issue two of Cycling News HD, our new weekly magazine. Click here to find out more.

We have a birthday in the peloton today! Adam Hansen of Lotto Belisol has turned 31 today. Happy Birthday and good luck and stop crashing!

Well, well, the gap is finally coming down for real. It is now at 6:30. We can't give you an exact km measure right now, but the lead group is apparently approaching the first climb, which tops out at km 95.

122km remaining from 207km

125km remaining from 207km

Here is a short look at today's climbs, courtesy of the Giro: This is the first hilly stage of the Giro d’Italia, with only the final
section on flat roads. The whole stage climbs and descends through the Macerata and
Fermano Apennine hills, with short and sharp ascents followed by technical descents.
The route includes 4 classified climbs: Cingoli, 3rd cat -746m after 95.4km; Passo
della Cappella 2nd cat -772m after 118km; Montelupone 3rd cat 251m after 154.7km;
Montegranaro 3rd cat 241m after 176.5km.

115km remaining from 207km

The gap is now down to six minutes.

Before the start of the stage, during the morning TV show on Italian television, race leader Ramunas Navardauskas and Michele Acquarone (the general director of RCS Spor)t, gave a pink jersey to Paolo Pantani, the father of Marco Pantani.

Tyler Farrar had been a favourite to take yesterday's stage, but, well, it sure didn't work out that way, did it? "I just had an off day," he said.

Today's stage sees the corsa rosa return to Porto Sant’ Elpidio exactly 20 years after Mario Cipollini’s victory in 1992.

The leaders have crossed the first ranked climb of the day, and now have only a 5:38 lead.

Today's first mountain points went to Golas, with Rubiano in second.

Did Jonathan Atkins purposely take down Isaac Howes down in a race? Atkins says no, Howes says yes.  No, this is not a soap opera but an incident in a US criterium race, which USA Cycling is looking into. Our Peter Hymas has all of the “Atkins said/Howes said” for us here.

100km to go. The gap is back up to 5:50. But those remaining kms are pretty bumpy ones!

The lead group is now starting up the second climb of the day. The Passo della Cappella climb includes a four kilometre dirt section with a gradient of 9% and sections at 15%. And it starts with a gravel section!

Just a reminder that our lead group is: Miguel Rubiano (Androni-Giocattoli), Dominique Rollin (FDJ-BigMat), Jack Bauer (Garmin-Barracuda), Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Katusha), Gatis Smukulis (Katusha), Pablo Lastras Garcia (Movistar), Michal Golas (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Cesare Benedetti (Team NetApp), and Luke Roberts (Saxo Bank).

And as far as we know, the following have fallen out of this grouß
Dennis Van Winden (Rabobank), Jens Keukeleire (Orica-GreenEdge), Manuel Belletti (AG2R-LaMondiale), Alfredo Balloni (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia),

Here is some good news for Bjarne Riis: the Spanish timeshare company Anfi says it is will move in as co-sponsor. What would you think of Team Saxo Bank-Anfi?

97km remaining from 207km

Rollin is having problems staying up with the lead group on this climb.

Rubiano attacks on the climb!

That's it for me today.  Dan Benson will take you in for the rest of the stage.

Thanks Susan

Some big news from this morning, that we've already mentioned, Thor Hushovd out of the race. His poor season goes on and on. Marquee signing he may have been but it's not worked out so far since his move from Garmin.

We're hearing over race radio that Lastras has crashed. He attacked after Rujano but has come down.

Rubiano , my mistake, Rujano is back in the bunch

Back with the peloton, Liquigas and Astana are doing most of the work. With jack Bauer up the road, the American team dont need to that much work at all.

88km remaining from 207km

the maglia rosa is off the back of the bunch and there's still a long way to go. It's going to be very hard to come back from there. Hesjedal is riding towards the pink jersey.

77km remaining from 207km

Rodriguez and Hesjedal will be content with the day so far, the Spaniard has Basso's team on the front doing the work and the Canadian is riding into pink, assuming a few other riders have been dropped as well, Hunter for example.

Astana have moved up, sitting just behind the Liquigas train, which has thinned out a lot in the last 10 km. The gap is 4:22 to the break.

Navardauskas has made contact with the bunch. A combination of things allowed him back on, 1, he was chasing like a mad man, 2, Liquigas have eased off, 3 the bunch have slowed for a comfort break. Saved pink due to Ivan Basso's full bladder. That's bike racing.

The gap to the break will start to creep up again, it could reach around 6 minutes. We've got 70km to race.

Jack Bauer is nursing some injuries on the bike, his shorts ripped. I'm not sure where he crashed though but he looks okay to make the stage.

The Garmin rider is back with the break though, perhaps he came down at the same point as Lastras? We'll try and get confirmatio as soon as we can.

65km remaining from 207km

And again Liquigas move to the front -  all of them this time - setting the pace.

We're coming up to the next climb, we'll see what the maglia rosa is made up when we hit the slower slopes. Robbie Hunter is up there at the front for Garmin, who are looking a lot more organised now. Still, Liquigas set the pace though.

Basso looks comfortable, keen for his team to flex their muscles on the front of the peloton. The leaders in the break have reached the climb, max gradient of 15%.

Luke Roberts come through in the break and takes a turn.

Rubiano who was brought back by the break earlier, sits at the back of the group. He took the points on the last climb so if he has any legs he'll go for it again.

And Rubiano has gone for it. He's on his own and heading towards more mountain points. He doesnt look that smooth on the pedals but he's effective.

The peloton on the climb, and lots of riders are struggling on the lower slopes. There's a pretty good chance of this break staying away at this rate. Liquigas have spread over the road and set the pace, it's not too fast so Basso looks happy with containment for now.

And the bunch crest the top of the climb, the gap still over 5 minutes with 51 kilometres to go.

Rubiano is been brought back again by the break.

The gap is down to 4:50 and there are a lot of tired legs in the break.

Savio leans out of the window, and gives Rubiano some advice about the finale.

Two Garmin men in trouble now, Bauer is being dropped from the break and our race leader, Navardauskas, is at the back of the bunch.

Navardauskas is certainly giving it everything but it's not going to be enough. Garmin have to stay with their GC man for the day so the race leader is on his own now.

45km remaining from 207km

Navardauskas is a minute down on the peloton .Bennati was dropped with him, a testament to how tough today's finish. Pozzato is in the peloton, he's a good bet for today if the break is caught.

The race is going to splinter on the final climb, and no mistake. We're about 10km away.

The leaders hit the climb, and they're all weaving all over the road, the pace almost at a standstill.

Navardauskas has come back to the bunch again. Great riding from the young man.

And Scarponi has come to the front to see what's going on. Cunego is close by.

Scarponi and Ballan both on the front with more riders struggling at the back. Navardauskas digs in at the back. And he pops, again. He'll go at his own pace and just hope he can come back again.

More and more men from Lampre swarm the front of the bunch.

Navardauskas you guessed it, has made contact again, but the road is getting stepper, so you know what's going to happen next.

The break has splinted, Malori, Golas, Benedretti, Dyachenko and Rubiano going clear.

Rubiano goes again, aiming for more points.

We're hearing that Tyler Farrar has crashed out of the Giro.

BMC now driving the field along. Huge crowds on the peak of the climb, with Rubiano set to take maximum points and the lead in the KOM.

With Roberts dropped and the bunch starting to chase hard the complexion of the race changes again. Roberts was 41 seconds down on pink at the start of the stage.

The bunch at the top of the climb with all the GC favourites near the front. Rugano, Roman K, Scarponi, Cunego, but Basso has slipped back just a bit.

Rubiano is pushing on alone this time, he's got 4:35 on the bunch and I fancy his chances of winning the stage if he can stay clear of the remnants of the break.

Pozzato is just trying to keep the pace up and get some urgency in the main field because right now Rubiano is riding away with the stage win. he has 23 seconds on the chase group and over 4 minutes on the main field.

Maroli is the maglia rosa on the road at this moment.

Rubiano still have a gap. He's 4;30 on the peloton, Colnago are leading the chase but it's not enough, surely.

Rubiano in the saddle, churning away, he appears to be slowing but the gap doesnt appear to be coming down fast enough. It's at 4:11 with 24km to race.

Liquigas take over the pace setting.

Rubiano dives down a descent, this is where he can still be brought back by the Malori group. Malori will want to secure the pink jersey and might sacrifice the stage win just to make sure he takes it.

Visconti has attacked. A couple of riders have gone with him but Liquigas bring them all back together.

The chasing foursome are not making much of an impact. Rubiano is holding them all off at the moment.

Malori needs to work though and make sure he takes pink. Same with Golas. They also dont want Roberts to come back as then he'll be in pink.

Frank Schleck, sits on Basso's rear wheel. Liquigas have done so much work today.

If Rubiano takes 1;26 on the bunch he'll move into pink. He takes 20 seconds in a bonus as well, so Malori needs to get a move on and fast. 

13km remaining from 207km

Garmin have committed Vande Velde to the front and the American is setting the pace.

10km remaining from 207km

Garmin put another man on the front.

I think they've come to the front too late.

They're going to have to motor. They need to get the gap to around 2:30-2:40 in order to put Hesjedal into the pink jersey.

Right now Rubiano is heading for the stage, pink and the mountains jersey.

Another Garmin rider joins the chase.

The stage is going to Rubiano, no doubt about that now. We're down to the battle for pink.

3km remaining from 207km

2:55 so Hesjedal is getting close. They need to bring back more and more time.

Malori and Golas still huge factors in the destination for the pink jersey as well. They need to take a few more seconds though.

Malori gets on Golas's wheel.

And Rubiano takes the stage. A very impressive ride from the climber.

Start the clock for the fight for pink. Remember Rubiano takes another 20 seconds for the win.

Here come the chases, 12, second and  8 seconds on hand

Malori takes second , Golas third.

Here come the bunch.

I think Malori will be in pink this evening.

Malori is surrounded at the finish. Does he know yet?

Impey won the bunch sprint by the way but the ride of the day came from Rubiano. He was the strongest rider out there.

1 Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Col) Androni Giocattoli 5:38:30
2 Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre - ISD 0:01:10
3 Michal Golas (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
4 Alexsandr Dyachenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
5 Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Team NetApp
6 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 0:01:51
7 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia

1 Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre - ISD 20:25:28
2 Michal Golas (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:00:15
3 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Barracuda 0:00:17
4 Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Col) Androni Giocattoli 0:00:30
5 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin - Barracuda 0:00:32
6 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 0:00:36
7 Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin - Barracuda 0:00:37
8 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha Team 0:00:39
9 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro Team
10 Luke Roberts (Aus) Team Saxo Bank 0:00:41

1 Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre - ISD 20:25:28
2 Michal Golas (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:00:15
3 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Barracuda 0:00:17
4 Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Col) Androni Giocattoli 0:00:30
5 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin - Barracuda 0:00:32
6 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 0:00:36
7 Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin - Barracuda 0:00:37
8 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha Team 0:00:39
9 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro Team
10 Luke Roberts (Aus) Team Saxo Bank 0:00:41

Thanks for joining us today for what has been a fascinating day's racing. Most of the favourites looked good, Basso and Liquigas doing a lot of work, and a fantastic ride from Rubiano. Malori in pink this evening...

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