German champion André Greipel finished off the teamwork of Lotto Soudal in the sixth Giro stage! The stage took the riders from Montecatini Terme to Castiglione della Pescaia over a distance of 183 kilometres, an ideal stage for a bunch sprint.
The break of the day consisted of five riders. The sprint teams kept the gap stable, around five minutes. Lotto Soudal was riding very attentively in the front part of the peloton. Sander Armée was the first of the team to lead the chase. With fourteen kilometres to go the escapees were reeled in. Because of the crosswind there was a chance of echelons, but eventually that didn’t happen. When entering the last three kilometres Lotto Soudal took control, Lars Bak took the first position of the bunch. As planned Adam Hansen and Greg Henderson were the last men in front of André Greipel. Hendy did the perfect lead-out and Greipel finished it off. He beat Matteo Pelucchi and Sacha Modolo. This was the third stage win for the Gorilla in his third Giro. Greipel now leads the points classification.
Etixx - Quick-Step rider Tom Boonen finished 18th after launching his sprint from the middle of the road near the front of the peloton. There was a crash a 200 meters to go behind the sprint that took down a number of riders, including Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) in the Maglia Rosa. Rigoberto Uran, the top GC rider for Etixx - Quick-Step, also crashed. He crossed the line in 65th place.
Boonen and Fabio Sabatini took to the front with 10km to go in the midst of crosswinds in the approach to the finale. Boonen was able to keep himself positioned to contest the sprint despite the efforts in the wind before the finale.
"I was behind Contador when suddenly he crashed," Uran said. "I was behind him and to avoid him I also crashed. Fortunately I have no consequences, so I am okay. But as I always say, in a three-week race the danger is always around. We have to keep our eyes open at all times to avoid any bad luck such as today. What was supposed to be a normal stage and yet there was a big crash at the end. So, we will stay focused and we will see what can happen in the next days. Tomorrow is 264 kilometers, so it will be the longest stage of the Giro. It will be important to be there and be supported by my teammates. But they are perfect for this job, and I will try and stay out of trouble tomorrow and day-by-day."
André Greipel: “I’m really happy and relieved after this victory. And of course I’m immensely proud of the team, the guys did such an amazing job today. I’m really thankful. We took our responsibility today. We wanted to show ourselves from start to finish, so the others would know we were there. We didn’t make any mistakes. Sander Armée was the first rider who took control in the chase to keep the escapees close and to reel them in later. Grand Tour debutants Stig Broeckx and Louis Vervaeke also did their part of the job. With Lars Bak, Adam Hansen and Greg Henderson I had three riders in front of me when entering the last three kilometres. It all ran according to plan.”
“The beginning of this Giro is not at all like the other Grand Tours that I have done before, it was really tough the third and fourth day. I now have the points jersey. We’ll see what happens the next stages and how long I’ll keep it. It’s an honour to ride in it tomorrow, but it all depends on how the race develops. But now we have a first victory, we’ll definitely aim for a second one.”