Australian Matthew Lloyd (Omega Pharma-Lotto) scored the Giro d’Italia’s second consecutive breakaway win on Friday, winning stage 6 after dropping his breakaway companion on the final climb and soloing more than 10km to the finish.
Lloyd takes Australia’s first Tour of Italy win since Simon Gerrans won in a similar breakaway last year. The former Aussie national champion dropped breakaway companion Rubens Bertogliati (Androni) to hold off the main pack for this biggest win of his career.
“It’s easier for me on the climbs, but against Basso and Vinokourov, that’s much harder. Today, it was just one rider, Ruben. I saw him getting tired,” Lloyd said. “He’s strong, but as the kilometers ticked by, I took my chance and ‘basta.’”
The peloton came in a bit more than a minute later. Overnight leader Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas Doimo) finished in the pack to retain the maglia rosa another day.
“It was a fairly tranquil day. The team did great work to control the stage and it’s not costing me much energy to keep the jersey right now,” said Nibali. “Who knows what will happen tomorrow. The country across Tuscany suits me, but I imagine we’ll ride to defend the jersey and see what happens Sunday at Terminillo.”
The day’s break
The pace was high at the start and it took nearly 50km before a significant break could form off the front.
The breakmates were equally matched in their lack of threat to the overall leader:
- Rubens Bertogliati (Androni Giocattoli-Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni), 102nd at 11:13
- Lloyd, 105th at 11:23
Nibali’s Liquigas team led the chase, allowing the pair to build a lead of over six minutes midway through the race. The pair, perhaps inspired by the success of the stage 5 breakaway, worked steadily up and over the categorized summits in this first really hilly stage of the 2010 Giro.
Perhaps looking for an easy day before the weekend’s tough stages — and the Giro d’Italia’s mountainous final week — the peloton was content to leave the work to the green Liquigas squad, with its pink-clad race leader safely tucked in.
But there’s never a dull day in the Giro. Just as the pack was ramping up the speed on the day’s second climb, 2008 Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre (Cervélo) punctured.
Quick thinking by teammate Daniel Lloyd meant that Sastre had a fast wheel change and four teammates waited to tow him back to the front group before the pack topped over the climb.
“There was never a moment to relax, because it started to rain and the roads were fairly dangerous, and every time there’s a crash, 15-20 riders go down,” Sastre said. “I feel lucky because I didn’t crash today and I didn’t have any problems other than the flat. But my teammates were there and we could regain contact with the main pack without difficulty and pass another day without losing options in this Giro.”
With less than 40km to go, a group of five attacked the bunch and began a long bridge to the leading pair, who were more than four minutes ahead.
These five posed little threat to Nibali’s lead:
- Serguei Klimov (Team Katusha) 65th at 9:29
- Evgeni Petrov (Team Katusha) 80th at 10:05
- Johann Tschopp (BBox Bouygues Telecom) 113th at 11:37
- Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo) 148th at 13:42
- Matteo Bono (Lampre-Farnese Vini) 184th at 20:44
Petrov, in particular, seemed determined to close the gap, and, while Klimov and Bono found this more work than expected and dropped back, Petrov, Tschopp and Tunarrosa ate up ground, closing to within two minutes of the lead pair with about 20km to go.
Back in the peloton, local resident Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre) moved off the front a few k’s before the day’s final obstacle, the 3.15km Cat. 3 Bedizzano climb. The 5.7 percent climb topped out just 10km from the finish.
Up front, Lloyd attacked Bertogliati on the Bedizzano, getting a gap and also grabbing the summit points that put the 2008 Australian road champion into the climber’s jersey.
Lloyd slid over the Bedizzano summit with a 20-second gap on a hard-chasing Bertogliati and 1:20 on the Petrov chase group, which had a new guest: Quick Step’s Dario Cataldo, who bridged on the climb.
Lloyd took few risks on the top of the descent, but threw it into TT mode as the road flattened out, digging out a 32-second gap over Bertogliati with 5km to go.
From there the gap only increased as Lloyd poured on the power in the drops, heading for the biggest victory of his career.
“That’s the beauty of the Giro. Even if you are 1.5 hours down in the first week, you can still be in the top-5 within three days because it’s complete chaos and distraction,” said Lloyd. “Even though I did not anticipate complete destruction, I knew it would be a good opportunity for a breakaway. The GC is not for me this year. Winning a stage can mean more than coming second after three weeks of racing.”
Bertogliati came across second and Danilo Hondo took third from the pack — which had sucked up the Petrov group in the final kilometers – and he shot his arms up as he crossed the line, perhaps thinking that all the attacking riders were reeled in.
Saturday’s stage 7 is 222km from Carrara to Montalcino in Tuscany. The stage marks the 10th anniversary of Italian legend Gino Bartali’s death with a course that visits many of the places where he trained and raced from his home in Florence.
After a first couple of hours racing down the Tyrrhenian coast, the peloton will head inland through Pisa and climb to Volterra before a hilly finale that takes in two 10km-long stretches of strade bianche, the dusty white roads made famous by the Montepaschi Eroica race. The second of these sectors is almost entirely uphill and ends only 8km from the finish. (Related: 2010 Giro d’Italia stages)
- Astana’s Paolo Tiralongo, who was 10th on the GC, crashed midway through the stage and left the race in an ambulance. He became the third rider to abandon this Giro, following Martin Kohler (BMC) and Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Transitions).
- Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions) shot out to take points at an intermediate sprint to claim the red points jersey. Farrar started the day tied with yesterday’s stage-winner Jerome Pineau (Quick Step) and knew he had a good shot at taking it outright. With the hilly finish meaning there was no guarantee of a bunch sprint, Farrar now leads with 43 points to Graeme Brown’s (Rabobank) 40 points and Pineau’s 39.
- 1. Matthew Lloyd (AUS) Omega Pharma-Lotto, 172km in 4:24:20 (39.268kph)
- 2. Rubens Bertogliati (SUI) Androni Giocattoli-Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni at 1:06
- 3. Danilo Hondo (GER) Lampre-Farnese Vini at 1:15
- 4. Manuel Belletti (ITA) at 1:15
- 5. Filippo Pozzato (ITA) Team Katusha at 1:15
- 6. William Bonnet (FRA) BBox Bouygues Telecom at 1:15
- 7. Sacha Modolo (ITA) at 1:15
- 8. Vasil Kiryienka (BLR) Caisse D’Epargne at 1:15
- 9. Alexander Efimkin (RUS) Ag2r La Mondiale at 1:15
- 10. Baden Cooke (AUS) Team Saxo Bank at 1:15
- 1. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) Liquigas Doimo, 18:55:38
- 2. Ivan Basso (ITA) Liquigas Doimo at 0:13
- 3. Valerio Agnoli (ITA) Liquigas Doimo at 0:20
- 4. Alexandre Vinokourov (KAZ) Astana at 0:33
- 5. Vladimir Karpets (RUS) Team Katusha at 0:39
- 6. Richie Porte (AUS) Team Saxo Bank at 0:45
- 7. David Millar (GBR) Garmin-Transitions at 0:45
- 8. Baden Cooke (AUS) Team Saxo Bank at 1:03
- 9. Linus Gerdemann (GER) Milram at 1:04
- 10. Laurent Didier (LUX) Team Saxo Bank at 1:13