Italian slows up with the line just metres away, Rabobank's Weening keeps overall lead...

Francisco Ventoso of Movistar won Stage 6 of the 2011 Giro d'Italia in the spa town of Fiuggi Terme in the hills east of Rome today, with points classification leader Alessandro Petacchi of Lampre-ISD seeming to run out of steam with the line just metres away. Roberto Ferrari of Androni Giocattoli was third. Raobank's Pieter Weening retains the race leader's maglia rosa.

Today's sprint finish came despite the efforts of a number of riders to break off the front of the main group in the closing kilometres, as well an attempt by Quickstep's Kristof Vandewalle, the lone survivor of the day's breakaway, to go for a solo victory, but he was swept up by the peloton with less than 2km still to ride.

The 26-year-old Belgian had got clear with two other escapees early on in today's 216km stage, his colleagues in the break being Colnago-CSF Inox rider Sacha Modolo and Jussi Veikkanen from Omega Pharma-Lotto.

Two other riders subsequently joined the escape, with Vandewalle, who is making his debut in the Giro, riding away from that pair, RadioShack’s Yaroslav Popovych and Frederik Veuchelen of Vacansoleil, with 10km to go after Modolo and Veikkanen had already been dropped.

Behind him, attack after attack came off the front of the peloton, with the likes of Garmin Cervelo’s David Millar, who lost the maglia rosa yesterday, and BMC’s Mathias Frank among those to have a go as the road headed uphill.

The gradient may not have been anywhere near as steep as those lying in wait in the latter half of this year’s race, but on top of yesterday’s efforts over the strade bianche the relentless upward slope took its toll, with HTC-Highroad's Mark Cavendish one of the big names missing from the finale.

That means that the Manxman will have to wait until Saturday's Stage 8 along the Tyrrenhian coast to have an opportunity to gain revenge on Petacchi after Sunday evening's controversial stage finish in Parma, with Cavendish initially blaming the Italian for riding across his line.

As for the Lampre-ISD rider, he appeared to have today's stage win in his sights as he came out of Ventoso's slipstream with less than 100 metres to go. But whether it was cramp, a mechanical issue or some other problem, Petacchi apparently stopped pedalling for a moment, enough to allow the Spaniard to hold on for the win.

Meanwhile, there has been an update on the condition of the young Rabobank rider Tom Slagter, who fell heavily yesterday as team mate Pieter Weenens headed up the road to take the stage win and maglia rosa.

No-one watching the 21-year-old lying on the ground being treated by doctors as team cars and other riders sped by could have failed to have been reminded of Monday’s scenes following Wouter Weylandt’s crash, although thankfully Slagter was moving and it was soon confirmed that he was conscious and able to talk.

The incident, however, has left him badly injured, with concussion, a broken eye socket and injuries to his face. He was taken to hospital for treatment, and will take no further part in this year’s Giro.

Tomorrow’s Stage 7 sees the first summit finish of the race at Montevergine di Mercogliano near Naples, within sight of Mount Vesuvius.

Giro d’Italia Stage 6 Result 
1  VENTOSO Francisco J.    Movistar            5:15:39
2  PETACCHI Alessandro     Lampre ISD         same time
3  FERRARI Roberto         Androni Giocattoli     "
4  DI LUCA Danilo          Katusha                "
5  APPOLLONIO Davide       Team Sky               “
6  SCARPONI Michele        Lampre ISD             “
7  LE MEVEL Christophe     Garmin-Cervelo         “
8  CIOLEK Gerald           Quickstep              “
9  TIRALONGO Paolo         Astana                 “
10 MARZOLI Ruggero         Acqua & Sapone         “
11 GARZELLI Stefano        Acqua & Sapone         “
        Movistar               “
13 VICIOSO Angel
           Androni Giocattoli     “
14 LASTRAS GARCIA Pablo    Movistar               “
15 MONTAGUTI Matteo        AG2R                   “
16 NIBALI Vincenzo         Liquigas               “
17 MENCHOV Denis           Geox TMC               “
18 ARROYO David            Movistar               “
19 BRAMBILLA Gianluca      Colnago CSF Inox       “
20 SIVTSOV Kanstantsin     HTC Highroad           “

Giro d’Italia General Classification 
1  WEENING Pieter          Rabobank            20:15:12
2  SIVTSOV Kanstantsin     HTC Highroad         at 0:02
3  PINOTTI Marco           HTC Highroad            0:02
4  LE MEVEL Christophe     Garmin Cervelo          0:05
5  LASTRAS GARCIA Pablo    Movistar                0:22
6  NIBALI Vincenzo         Liquigas                0:24
7  SCARPONI Michele        Lampre ISD              0:26
8  KRUIJSWIJK Steven       Rabobank                0:28
9  CONTADOR Alberto        Saxo Bank-SunGard       0:30
10 SERPA Jose              Androni Giocattoli      0:33

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.


cat1commuter [1421 posts] 6 years ago

First Grand Tour stage victory for Campagnolo electronic?

skippy [416 posts] 6 years ago

petacci stopped pedalling !

Anyone could see the look behind and the "down tools" attitude !


Simon_MacMichael [2503 posts] 6 years ago

On the Gazzetta website this evening Petacchi is quoted as saying that he'd decided he wasn't going to go for the sprint, but then coming out of the tunnel a couple of km out he felt better and thought, why not?

Reckons he did everything out but then at the crucial point there was just nothing left in the tank - he hoped Ventoso might be suffering too (explains the look across) but when he saw he wasn't, that was the end of it.

Says he's getting too old for it - there's been talk this could be his final Giro.

antonio [1168 posts] 6 years ago

summat not reet!!

TheBigMong [212 posts] 6 years ago

In the USA broadcast, Universal Sports had Matt Goss in the broadcasting booth for part of today's stage. He commented that sometimes, as a sprinter, you find yourself up in the front at the very end even though you didn't really plan on being there, and it's a bit of an awkward position. You are pretty much just compelled to go for it regardless of how much you have left in the tank.

I think that's what happened with Petacchi, and unfortunately he reached his absolute breaking point just a few cranks from the finish. I don't know whether he thought he had already lost it, or already won it, or whether the pain was so intense he didn't really care which. Talk about thoroughly using up your legs!

I think his teammate Hondo was even a bit confused for a while there, as they must have hastily thrown together the surge to get in position and then another rider or two managed to wedge themselves between the two Lampre boys. It sure was exciting to watch, though, and I was on the edge of my seat all the way up until they posted the results, as it was practically impossible to know who was in the top 20 on the stage with all that commotion over the last couple hundred meters.

Tony Farrelly [2919 posts] 6 years ago

yeah I think he just ran out of gas rather than it being anything more sinister. It would be really interesting though to get more of a rider's eye view of the finishing straight cos I wonder whether with all the stuff painted on the road whether in the heat of battle they don't sometimes get momentarily confused about where the line actually is?