Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of stage six of the 2010 Tirreno-Adriatico. The peloton faces a relatively short 134 kilometre stage, with a scoot from Montecosaro to a finishing circuit in Macerata. The peloton's energy will be sapped by a climb into the finish line, which they will pass three times prior to the finale. Much of the last six kilometres will be uphill, with the Macerata climb maxing out at 18 per cent gradient. Check out the profile here.
Astana's Enrico Gasparotto reigned supreme in Colmurano yesterday. The Italian defeated compatriotStefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone), who sits second overall, ten seconds behind defending champion Michele Scarponi (Androni Giocattoli). Once again there were some epic images taken throughout yesterday's stage, you can view those in our stage six gallery.
Scarponi holds a ten second lead over Garzelli, but Maxim Iglinskiy (Astana) is poised at 15 seconds, and Cadel Evans (BMC) is just three seconds further back. Today's uphill finish could see a GC shake up before the final stage, tomorrow.
Of course, a strong performance from Garzelli tpdau could put him into the blue jersey of race leader, but he's only two points behind Daniele Bennati (Liquigas-Doimo) in the points classification, so that jersey could also become his too.
ISD-Neri have a pretty good hold on the mountains classification. Dmytro Grabovskyy is on 15 points, three ahead of teammate Diego Caccia. Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) is in third in that competition. Pipo's proximity goes to show how few major climbs there are in Tirreno-Adriatico.
Robert Gesink (Rabobank) is the best of the young riders. He's got almost a minutes advantage over Greg Van Avermaet (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and 1:12 over Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Caisse d'Epargne).
Gesink is fifth overall in the general classification, 27 seconds behind Scarponi.
There is one other classification: The teams'. Astana's got a pretty good hold on that one at the moment.
On the road right now we have a 13-man escape group. Marcus Burghardt (BMC Racing Team) and stage two runner-up Paul Martens (Rabobank) are in there. The German duo and their fellow breakaways have a lead of over two minutes as they make their way towards Macerata for the first of the finishing circuits.
While Tirreno-Adriatico will wrap up tomorrow, Paris-Nice came to a conclusion yesterday. Alberto Contador (Astana) managed to hold off his rivals to take his second overall title. There were some fantastic photos taken on a sunny Sunday in southern France.
28km remaining from 134km
This is a powerful lead group Tom Boonen (Quick Step), Assan Bazayev (Astana), Matti Brechel (Saxo Bank), Peter Velits (HTC-Columbia) and Thomas Lovkist (Sky) are all in there too.
Acqua & Sapone and Androni-Giocattoli are driving the bunch as they chase back to the leaders, who have a 2:10 advantage. At the moment, Martens is the leader virtuel, he's 1:30 down on GC at the start of the day.
Löfkvist (Sky) has decided to push away from the lead group on the Santa Maria Del Monte. Bazayev (Astana) has been the one to respond.
The leaders have reformed at the top of the short climb of the Santa Maria. They're descending together now.
Löfkvist is still pushing on the descent. Spilak (Lampre) and Ignatiev (Katusha) are the ones most eager to grab his back wheel.
21km remaining from 134km
Androni are still pulling the peloton towards the 20-to-go sign. Colnago-ISF Inox are also pitching in. The gap now is 1:35.
Boonen's presence in this front group on a bumpy stage is an interesting sign ahead of Milan-San Remo this weekend. A good test for the Poggio and Cipressa, perhaps?
The leaders have come past the finish line. 20km-to-go. Next time they see it, the (metaphorical) chequered flag will be waving.
Martin Maaskant (Garmin-Transitions) launches an attack, but he's countered by Peter Velits (HTC-Columbia), who makes the most of it and opens a sizable gap on the steep pitches up to the finish.
17km remaining from 134km
The gap back to the peloton is still dropping; 1:10 now
Velits is going for broke. Not that he has much of option - no one else has been able to bridge across from the leaders.
The race is streaming off the back of the climb up to Macerata. Androni are doing all the work themselves, Acqua & Sapone have withdrawn to the peloton after their earlier efforts.
Velits has now been joined by five companions. Bazayev, Maaskant, Löfkvist, Ignatiev and Spilak have managed to bridge across.
Androni have grown fed-up at having to do all the work themselves. They're taking the gamble of letting other teams come through to work. Cadel Evans seems to have been given the go-ahead to send his BMC boys to the front.
9km remaining from 134km
Boonen drags the second group back to the leaders. We're back to having a breakaway group of twelve.
It's been a fast day today, despite the climbs. An average speed of over 41km/h for the race thus far.
Lampre now have come to the front. Alessandro Petacchi is leading the peloton.
Ignatiev has gone off the front of the escape group now
Ignatiev is a danger-man, he's pushing hard on the Santa Maria Del Monte and he's established an eight second gap.
Ignatiev is still going away
Pellizotti (Liquigas) is leading the peloton, with a calm-faced race leader, Scarponi sitting in third wheel.
Boonen's back in the bunch.
Ignatiev is on his way downhill now, headed for the final ascent up to Macerata.
Igatieve has 3.5km-to-go. He's almost a minute ahead of the peloton, but his real danger are the smaller group chasing him now.
The chase group has shed some members. Ignatiev checks the gap to the chase of seven.
The chase is fracturing. Peter Velits (HTC-Columbia) is on a flyer! He's responded to Simon Spilak (Lampre)
Blel Kadri (Ag2R) has attacked the peloton.
The peloton is drawing in the breakaways one-by-one. Ignatiev is on the final climb to the finish, he's inside the final kilometre.
Ignatiev is hurting, but he's still in front. The peloton is flying!
0km remaining from 134km
Velits is back in the peloton. The main group is on the same straight as Ignatiev.
Garzelli and Scarponi have attacked from the peloton and are now second and third on the road. Can Ignatiev hold on?
Ignatiev wins the stage! He's followed over by Evans and Garzelli. They'll get time bonuses.
What a thirlling finish, Ignatiev deserved to hold on, but Garzelli and Evans had pulled back to within fifty metres!
Scarponi has held on to the overall, but he's shed eight seconds of his former lead and is now only two seconds ahead of Stefano Garzelli. Evans' effort at the end has lifted him into a podium position (third overall).
Brief stage result:
1 Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Katusha
2 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team
4 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank
5 Benoit Vaugrenard (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux
6 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Androni-Giocatolli
7 Michael Rogers (Aus) HTC-Columbia
8 Matteo Gavazzi (Ita) Colnago-ISF Inox
Brief General Classification
1 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Androni-Giocatolli
2 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone at 0.02
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team at 0.12
Thanks for joining us for Cyclingnews' live coverage of stage six of the 2010 Tirreno-Adriatico. Ciao!
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