Thursday, May 23, 2024

Giro d’Italia | Pelayo Sánchez beats Julian Alaphilippe in crazy Strade Bianche ride, Tadej Pogacar remains leader

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After three sprinter stages, in which in the last of three options the teams of the fast gentlemen were completely thwarted by a leading group and the Frenchman Benjamin Thomas – who in the past had a subscription to being caught before or during the sprint – achieved the biggest victory of his road career booked, it was time for the classic types again.

There were 180 treacherous kilometers between Torre del Lago Puccini – a village just outside the seaside resort of Viareggio that is best known for the legendary Italian composer Giacomo Puccini – and Rapolano Terme. Up and down, twisting and turning and to top it all off, a few more settore sterratior unpaved strips.

Crazy run-up

A stage with possibilities, both for classification riders and for the attacking crew in this Giro peloton. That made for a rock-hard course in the first hour and a half on the way to the first climb towards Volterra.

The attacks were numerous, but no one broke away from the peloton on the flat roads. Then on to the climb, many thought. After several attempts, Soudal Quick-Step’s Julian Alaphilippe broke free and was joined by a total of six riders: Filippo Fiorelli (VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè), Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Luke Plapp (Team Jayco AlUla), Pelayo Sánchez (Movistar Team), Matteo Trentin (Tudor Pro Cycling) and Andrea Vendrame (Décathlon AG2R La Mondiale).

A hugely strong leading group within this peloton. Plapp was the best placed in the provisional rankings, two and a half minutes behind. UAE Team Emirates gave up and the gap quickly grew to more than three minutes, although the first two unpaved sections (including the steep climb towards Grotti) came quickly and the nervousness in the large group increased .

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Giro d’Italia | Patrick Lefevere gives water bottle to Alaphilippe

Quickly collecting dust

Two and a half minutes behind the seven leaders, INEOS Grenadiers started collecting dust at the head of the peloton. The British formation immediately reduced the deficit, after which Plapp attacked in the leading group on the second strip. The Australian had his sights set on winning a stage and did not want any squabbles.

Alaphilippe and Sánchez made the crossing. At INEOS, Thymen Arensman made a good impression in his role as Geraint Thomas. Uphill things came to a standstill in the group of favorites due to the limited space on the gravel strips, with Daniel Felipe Martínez, Ben O’Connor and Cian Uijtdebroeks on foot.

The leading trio crossed the top with just under a minute and a half difference over the group of classification riders, after which there were still forty kilometers to ride. Because the UAE peloton was pushing the pace, Mikkel Frølich Honoré thought he would close the gap on his own.

Straight on at the roundabout

Because the Emirates team had no desire to fight for a stage win, Plapp was virtually back in the pink in no time – albeit with a minimal difference. Honoré automatically came back towards the peloton.

Shortly before turning onto the last unpaved stretch, there was a major crash in the peloton, involving Damiano Caruso, among others. However, INEOS still pushed ahead, because nerves took over. As a result, the gap with the three escapees shrank visibly.

A steep climb towards Serre di Rapolano, four kilometers from the finish, still had to follow. In the run-up to that pimple, Sánchez almost went off the bend on a roundabout entering Asciano, after which Plapp continued and Alaphilippe ran off the wheel and the Spaniard then closed the gap again.

Fight on two fronts

Loulou seemed empty and barely took over. The peloton, led by Thomas’s men (and Jhonatan Narváez), remained within a minute, although it also went much faster towards the Tuscan calf-biter.

Plapp was the first to accelerate at the front, but Sánchez quickly took over. Alaphilippe continued on the steepest sections, although the trio stayed together. Romain Bardet attacked at the back, but they seemed to arrive too late for the win.

Was it a three-way sprint in Rapolano Terme? That was it, because Plapp continued full speed with the other two in the wheel and therefore had no chance for the final shot. The finish line was still secretly uphill and Alaphilippe was the first, but it was Sánchez who achieved a wonderful victory.

Result Giro d’Italia, stage 6 | Torre del Lago Puccini – Rapolano Terme (180 km)

1. Pelayo Sánchez – 4:01:08
2. Julian Alaphilippe – st.
3. Luke Plapp – +0.01
4. Andrea Piccolo – + 0.24
5. Jhonatan Narváez – + 0.29

General classification Giro d’Italia after stage 6

1. Tadej Pogacar –
2. Geraint Thomas – +
3. Daniel Felipe Martínez – +
4. Cian Uijtdebroeks – +
5. Einer Rubio – +

Where are you looking?

We are on our way for the first big tour of the year. You can follow the 107th Giro d’Italia live from kilometer one in Venaria Reale to the final kilometer in Rome via Eurosport and discovery+! Don’t miss any of it La Corsa Rosa and see if Tadej Pogacar can win his first Giro. Also follow our channel on WhatsApp.

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