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Giro d'Italia 2015: Stage 6

Welcome to live coverage of the Giro d'Italia stage 6

Welcome to stage 6. After a couple of days in the mountains today should be one for the sprinters, or could we see a breakaway making it for the third consecutive stage?

There was another power struggle between the favourites yesterday with Alberto Contador putting himself into pink at the finish. Here is how the overall standings look this morning.

 

1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 16:05:54
2 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:02
3 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 0:00:20
4 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:22
5 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:28
6 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica GreenEdge 0:00:37
7 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team 0:00:56
8 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:01:01
9 Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:01:15
10 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 0:01:18

After Contador switched bikes during yesterday's stage former rider Mario Cipollini speculated that it was to do with bike changes. Contador responded by saying the accusation was a joke. You can read the full response and Cipollini's speculations here.

Stage 6 from Montecatini Terme to Castiglione della Pescaia is almost entirely flat... Sprint? #giro http://t.co/7EQSDpj2HW

@giroditalia Thu, 14th May 2015 11:56:00

The riders are making their way through the neutralised section at the moment. The stage started in Montecatini Terme this afternoon, where the team time trials began during the 2013 World Championships. Instead of going east to Florence,the riders head south today.

The flag has dropped and the riders are racing with attacks already coming off the front of the bunch.

Cyclingnews are in the Cannondale-Garmin car today, tweet us your questions for the guys @Cyclingnewsfeed and we'll ask the guys after the stage.

After two tough days, it seems that the peloton are happy to let the early attack go and we have two men with a 1:44 advantage on the peloton. They are Marek Rutkiewicz (CCC Sprandi) and Eduard Grosu (Nippo-Vini Fantini)

Cannondale-Garmin have been doing a lot of work on the front and they've reduced the gap to the two escapee. Marco Bandiera (Androni), Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) and Alan Marangoni (Cannondale Garmin) are trying to bridge across.

Cannondale-Garmin have been doing a lot of work on the front and they've reduced the gap to the two escapee. Marco Bandiera (Androni), Alessandro Malaguti (Nippo-Vini-Fantini and Alan Marangoni (Cannondale Garmin) are trying to bridge across.

We mentioned Alberto Contador's bike changes before. You can take a look at one of the bikes he rode yesterday here in this exclusive video.

The trio of chasers have made it over to the leaders and we now have a group of five out front with a 2:20 advantage.

Alberto Contador and Fabio Aru swap notes ahead of the stage start.

160km remaining from 183km

This time the peloton seem happy with the make-up of the break and the gap has gone out to 4:12 for our five escapees.

We've had two winners from the break in the last two days but we're likely to see an end to that run today with the sprinters' teams looking to take control. Michael Matthews and Elia Viviani have already notched up victories in the sprint. Along with André Greipel, these two have to be the favourites for today.

Jan Polanc was the lucky escapee yesterday with an impressive ride to distance the rest of the break and hold off the overall contenders. Read what the Lampre-Merida rider had to say about his first ever Giro d'Italia stage win.

Happy birthday @Toso_74! Buon compleanno @Toso_74! #giro http://t.co/b9PYJ4fe7F

@giroditalia Thu, 14th May 2015 12:49:45

147km remaining from 183km

The gap continued to grow gradually and after 36km they have 5:04 on the bunch behind.

Yesterday former Cofidis rider, turned TV motorbike pundit, Missimiliano Lelli got himself suspended from the race fore a day after the race jury alleged that he had been helping riders up the climbs. You can read the full story here, plus strava data from some of the Giro peloton.

#Giro CN are in the @Ride_Argyle car today. Tweet us your questions for them & they'll answer them after the stage http://t.co/NPRSIew29d

@Cyclingnewsfeed Thu, 14th May 2015 13:07:33

We've been checking out a few of the star rider's bikes during the Giro d'Italia. Take a closer look at Michael Matthews' Scott Foil, which was decked out with pink bar tape to celebrate his stint in the maglia rosa.

The gap to our five escapees continues to hover around the five minute mark as it has done for quite some time.

Today's stage finishes in Castiglione della Pescaia, which makes it's debut as Giro d'Italia start/finish town. Montecatini Terme, on the other hand has featured in the Giro on 12 seperate occassions.

Talking to television ahead of the stage Richie Porte says that he's not worried that he was isolated in the last two stages and he expects his teammates to be with him in the tougher stages later in the race. Porte is now third overall and you can read what he had to say after yesterday's stage here.

Of our escapees, Alan Marangoni is the best placed in the overall classification at 56:06. Marek Rutkiewicz is the next best places at 58 minutes down.

102km remaining from 183km

The leaders are approaching the one and only climb of the day Pomarance. There's still a bit of climbing to do it afterwards but none of that has been given a classification and shouldn't trouble most of the riders.

As we dip under the 100km mark the gap is just slowly ticking down as the peloton strings out with sprinter Heinrich Haussler sitting on the back.

The riders are on the one climb today and the gap to the escapees is still 4:28 as a mixture of teams, including Lotto-Soudal, work on the front of the peloton.

#Giro A day in the life of a soigneur. Remember send us your questions for Cannondale-Garmin and… https://t.co/gvWI6qjcEJ

@Cyclingnewsfeed Thu, 14th May 2015 13:53:34

Malaguti takes the points at the top of the Pomarance, followed by Bandiera and Marangoni. There was no contest really as none of these riders are in shouting distance of the mountains jersey, which belongs to Pavel Kochetkov.

@Cyclingnewsfeed @cassette_media @Ride_Argyle who's the better driver? John or lucca?

@NathanPeterHaas Thu, 14th May 2015 14:03:04

88km remaining from 183km

With 88km to go, the road continues to roll through the Tuscany hills and fields. The area is famous for its natural hot spring water that is used for heating and energy production.

It is also the area where former world and local resident champion Paolo Bettini used to train when he was preparing for the Classics.  

The area reportedly inspired Dante, who wrote about his Divina Commedia after reports of seeing devils on the hills. 

 

The five riders in the break have passed through the feed zone in Lardarello. After some more climbing the riders will be begin the gradual descent towards the coast and Castiglione della Pescaia.

 

#giro The leaders have covered 100 km, that's 83 km left to go till the finish line in Castiglione della Pescaia. 4'08" gap.

@Lotto_Soudal Thu, 14th May 2015 14:17:43

It's 27C out on the road, with the riders in the break taking bottles from the feed motorbike. 

 

79km remaining from 183km

The peloton has also passed through the feed zone and are enjoying a late lunch as the climb the final hills of the stage.

 

Former maglia rosa on the back of the peloton on this climb. He went very deep yesterday to try and retain his leader's jersey and it looks like it's taking its toll. 

Outside of the Giro d'Italia, Cyclingnews spoke to Team Sky rider Peter Kennaugh - who is currently riding the Tour of California - has said that he is considering other teams for next season. Read what he had to say here.

73km remaining from 183km

The escapees still have 4:09 on the peloton with 73 kilometres to go.

Let's take a closer look at some of the men in the breakaway today. First up is Alan Marangoni, who is the best placed in the GC. The 30-year-old Italian was the under23 national time trial champion in 2006 and turned professional in 2009 with CSF Group-Navigare. He joined the WorldTour with Liquigas in 2011 and is yet to score his first professional victory.

We have two Nippo-Vini Fantini riders in the break with Eduard-Michael Grosu. and Alessandro Malaguti. The 22-year-old Romanian, Grosu has been aggressive during this year's Giro d'Italia with attacks in the opening five stages. He joined the team last season and turned professional when they stepped up to Pro Continental level this year, and is riding his first Giro d'Italia. 

 

Malaguti is also making his debut at the Giro d'Italia this year. The 27-year-old turned professional with Androni two years ago but moved to Vini Fantini-Nippo in 2014. His biggest win to date was the Route Adélie de Vitré in 2013.

Marco Bandiera is the third Italian in this escape and probably the most experienced of the five men out front. The 30-year-old turned professional in 2008 with Lampre and has been with the Androni team for the past two seasons. This is his third Giro d'Italia and he won the intermediate sprints classification at last year's race.

Our last man in the break is Marek Rutkiewicz. At 34 he is the oldest member of this five-man group. He turned professional with CCC Polsat in 2011 and is also a Giro debutante. Probably his biggest win was a stage of his native Tour de Pologne in 2004, the last edition before the race was promoted to the WorldTour. He also took the mountains classification at the Tour de Pologne in 2009.

55km remaining from 183km

With 55 kilometres remaining the escapees are still working well together but their gap has been whittled down to under four minutes.

The peloton are charging along at the moment. They've just come off a descent which has strung the group out. Meanwhile Lotto-Soudal have their whole team up front.

51km remaining from 183km

The riders are taking this first bit of flat road for some time as a chance to take on some food and drink, and go back to the car and that has allowed the gap grow back up to over four minutes. There is no more climbing left in the final 51 kilometres.

We briefly dip out of the Giro d'Italia for a moment. For those of you who missed the news earlier today, the potentially decisive time trial at the Tour of California has been moved due to snow. You can read the news here.

It's the two Lotto teams up front at the moment. LottoNL-Jumbo has joined Lotto-Soudal and they are still hammering it on the front and there are several riders struggling to keep up the pace. The efforts are paying off for the two Lotto teams with the gap coming down to 3:17.

LottoNL-Jumbo have Moreno Hofland for the sprint later. Hofland scored the team's first victory of the year with a win at the Tour de Yorkshire. He finished second to Elia Viviani on stage 2 and should be in the mix at the finish.

35km remaining from 183km

The escapees are approaching the second intermediate sprint of the day as the advantage over the peloton just hovers around 3:15.

Bandiera takes the intermediate sprint but he didn't have much competition from his companions.

Sky are moving up to the front of the bunch for the intermediate sprint.

Nizzolo wins the gallop for the points with Viviani rolling in about five bike lengths after him. They could be some crucial points for Viviani later in the race when the mountains really hit.

Elia Viviani (Team Sky) won the first sprint finish of this year’s Giro d’Italia. He’s a contender today but has several rivals and talked about the sprint on Italian television before the start.

“Greipel is perhaps the biggest threat even if got his timing wrong in the sprint in Genoa. Behind him I’d put Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Factory Racing) and then Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida)."

27km remaining from 183km

Giant-Alpecin makes their first appearance on the front and the gap is now tumbling. It now stands at 2:18 for our five escapees.

Sacha Modolo was pushed off a wheel in the Genoa sprint on stage 2 but is looking for revenge today.

“Today is a good chance for the sprinters and I hope not to miss out. If somebody tries to knock me off a wheel, I’ll push back.”
 

22km remaining from 183km

It's still Lotto-Soudal on the front. They're really determined today after missing out on stage 2. The gap is now just 2:04 with 22km to go

Of course, Lotto-Soudal's Andre Greipel is the favourite for an eventual sprint finish in Castiglione della Pescaia. He spoke to Italian TV before the start of the stage.

“There are a lot of fast names in the bunch, so it’s going to be a fast finish. There’s people like Viviani, Modolo, Petacchi, Nizzolo and others. We’ll see what the wind is like during the stage, it could be a factor, so it’s something we have to be careful about.”
 

20km remaining from 183km

The escapees have just passed under the 20km to go banner and they've only go 1:30 on the bunch.

Tinkoff-Saxo have moved to the front , they want to keep Alberto Contador out of trouble. As we've seen in recent stages it has been prudent riding from the Russian-registered team.

Sky have also sent Vasil Kiryienka up to the front, he's slotted in with the Lotto-Soudal train.

17km remaining from 183km

Kiryienka's turn is paying dividends and the escapees have less than a minute now on the peloton.

There's a big crosswind blowing through the peloton now. It appears to be coming from the left and lots of riders struggling to keep touch with the peloton.

16km remaining from 183km

The trains are beginning to form, Lotto-Soudal, IAM Cycling, Tinkoff-Saxo and Sky are all fighting for control on the front of the bunch.

The escapees are looking over their shoulders. They know their day is almost done with just 13 seconds on the peloton now.

14km remaining from 183km

The break have finally been caught and it's gruppo compatto with 14km to go.

Astana have made their first major appearance on the front. We've had some big crashes in some of the sprint finales and they're being very cautious and their pace setting is breaking up the peloton .

The winds are doing some damage and the peloton has been reduced to somewhere between 40-50 riders. No news on if any GC riders have missed out and no sign of Orica-GreenEdge yet.

10km remaining from 183km

Etixx-QuickStep have moved near the front now, perhaps Tom Boonen is up for it today/

Finally we also have a sighting of Orica-GreenEdge near the front. After a very big week for them they've been very quiet today.

Birthday boy Tosatto is leading the peloton with Alberto Contador in his wheel .

Now Giant-Alpecin move to the front, they've got Luka Mezgec for the sprint today.

6km remaining from 183km

Katusha, Tinkoff-Saxo, Sky, Orica-GreenEdge and Sky all have trains near the front and the pace continues to ramp up as riders are shelled off the back. It'll be a reasonably small group coming to the finish.

5km remaining from 183km

Just 5km to go

3km remaining from 183km

Lampre-Merida have finally moved up to the front. It looks like we've got all the major sprinters in this bunch.

The riders are into the safety of the 3km limit and the GC teams have disappeared from the front to allow the sprinters' teams take control again.

2km remaining from 183km

It's Lotto-Soudal again, can Greipel win his first stage of this year's Giro?

1km to go

crash

Greipel wins

After all the work by Tinkoff-Saxo it seems that Contador has gone down in that crash

In the sprint, Greg Henderson dragged Greipel through the middle of the bunch to place him perfectly on the front with a few hundred metres to go and nobody could stop him after that.

Contador has crossed the line and he looks non the worse for his small off. He goes straight to the podium tent.

A replay shows a Nippo-Vini Fantini catching a barrier and going down. Contador was on the other side of the peloton but managed to get caught up. While he looks ok the Vini Fantini rider looks in a bad way and he is being attended to by the medics.

The winner! @AndreGreipel! Il vincitore! @AndreGreipel! #Giro http://t.co/NO6EbOD2x4

@giroditalia Thu, 14th May 2015 16:18:39

We've got confirmation of the top 10 from today's stage.

 

1 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal 4:19:42
2 Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) IAM Cycling
3 Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida
4 Manuel Belletti (Ita) Southeast Pro Cycling
5 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek Factory Racing
6 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Southeast Pro Cycling
7 Elia Viviani (Ita) Team Sky
8 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Giant-Alpecin
9 Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani CSF
10 Davide Appollonio (Ita) Androni Giocattoli

There has been no changes in the GC after that stage

 

1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
2 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:02
3 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 0:00:20
4 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:22
5 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:28
6 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica GreenEdge 0:00:37
7 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team 0:00:56
8 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:01:01
9 Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:01:15
10 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 0:01:18

Today's win for Andre Greipel ensures his 100% record at the Giro d'Italia. He has now won a stage of all three Giro's he's ridden.

A picture shows Daniele Colli with the lower part of his arm pointing in the wrong direction. That looks like a serious injury for him and he's been taken to hospital. After more replays it looks like it was a fan's camera that sparked the accident.

Please, people, watch out when you're attending a cycling race! #giro #crash #safetyfirst

@LottoJumbo_road Thu, 14th May 2015 16:27:41

Contador looks like he's having problems with his left arm. He is unable to lift it and put the maglia rosa on the podium. Let's hope the injury isn't too serious.

Andre Greipel spoke to the media after his sprint victory. The German said: "It was really like we planned in the part, we made a really long pull, and it kept us in the front and with 1.1km to go Adam Hansen just went for it and then Greg Henderson was going really for a long way. When I looked up it was just 600 metres to go, normally it’s a bit too early for him but he kept it up."

Alberto Contador crashes in Giro d'Italia stage 6 sprint finish http://t.co/KbdJxKsOjZ

@Cyclingnewsfeed Thu, 14th May 2015 16:37:34

Tinkoff Saxo say that they are confident that Contador will be able to continue but he will be going to the hospital this evening.

Alberto Contador's press officier Jacinto Vidarte spoke following the stage. Here's what he had to say about Contador's condition.

 

"Alberto is almost good, he had a very heavy fall towards the end. He’s hurt himself on the knee and he’s got a bad shoulder as you can see but I think he should be ok. Alright he’s hurt his knee but I think that he should be ok to continue."

Daniele Colli was the first rider to go down in the incident that took out Contador. The team have confirmed a broken arm: "Bad fall for @DanieleColli upon arrival in the peloton. Daniele is alert, has a broken arm and he went to the hospital for inspection," they wrote on twitter.

That's it from us today, thank you for joining us. You can find the full report, pictures and results right here and stick with Cyclingnews for all the lastest on Alberto Contador's condition and all the other reaction from stage 6.

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