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Giro d'Italia 2018: Stage 6


Welcome to our full live coverage of stage 6 of the Giro d'Italia, the first mountain summit finish of this year's race.

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Giro d'Italia 2018 hub page
Giro d'Italia 2018: Race preview
Giro d'Italia 2018: Start list
Podcast: Giro preview
Take two for Mount Etna at the Giro d'Italia - Preview


As a wise man once told me, ‘don’t let the 1997 motion picture Dante’s Peak, staring Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton – the mother out of Terminator 1 & 2 – put you off volcanoes. Because unlike most things involving Brosnan – have you seen Percy Jackson, as another example? – volcanoes don’t have to be complete and utter disaster zones. Welcome to Mount Etna, and stage 6 of the 2018 Giro d’Italia!

What’s a volcano I hear you ask, and how many other Brosnan films did you consider before picking Percy Jackson, because to be honest Dan, you could have gone for Mama Mia, The Thomas Crown Affair, any James Bond film, The Lawnmower Man, Robinson Crusoe, any James Bond film not staring Brosnan simply through sheer association, Grey Owl (no, not heard of that either), or I.T.

Well to answer the latter, watching Percy Jackson made me want to jump into a volcano. And as for the former, a volcano, this is what the boffins at NASA describe as: “An opening on the surface of a planet or moon that allows material warmer than its surroundings to escape from its interior. When this material escapes, it causes an eruption. An eruption can be explosive, sending material high into the sky. Or it can be calmer, with gentle flows of material.”

The roll out takes place in around 25 minutes from now and most of the peloton have signed-on for the stage, which should really be quite decisive in terms of the GC battle.




Although Etna is still active – and last erupted in 2017 – we should have a relatively calm day on that front. The race, however, could be a completely different story. This is the first mountain summit finish of the race, and unlike 12 months ago, when a stiff headwind shut down any real chance to attack, we should see fireworks today. We’re climbing along a different route, there’s lots of changes in gradient, and after five days of racing we already have significant gaps in GC. Rohan Dennis leads from Tom Dumoulin but Chris Froome and Miguel Angel Lopez are almost a minute down in the race for the maglia rosa.

Coming up we’ll have complete live coverage from today’s hugely important stage, we’ll be joined by Matt White (briefly) on the phone, and we’ll be here all day to discuss any more volcano or Brosnan related trivia. If you have any questions regarding either topic you can Tweet me at @Dnlbenson … I’m not an expert in either field but I’ll try my best.


Ahead of the stage start, here's a breakdown of the top-20 on GC. You can find the complete race standings, right here.


1 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 18:29:41
2 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:01
3 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:17
4 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Fix All 0:00:19
5 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:25
6 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:28
7 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
8 José Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-Alpecin 0:00:32
9 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:34
10 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:35
11 Carlos Betancur (Col) Movistar Team
12 Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:37
13 Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:47
14 Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott
15 Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team 0:00:50
16 Georg Preidler (Aut) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:52
17 Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:53
18 Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
19 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:55
20 George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:56


Thera are so many important questions ahead of the stage: 

Can Dennis hang on?

Will Dumoulin race for the lead or will he sit back and allow another rider to take the maglia rosa?

What's going on with Chris Froome and Team Sky for that matter?

Will a real pecking order be established at Mitchelton Scott?


One rider in red hot form is the veteran Italian climber Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida). Here's what he had to say at the start of the stage, a little earlier this morning.


“My Giro has gone well so far, as expected after my good performance at the Tour of the Alps. We’ll see what happens today.

“There’s a long time trial later on that suits my rivals. Today is a chance for climbers like me to do something. Lets hope I have the legs.


When the climb was taken on in 2011 Pozzovivo lost around four minutes to stage winner Alberto Contador - The Italian should be right up there today.


Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb)

“I haven’t see the climb. I’ve only studied it in the road book but last year I didn’t do any Giro recon and it went well because I won.

"So far so good this year. The last two days were pretty difficult, pretty stressful and hard at end but I still feeling good.”


Fabio Aru, who is 57 seconds off the lead, trains on these roads and knows then well. He's another climber who needs to leave a mark today, and try and claw back some of the time he's conceded to Dumoulin in the race for the maglia rosa.


"This is an very important stage, it’s the first mountain finish. It suits me but also riders like Simon Yates and Domenico Pozzovivo, who will try to do the stage. When I feel good I always try something, we’ll see today. My form is growing and it’ll be great to see what happens today."


And as we've said, this is a major test for Rohan Dennis. He's targeting the GC at this race  - and although the biggest concern for him will be the back-to-back mountain stages in the final week, today is just as important in the grand scheme of things. Can he keep his composure and handle the pressure of leading the race when the climbers start to attack on the final ascent?

We're rolling in the stage by the way, the riders are heading out through the short neutralized zone. There are no categorised climbs on the route until we hit the lower slopes of Etna but it's up and down all day. In fact, the 15km before the Etna ascent are uphill too. So much depends on how aggressive the peloton are on the opening stages of the stage today, and then on the lower slopes of the final ascent. The consensus seems to be that teams will be conservative and aim to keep their powder dry... but the biggest factor will be Sky. Will they look to keep the pace high in order to nullify attacks or will they allow another team to dictate the tempo. Froome would prefer a steady yet fast pace, for sure.


Davide Formolo (Bora-Hansgrohe)

“I saw the climb to Etna by car on Monday when we travelled from Israel. It’s a long and hard climb. It actually starts before maps indicate. It’s 25km long in reality.

"There’ll be a serious selection and the last 4.5km are especially hard, we’ll be out of the saddle and on the pedals.

“I don’t know what I can. It’s the first mountain finish, so were all curious to see our real level on the climbs. So far we’ve done efforts of five minutes. The effort needed on Etna will be a lot longer.”


Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) spent time training in Sicily in April and has ridden the climb to Etna.

“This climb is steeper than those used in the past. There will be a slight side/head wind and so it’ll favour the strongest riders. I hope to have the legs to do well.

The GC should change today but I think the big favourites could watch each other on this first mountain finish. But it’ll be hard because several teams want a hard race.”


Barry Ryan spoke to former rider and local Paolo Tiralongo about the climb. 

The real skirmish between the podium contenders – if it emerges on Thursday at all – ought to come in the final five kilometres, when the road swings right into a sustained section at 14%. From 5km to go until 2km to go, the average gradient is 8%, and though the slopes ease slightly after that, the road to the finish at the Astrophysical Observatory is a difficult one.

"With five kilometres to go, you swing right, and that's where the hardest part of the climb begins, the second part of the climb, so to speak," Tiralongo said. "It's still protected, it's still in the wood, so the wind shouldn't have much of an effect, even if it's coming from behind.

"It should be different to last year, definitely. If there's the less wind, there might be more riders who take the risk of attacking because they'll know that it will all be down their legs rather than the wind."


You can read our full stage preview, right here.


Barry Ryan also spoke to Team Sky's Nicolas Portal about Froome's form. The rider has lost time consistently in the opening five stages, and doesn't look to be on his usual level. He of course crashed before the opening time trial but his team also look off the pace. Here's what Portal had to say last night. 


This if of course the fifth time that the volcanic ascent of Mount Etna has featured in the race, adding to the 2017, 2011, 1989 and 1967 editions. Italian Franco Bitossi was the first winner back in the 1960. For our complete retro gallery, click here


Having gone through the neutralized zone we've one attack, with Savio pinging one of his riders up the road. It's not worked though and with 148km to go, we're all back together. 


Weather wise, overcast but the sun is beginning to burn through some of those clouds. The pace is frantic though, and a number of attacks have gone off the front. Right now a group of around 15 have gone clear. The bunch are starting to react, however.


The move of 15 has been reeled in but again it's Savio on the radio, ordering his riders to attack, attack. 


Tony Martin has gone clear with a group. Can't climb? He was second on Ventoux back in 2009...


144km remaining from 169km

It's Martin on the front, dragging a group of five clear but the bunch haven't given up this one just yet.


A few more riders have jumped clear and it looks like the bunch have sat up... but now they spring to life once more and the chase begins again. 143km to go.


Another 15 or so riders move clear and the gap goes out to about 20 seconds. The bunch are coming though, and the gap is reduced to about six seconds.


Tony Martin is relentless. Once again he takes a monster turn on the front but it comes to nothing. The bunch bring Martin, and the rest of the break back into their clutches. 


UAE Emirates lead another raid, with Bahrain Merida also in the mix.


#Giro101 A compact peloton again! @SanderArmee is obviously feeling great today, because he's very active in the ba…

@Lotto_Soudal Thu, 10th May 2018 11:37:06

As soon as the pace drops, another Androni rider goes clear. Their intent is obvious with 133km to go but the sole leader will need some help if he's to have real chance. It's Davide Ballerini.


If @JoeDombro wins today, @Dnlbenson's "Joe versus the Volcano" jokes write themselves...

@ElToroSolo Thu, 10th May 2018 10:49:01

@dnlbenson Do forget ‘Joe vs. the Volcano’ starring Tom Hanks who suffered from ‘Brain Cloud’. I think he had Brain…

@RickRichter Thu, 10th May 2018 11:34:24


Brain Cloud?! I knew it!?

The bunch line out but still there's not sticking for the riders trying to launch attacks off the front. Bardiani roll the dice tis time but the wearing down process isn't finished yet. Where's Thomas De Gendt when you need him?


125km remaining from 169km

Hugh Carthy is in the mix this time around. He looks back, sees that the bunch are hot on his heels and begins to relent. 125km to go. Riders are going to pay for this aggressive start later on. 


The road rises and Dimension Data shoot a rider off the front. This looks good and three more riders spot the danger and make it across. 123km to go. AG2r, Androni, Bardini are present. 


Average speed for the first hour of racing is 46kph. The four-rider group has been caught by a larger group but once again the cooperation isn't great. A rider from the Israel team pings off the front but he's marked by a Bardiani man. 


115km remaining from 169km

A group of nearly 30 riders have gone clear this time. AG2R are active, and driving the pace with Bardiani. Within the blink of an eye we're down to Denz and Tonelli, from those two respective teams. 115km to go. They're caught so we're back with around 30 riders clear on the bunch. Team Sky are present and they're trying to get the break organised. There are too many riders for this to work, however.


111km remaining from 169km

And relax.... the gap has gone out to 1'33. TEam Sky and Sunweb look happy, while BMC sit back. Up front we have Gesink, Hermans, Henao and Chaves. That's massively significant... Sunweb, FDJ, UAE, they are not going to be happy about two potential GC threats up the road. The gap is now up to 1'55. Oomen is in the break too. 


Polanc, Ulissi, are also in the break. And Dombrowski. There are roughly 25 riders in the break. The gap has moved out to 2'40. 


And the gap continues to go out.. it's up to three minutes already. BMC, Sky, Bahrain have put a man each on the front of the bunch.


A large 27-rider breakaway including @PolancJan, @DiegoUlissi, and @ManuMori80 have escaped the peloton. 110km to g…

@TeamUAEAbuDhabi Thu, 10th May 2018 12:13:09

BMC are riding tempo on the front of the bunch but the gap is almost at four minutes. 


Of course, the Giro d’Italia came back to Etna in 2011. That year Alberto Contador, who like Froome was fighting an off-the-bike doping case, blew the race apart with one of his most impressive ever rides. He attacked, on a different approach to the one used today, 6.7km from the finish. The story goes that he even told he rivals when and where he would attack – such was his confidence. When the move finally came the late Michele Scarponi briefly tried to match the Spaniard before slipping through the field.


From there, only José Rujano – who had attacked earlier – put up any resistance. Although the resistance in this case came in the form the pokemon-sized climber sitting in Contador’s slipstream until the very end, when Contador soloed away to take the stage and the maglia rosa.

Nibali, Garzelli, Kreuziger, Arroyo and Sivtsov crawled over the line 50 seconds down. Scrolling down the rest of the results from that day, Pozzovivo lost over four minutes, Team Sky’s then ride, now DS/part-time media officer Dario Cioni lost 11 minutes. Contador went onto win the overall by over six minutes but later lost his title - along with his 2010 Tour one - at CAS. 


BMC have brought the gap down to 2'44 but Chaves and Heano will be counting their lucky stars at the moment. Haig is there for Chaves, and is helping to drive the pace while his team leader sits in the wheels. 101km go.  


Henao has David de la Cruz for company in the break, as Cathy comes through and takes a turn. BMC still riding on the front of the bunch, even though they have a rider up the road. 


Can Chris Froome get his #Giro101 back on track on Mount Etna? Here's how Sky DS Nico Portal sees it…

@Cyclingnewsfeed Thu, 10th May 2018 12:30:27

Here are the riders in the break with 94km to go: 


Haga, Oomen (Sunweb), Tonelli, Ciccone (Bardiani Csf), Cherel, Jauregui and Denz (Ag2r), De La Cruz an Henao (Sky), Frapporti and Gavazzi (Androni), Mori, Polanc and Ulissi (UAE), Zardini (Wilier), Gesink (Lotto Jumbo), Hermans and Plaza (Israel), Reichenbach and Roy (Groupama), Haig and Chaves (Mitchelton), Eg (Trek), Quintana (Movistar).


BMC have apparently called De Marichi back from the break, hence why they are on the front. The team are riding with intent - as if they're trying to really protect Dennis's GC position. Even if the plan doesn't work out, it's still useful experience for the Australian.


#Giro101 @SamOomen is also up there with Chad. 2’42” for the leaders with 87km to go.

@TeamSunweb Thu, 10th May 2018 12:41:56

The Oomen is up the road. Perhaps the only rider who can pull off a look that includes a backwards baseball cap and compression socks and not look appalling. That's not his only talent, mind. He's a super little climber too. 


84km remaining from 169km

84km to go and the gap is now at 2'45 to the break. BMC are really driving the pace. Will Dennis have teammates left when we hit the slopes of the final climb?


The GC leaders are moving up. There's still a long way to go but they want to settle in and make sure that the chase is on track. We can see Froome, and Dumoulin and now Pinot, as the tension begins to rise.


Astana missed the break and they need to turn their GC prospects around today. Lopez, he's nearly two minutes off the maglia rosa and really needs to make inroads into that time deficit, starting today. Otherwise it's back to the drawing board, with the climber set to hunt stage wins.


Well that information on De Marchi was way off. He's on the front of the break and taking a turn... his team are chasing at the front of the peloton. 


74km remaining from 169km

We're ticking through the kms and with 74km to go the gap is at 3'20. Chaves might be nervous at the moment. He's not doing a lot of work but he'll be man chased down when we reach the final climb. Will he be caught in two minds or do Mitchelton have a plan to just work for Yates today?

There are so many passengers in the break and that will surely be their undoing as they head through the feedzone with 71km to go.


#Giro101 @VCampenaerts consulting the race doctor after a crash.

@Lotto_Soudal Thu, 10th May 2018 13:02:56

Take two for Mount Etna at the Giro d'Italia - Preview Tiralongo outlines the lie of the land in Sicily…

@Cyclingnewsfeed Thu, 10th May 2018 13:05:37

Crash and Nathan Brown is down on the ground. It looks like he came down in the feedzone but he's back on his feet and waiting for a new bike. 


60km remaining from 169km

After that fall, Nathan Brown is back with the medical car and receiving treatment. Meanwhile, at the front of the race the gap has stabilised at 3'20 with 60km go to.


BMC Racing lead the peloton through the valley and a little closer to Etna. Ventose and Roelandts share a few words and turns on the front as Ben King stops for a new wheel. After a frantically fast opening phase of the race the action has become more tactical and subdued. 


Here come Astana. We mentioned them before because they missed the break and they're down on their luck in terms of GC. They need to turn their race around and today's an excellent opportunity. 


Last 50km and you can see the break start to knuckle down and a bit more cohesion appear within their ranks. They're reacting to the news that Astana have joined the chase. 


Dennis owes the likes of Ventoso a few beers for the work his team have put in today. They've been immense and shown a lot of faith in the Australian. Can he deliver another day in pink for the team?


Froome is coming back through the team cars, and has a teammate with him. Two teammates in fact. 47km to go. 


The gap to the leaders is down to 2'36, proof that Astana have already had an impact on the gap to the break. 


And don't forget - away from the Giro - you can download our film The Holy Week - from our Vimeo channel. It's there to rent or buy, as the film goes behind the scenes at the Tour of Flanders and Paris Roubaix. Click here for more information


Froome has made it back to the bunch without too much of a chase. 43km to go.

41km to go and the gap is down to 2'07. The leaders had four minutes earlier today, before BMC sprung into live and started to chase. 


Yet more intent from Astana who put a couple more riders on the front. Although the final climb is 15km in length, the approach to that is uphill too, so the riders will be climbing for around an hour or so. Make no mistake, this is a real test for the peloton and the GC riders in particular. 


A shout out for our Tour of California coverage. The race doesn't start until Sunday but you can find maps, news and previews, right here.


35km remaining from 169km

35km to go but the gap is at least holding at just over two minutes. Pinot, Dumoulin, Aru and Froome all have riders up the road, Yates too for that matter. We should have a slight tailwind going up the climb, so expect plenty of attacks. 


Bahrain, who also missed the break in terms of strong climbers, move up and set the pace for their GC card Pozzovivo. He's been superb in the race so far and this today really suits him with a one-climb finish.


A reminder of the GC standings coming into the race:

1 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 18:29:41
2 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:01
3 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:17
4 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Fix All 0:00:19
5 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:25
6 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:28
7 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
8 José Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-Alpecin 0:00:32
9 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:34
10 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:35
11 Carlos Betancur (Col) Movistar Team
12 Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:37
13 Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:47
14 Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott
15 Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team 0:00:50
16 Georg Preidler (Aut) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:52
17 Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:53
18 Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
19 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:55
20 George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:56


BMC have drifted back, and surrounded Dennis, just a little further back in the bunch. We'll start to climb in the next 5km or so, but the official start of the climb comes with 15km to go. 


Sky, Astana, Katusha and Mitchelton are all well-placed near the front of the bunch as we dip into the final 28km of the stage. The break have 2'14.


Dumoulin is ghosting Froome around the main peloton. The defending champion doesn't need to attack today, he can pick and chose the moves that he wants to follow, if his legs hold up to the challenge. The gap is down to 1'54 with 26km to go and w'ell be climbing soon enough.


We're climbing and Haig is taking things up on the early slopes before the final climb. Mitchelton are so well placed at the moment with Chaves up the road, and Yates sitting back in the peloton. 25km to go. 


Astana are back on the front of the main field as they start to climb. Riders are starting to fall back at the tail-end of the bunch as the gradient begins to rise. 


The road flattens but the pace rises once more. We've just over 21km to go and the official climb starts in 6km from here.


David de la Cruz lifts the pace in the break but the gap is down to 1'38. The lead might be snuffed out by the time we reach the climb. 


Visconti crashed earlier in the stage and he's losing ground now. Viviani too. The grupetto is forming as the road continues to climb but there's no let up for the break or the main field.


Jack Haig takes yet another long pull on the front of the break. The gap is at 1'25 with 18km to go. Froome has moved up and is third wheel in the peloton. 


Riders are now starting to slip back from  the break and there's  a crash. Ten Dam and Formolo are among those that tangle. 


17km remaining from 169km

Both riders are back on their bikes but Formolo will need some help to come back. 16.8km to go.


Froome is sitting third wheel still, with Elissonde setting the pace for him. Haig is giving it everything at the front of the break, with the gap holding at 1'25. Chaves is waiting and waiting before making his move....


Formolo has made it back to the bunch but the climb is about to start. Where is the Italian's team? Astana now lift the pace at the front of the bunch, with Froome still tucked in near the head of the action. 15.5km to go, so the climb will officially start shortly. 


Less than 20 riders left in the break, with Haig still setting the pace. And now the climb starts. How much does Haig have in the tank? 


Astana continue on the front of the main bunch, with less than 50 riders in the main field now. There are less than 10 riders in the break as we see Hermans and Gesink near the front. Ullissi is there and De Marchi who has just attacked with 12.9km to go. Hermans goes after him.


Astana continue on the front of the main bunch, with less than 50 riders in the main field now. There are less than 10 riders in the break as we see Hermans and Gesink near the front. Ullissi is there and De Marchi who has just attacked with 12.9km to go. Hermans goes after him.


Hermans and De Marchi link up as Astana lead the chase at 1'18. Froome has Poels leading him but all the other GC contenders are in the mix.


Henao was dropped from the break or is perhaps waiting.... maybe...


And now Henao has attacked and is chasing the two leaders. Chaves goes after him. Gesink is going backwards. 


11.7km to go and we're about to have Henao, Chaves, Hermans and De Marchi. It's Oomen who leads the chase.


Hermans looks back and checks the riders with him. He's so far down on GC, he's just looking for a stage win for his new team. Ulissi going backwards too as we hit nearly 10 per cent. The two lead groups are coming back together as Haig is caught. Lopez has just two men left as we see Hermans go again. Chaves again responds. Gesink is going at his own pace but his chances don't look great for today.


Formolo dropped and Meintjes, he's blown too. Still 10km to go. That's a disaster for the Dimension Data rider who came here looking for another top-10 on GC. That's not going to happen at this rate. Up ahead and Froome only has Elissonde left to help him.


As Sanchez hits the front of the bunch and strings everything out. Catch up: eight riders up the road, Astana lead the bunch and Formolo and Meintjes have been dropped. Gesink has made it back to the leaders and Dennis is in the middle of the GC group.


10km remaining from 169km

10km to go and the gap is down to 50 seconds. The peloton are closing and closing fast. 


Attack from Ciccone accelerates from the break and goes clear with 9.6km to go. Nice move and the Italian has a gap.


At a rough count there are 18 riders in the maglia rosa group. The big losers so far are Formolo and Meintjes, who have both been distanced on the lower slopes of the climb. Meanwhile Ciccone kick on once more. He's putting time into the rest of the early break with 9km to go.


The road now reaches a false flat but it will kick up again shortly, as we see Sanchez rise out of the saddle. Ciccone has 12 seconds on the chase. 


Dennis is more than holding his own. He'll like this fast but steady pace from Astana as Henao kicks off and goes after the lone leader from Bardiani. 13 seconds for Ciccone with 8km to go.


Chaves matches Henao and they're about to catch the Bardiani rider. Oomen is coming back too. 


7km remaining from 169km

De Marchi is caught and he looks for Dennis as the remnants of the break come back together once more. Chaves, Ciccone, Oomen, Henao and Hermans left. 


The five leaders have 53 seconds as the road goes down to 2-3 per cent. It's going to really kick up shortly, however. 


A couple more riders make it back to the break as Henao sets the pace. 6.6km to go.


And Gesink comes back again. Don't write him off just yet...


And Ciccone goes again, this time with a more powerful attack. Henao looks around but then looks to chase. Gesink just about makes it back with 6.3km to go.


Ciccone again opens up a gap but he can't yet kick again so the distance holds at around 20m. Further down the climb and Sanchez continues to set the pace for Lopez, who has Kangert for company as well. 5.8km to go.


Pinot is on his own... as Sanchez reduces the gap to 37 seconds. And the road goes up once more and Ciconne stands on the pedals. He has 18 seconds on the Henao group now. That's impressive but the bunch are closing.


And Chaves attacks and he's onto Ciccone in a flash with 5.2km to go.


And now Chaves leads. He's alone as Henao can't respond.


And Lopez attacks too with 5km to go. Dumoulin leads the chase. Here we go!


Froome and Dennis are in trouble. 


4.9km to go and Dennis is slipping back but he's not cracked, just riding at his own pace.


Chaves though is spinning up this climb and looking relatively fresh. Henao is chasing but he looks laboured in comparison. 


Dennis Froome and Aru still with the GC group as the pace settles back after that Lopez attack. 


4km remaining from 169km

And Dumoulin lifts the pace. Pozzovio on his wheel. Froome is losing group. 4.2km to go.


Gesink is now helping Bennett/Dumoulin and their group. Dennis has been dropped but Froome is still fighting, spinning that gear like he's dropped his chain.


23 seconds for Chaves. 3.7km to go. And it looks likes Yates is struggling at the moment. Froome and Dennis have made it back though.


Bennett/Dumoulin and co catch Henao's group but Dennis is being dropped now. 3.3km to go. 


Yates is okay. I think that was Nieve. 


And Lopez goes again with Bennett and Pozzovivo. Pinot, Dumoulin all there. And now Pozzovivo takes off with Bennett, Pinot, and Yates. That's a big move with 3km to go.


Dennis is holding on, just a few seconds back. as Bennett, Yates, Pinot and Pozzovio push on. Where is Froome? Where is Dumoulin?


Dumoulin is trying to respond. He has a gap on Lopez and then Froome but it's seconds and nothing more. Chaves has 21 seconds with 2.1km to go as Pinot attacks just as Dumoulin comes back.


Bennett looks so good at the moment. Aru is with Froome at the moment starting to come back.


Froome makes it back to Dumoulin, and Aru too as Lopez attacks but no gaps so far.


Now Pozzovivo with 1.6km to go.


No one can really make the difference. Yates really wants to attack. And he goes with 1.5km to go. 


Yates might take the maglia rosa if this sticks. He has a gap and Dumoulin is attacked by Froome. 


Dumoulin is on the ropes as Yates closes on Chaves. It's just 9 seconds. 


Dumoulin is at the back of the GC group. He looks vulnerable but we're over the toughest terrain. And Yates catches Chaves with a few metres to go....


Bonus seconds of course...


Yates leads with Chaves holding on...


Chaves takes the stage. No sprint. 


And Pinot leads the chase.


Pinot takes third and maybe has a bit more time... Froome and Dumoulin creep over the line. Dennis comes over the line and loses over a minute and the pink jersey. 


Yates will move into the maglia rosa after that result but what a day for Mitchelton Scott. Stage, and the race lead on the first mountain stage. They had the legs but their tactics were excellent too. Some teams will need to consider whether it was good idea or not to let Chaves go in the early break.


Same time for all the GC contenders, 26 seconds down. Yates now leads Dumoulin by 16 seconds. Chaves is up to third.


Here's today's top-10:


1 Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott 4:16:10
2 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott
3 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:26
4 George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo
5 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
6 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team
7 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar Team
8 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb
9 Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
10 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky


Our brief report, and results page is right here.


So the last man standing from the 28-rider break takes the win. That's his first win - in Europe since 2016 - and what an occasion to take it. Mitchelton Scott certainly have cards to play with in terms of the GC with both of their climbers in stellar form. 


Some concern for Dumoulin. He started the climb well but then weakened in the final 4km and was briefly distanced. Froome had a few little wobbles too but made it back and even put in a short attack on Dumoulin. The first summit finish creates more questions than it answers in terms of Froome and Dumoulin but this race is wide open.


And here's the GC after today's stage:


General classification after stage 6
1 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 22:46:03
2 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:16
3 Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:26
4 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:43
5 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:45
6 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:53
7 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:01:03
8 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:10
9 George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:01:11
10 Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:12


And don't forget - away from the Giro - you can download our film The Holy Week - from our Vimeo channel. It's there to rent or buy, as the film goes behind the scenes at the Tour of Flanders and Paris Roubaix. Click here for more information.



That's Chaves' fourth Grand Tour stage win. He's now on the podium and will soon be joined by Yates. 


We can hear from Yates in his flash TV interview


Was it the plan?

"No, not at all. The start was a little crazy, and there with a lot of attacks going. I don’t know how, but Esteban was in the front there with a really big group. That meant we could sit back and I didn’t really need to do anything so I could sit in the wheels and save some energy, because of course we had Esteban in the lead. In the end it worked out perfectly."


How did you get away at the end? 

"I felt really good - I’m not really sure - I looked across the road and everybody was looking at each other and there was a little bit of a gap. I took a chance and I got across. It’s worked out really good."

And of course, the question on everyone's lips, how did they decide who would win the stage?


"I said to him as soon as I caught him that he could take the stage because if I had enough time then I would take the jersey. He’d been out on the road all day so I think he deserved it."

We'll have plenty more quotes and photos on the way right here shortly, so stay tuned for all the fall-out from the most exciting stage of this Giro so far. 


Let's hear from Chaves now. That characteristic smile is back on his face, and with good reason. 


"It's unbelievable," says the breaming Colombian. 


"This is the best start for the Giro d'Italia. I knew we had to be up front - we had a very hard stage to Etna. I made the break with Jack [Haig], and I want to say thank you to Jack - he pulled a lot in the breakaway. In the finale I rode with Yates - I was first and he claimed the maglia rosa. How unbelievable is that? I think also I'm in the king of the mountains jersey - it's like a dream. Now we go to the mainland, we're super excited, and we will keep on dreaming."


Here's our report page, where you can find our write-up, results, photos and - later - video highlights. 


Giro d'Italia: Chaves wins on Mount Etna as Yates takes pink 


And here is Yates in pink. He's the fourth British rider to wear the famous maglia rosa, following in the footsteps of Mark Cavendish, Bradley Wiggins, and David Millar. 




@giroditalia: @Mitchelton-Scott is the first team to score a 1-2 in an uphill finish at the Giro since Emanuele Sella and Domenico Pozzovivo recorded the same feat in 2008 for CSF-Navigare at Passo Fedaia. #Giro101

@giroditalia Thu, 10th May 2018 15:48:21


As finish line photos go, this one is pretty memorable, and will no doubt be on the wall at Mitchelton-Scott HQ very soon. 



Here's what Pozzovivo had to say for himself.


"It was a very difficult day. Aru was there with us as well. I thought that many of the other teams played good tactics today and that made it really tough. I'm hoping that I'll be able to maintain this good form throughout the rest of the Giro d'Italia."

Chaves and Yates will grab the headlines and occupy the photo frames, but let's not forget about Haig, perhaps the unsung hero of this stage.


The young Aussie was very active early on and was key in pushing that break with Chaves away, and keeping it away. In particular he put in a huge effort on the approach to Etna. His work didn't go unnoticed, with Chaves keen to thank him in all his post-race interviews. 

"Today was pretty perfect," Haig himself said, speaking to Eurosport. "We managed to get that massive group away at the start, and to have me and Esteban in there was perfect. We cooperated pretty well for a big group, and for Esteban to get the stage win and Simon to get the jersey, it shows how strong the team is and makes me excited for what we can do in this Giro."

If you want all your snap post-race reaction in one place, here you go...


Giro d'Italia: Stage 6 finish line quotes


Thibaut Pinot finished strong today to take third place, so even if he lost ground on Yates and Chaves he still gained four bonus seconds over the rest of his GC rivals. 



Last rider to finish? That'd be Boy Van Poppel. How far was he behind? Just half an hour...


The Dutchman came home on his own, a full five minutes behind the gruppetto, but somehow he makes the time cut and lives to fight another day. Full results here


Chaves on the move



Here's Dumoulin's reaction


"There were a lot of attacks today but only Yates had the legs to really pull on. I decided to spice things up a little bit and see how everyone was doing. I felt like I had something left, not a lot but some, and I wanted to know if I was the only one feeling like that. I wasn’t super today but I was there so it was alright. It was good that with not the best legs I could still hang on. I still have a good position int he GC but today I wasn’t the best. It was a difficult final climb, really long and challenging. It’s difficult to draw conclusions based on today."


That's it for our live coverage today. We'll have full articles on all the main protagonists and storylines on soon, as soon as my colleagues Barry Ryan and Alasdair Fotheringham have come down from Mount Etna. Video highlights on the way, too. 


In the meantime, I'll say thank you for your company today and why not post another shot of this memorable 1-2? See you back here tomorrow for stage 7. Ciao.



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