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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, May 11, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence. - Anonymous

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Giro d'Italia stage six team reports

We posted the organizer's as well as stage winner Esteban Chaves' Mitchelton-Scott reports with the stage results.

Now former GC leader Rohan Dennis's Team BMC sent me this stage report

10 May, 2018, Etna (ITA): The Etna summit finish on stage 6 of the Giro d'Italia was expected to shake up the General Classification and it didn't disappoint with a battle on the steep ascent which saw Rohan Dennis fight until the end to limit time loss in the finale.

Dennis started the day, his fourth in the Maglia Rosa, with a one second advantage over Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) and 17 seconds on Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT), but with just one minute separating multiple contenders, it was a battle from kilometer 0.

Attack after attack was launched from the peloton but no group was able to go clear until around the 50km mark, during which time the average pace was a blistering 46 kilometers per hour, before 28 riders, including Alessandro De Marchi, went clear.

The large group gained a maximum advantage of 3'30" while behind, Dennis' teammates did a stellar job of controlling the race situation and keeping the group within reach.

With 30km to go, as the road started to rise towards the final climb, Astana Pro Team helped to bring the breakaway's advantage down to two minutes and as the remaining breakaway riders reached the foot of the ascent with 15km to go, they were just one minute ahead of the reduced bunch.

In anticipation of the fireworks to come, De Marchi made a move with 13km to go and was joined by former teammate Ben Hermans (Israel Cycling Academy) before a small regroupment brought him back with 10km remaining.

Dennis' group was closing in on the leaders with 5km to go, at which point Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-SCOTT) attacked from the breakaway to go clear, and behind De Marchi helped to position Dennis going into the final few kilometres.

The steep ascent saw Dennis distanced with 3km to go but the Australian remained calm and continued to claw his way back and try to limit his time loss.

With just over 1km remaining, Yates attacked and bridged to teammate Chaves which allowed the Mitchelton-SCOTT duo to work together until the line with Chaves taking the stage win and Yates inheriting the Maglia Rosa from Dennis. Dennis crossed the line 1'04" behind Chaves to move into sixth place on the General Classification, 53 seconds behind Yates.

Rohan Dennis

Rohan Dennis finishes stage six.

Rohan Dennis:
"It was a bit crazy at the start. There was no control. We tried our best to set a tempo but no one really wanted to respect that. We were all in the front but they all wanted to be in the breakaway today. We decided to sit back and let it work itself out and unfortunately 28 guys went up the road but you win some, you lose some. The guys then did an awesome job to keep it within three minutes and then we got some help from other teams."

"Thinking about the Etna climb, I've still got some work to do obviously but I was actually pretty happy with my climb today.  There were points when I was in trouble but I stayed calm and I actually rode back onto the group where the winners came from at the end of the day. I took confidence from the fact that they can go a little bit deeper than me, in terms of spikes in power, but they can't sustain it. I just need to keep reminding myself of that."

"Nothing changes after today. Obviously, I don't have the pink jersey but that's not an issue for me. I knew that was going to happen eventually. I was hoping not today and that I would get a little bit more confidence from the race but there is still time. I am not that far behind the leaders. What I am thinking is that if I can stay somewhat within reach, I can hopefully still perform well and that the time trial will help me out."

"It was amazing to wear the pink jersey. It was something I was hoping for but you never really expect it. Plus it was a massive bonus that it was the third Grand Tour leader's jersey that I have worn. However, even if it was my first one, it would have been just as special."

Maximilian Sciandri, Sports Director:
"We have seen amazing teamwork every single day. The only thing we knew coming into this stage was that we didn't know what was going to happen but I think Rohan did a great job. This is Etna. It's a brutal climb and I think Rohan is moving forward big time. He has made massive steps in terms of the way he handles pressure, the way he handles the team and handles himself on the climbs especially with pacing."

"If I have to sum up the day, I would say that I am really happy. I think to come up here and keep the jersey would have been a dream, almost too good to be true. We will reassess the race now as we have a massive amount of good stages coming up. I think we're coming off an amazing moment and we have a lot to look forward to."

"The GC is still our big objective right now. Tomorrow is a pan-flat stage and we will use that to regroup. Plus we have Jurgen and Jempy who can sprint and they will play their game tomorrow. Then we have two decently hard stages coming up with uphill finishes both of which suit Rohan's climbing ability more. They are longer and steadier not like the brutal kick ups we saw today."

Chris Froome's Team Sky saw the stage this way:

Team Sky leader Chris Froome weathered a storm of attacks on the steep first-category climb, crossing the line 10th as part of an elite group of general classification contenders.

That result ensured he elevated himself into the top 10 overall, now sitting one minute and 10 seconds back on new race leader Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott). The Brit launched a stinging attack in the closing metres, bridging across to team-mate Esteban Chaves, with the pair crossing the line in tandem 26 seconds ahead of the chasers.

Yates now holds a 16-second lead over Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb), with overnight leader Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) dislodged from the group with 5km to go.

The 169km test got off to a fast start and a strong move of 28 riders eventually forged clear. Covering the attacks were David de la Cruz and Sergio Henao, with the group’s advantage going out to over three and a half minutes.

Henao put in a number of accelerations on Etna in a bid to split up the break, but along with his counterparts he had no answer for the winning move of Chaves. Back in the pack Salvatore Puccio, Kenny Elissonde and Wout Poels, who was hampered by an early crash on the stage, helped shepherd Froome onto the climb, with Elissonde riding well as last man before attacks blew the group apart.

After playing a strong role on the final climb, Elissonde told Eurosport: “The day was really hard and the Sicily block has been tough. For the team it’s great that (Froome) is riding well. When I was in his wheel, at 6 or 7 km to go, he was still looking good. It bodes well. It's the first really positive day of the Giro for us."
Froome was pleased to have navigated a tough early test and was encouraged by his form as the race develops, he told "It was a tough day and a big test for all the GC guys to see where everyone was at.

Chris Froome

Chris Froome finishes just behind Fabio Aru

"I think personally I am happy to have made it through the stage without any major issues and to have been up there with the main GC guys bar Chaves and Yates - who rode an amazing race today.

“They’ve certainly taken the race on, so chapeau to them, they’ve been riding really well the past few days.

 “I feel as if I’m getting better and better each day after Israel now, with the bigger picture in mind of getting to the third week as strong as possible and obviously this is the first main objective of the season for me and things are still on track.

“There’s still a lot of work ahead of us, but there’s still a lot of racing to come.”

Here's Team Movistar's stage six report:

Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz (Movistar Team) took on Thursday’s stage six of the 2018 Giro d’Italia another step forward in his brilliant, short European career. The rider from Tulcán in the Carchí province was able to keep the pace from the main GC contenders at the Etna, first mountain-top finish of the race, to claim 7th place in the stage and wear the Maglia Bianca as best under-26 rider in the race -he’ll turn 25 next 29th May-.

The performance by ‘Richie’ crowned a fine ride from the Blues in a stage dominated by Mitchelton-Scott -with Esteban Chaves and new race leader Simon Yates grabbing a one-two result for the Aussie squad-, where the Spanish outfit tried to shine in all fronts. Dayer Quintana made part of the big breakaway (28 riders) serving Chaves as launchpad for his success, while Rafa Valls, Carlos Betancur and Carapaz himself tried to cope with the steady pace by the GC contenders over the Etna climp, spiced up by attacks forming into the last 5km.

The attacks by López (AST), Pozzovivo (TBM) or Bennett (TLJ) did not break the legs of Carapaz, who even dared to follow a move by Tom Dumoulin (SUN) and later kept the rhythm of the Giro’s best contenders before Yates’ strong final acceleration. Carapaz finished 26″ off the Mitchelton duo to now sit in 12th overall (+1’23”), as Betancur remains in 11th and Valls sits in 21st.

The Giro will witness a stage for sprinters on Friday’s return to the Italian Peninsula -159km to Praia Mare-, before taking on two mountain-top finish in the Apenninnes in the weekend, atop Montevergine (Saturday) and Gran Sasso (Sunday). That will be the first place to Carapaz to defend his coveted white jersey.

REACTION / Richard Carapaz:
“More than anything, I’m really, really happy with this result. It’s been a surprise also to me. It was a beautiful finish, to be able to keep up with the race contenders and putting on this jersey – it’s such a great day for me. I came in good form to this Giro, I wanted to have a good taste of this race and enjoy it, and getting to this position after just six days is fantastic. My team-mates’ work during the stage was also excellent, always near the front with Rafa and Carlos before the final attacks. Let’s enjoy this moment for a bit before the big mountains still to come. There’s lots of tough moments to come in this Giro, but I’m confident we can fight to do well. We must remain day-by-dy at this point because it’s a very long race, and the final week will be really tough.”

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