Giro stage 6: Classy Cavendish remembers Wouter

Stage 6: Mola di Bari to Margherita di Savoia, 154km

Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) took his second win, finishing well ahead of runner-up Elia Viviani (Cannondale) – once more a bridesmaid – and Matthew Goss (Orica-GreenEDGE).

Who's a happy bunny? (image: OPQS)

Who’s a happy bunny? (image: OPQS)

Imagine you get a kit car. There’s all these bits that fit together. I’m just the exhaust, I’m just the last thing, the thing that makes the most noise.
Cavendish explaining his role in the team

The Manx Missile’s train worked like clockwork. He was dropped off by Gert Steegmans with 100 metres to go on this tailor-made sprint stage, and never looked in any danger of being overtaken. Victory also put Cavendish back into the red points’ jersey.

In a nice touch, Cavendish dedicated his win to Wouter Weylandt, who died two years ago today on the third stage of the Giro.

Luca Paolini (Katusha) retained the overall leader’s maglia rosa.

VeloVoices rider of the day

He wasn’t even racing today but he was in everyone’s thoughts and stage winner Cavendish dedicated his victory to him. Wouter Weylandt, gone but not forgotten, tragically died in a fall two years ago today.

Fittingly there were numerous tributes to him as he was remembered at the start of the stage, en route and on social media with his own hashtag #WW108 bearing the race number he was wearing when he died and which has been permanently retired from the Giro. It’s not only important for his family and friends that his memory is honoured, it’s also important for cyclists everywhere. It reminds us starkly that cycling is a dangerous sport.

Opinion & analysis

As anticipated, Luca Paolini (Katusha) retained the maglia rosa and, while there was no change in the overall classification, Sky’s Bradley Wiggins had another race scare when he and much of the peloton were held up after he was coming back into the bunch from a mechanical. As the road narrowed going into the final two loops of the finish town there was a multiple slow-motion pile up which seemed to take an age to unwind. When he finally got going again Wiggins found himself over a minute back.

Luckily good manners prevailed, the 40 or so riders up the road slowed down and the groups came back together ahead of the inevitable bunch sprint finish. That front group contained defending champion Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) and former Tour winner Cadel Evans (BMC), both of whom are demonstrating an enviable knack of being in the right place at the right time.

Giovanni Visconti (Movistar), who was in the wars again today, retained the mountains classification jersey while Fabio Aru (Astana) remains the best young rider.

Although he is back in the points jersey, Cavendish said after the stage that he doesn’t think it will be possible to hold it all the way to the finish in Brescia as there are so few real sprint stages. In last year’s race, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) took the jersey by a single point on the penultimate day. Cavendish, who’s already won the points classification at both the Tour de France and the Vuelta, is still waiting to become the fifth man to claim a full set from all three grand tours.

Laurent Pichon (FDJ) wins today’s brave soldier award. His bandages on his arms are so large it looked as if he was wearing arm warmers. The team have already lost Sandy Casar to a broken wrist so we’ll be hoping nothing else befalls Marc Madiot‘s boys.

Stage 6 result

1. Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) 3:56:03

2. Elia Viviani (Cannondale) same time

3. Matthew Goss (Orica-GreenEDGE) s/t

4. Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) s/t

5.  Mattia Gavazzi (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela) s/t

General classification

1. Luca Paolini (Katusha) 23:52:42

2. Rigoberto Uran (Sky) +0:17

3. Benat Intxausti (Movistar) +0:26

4. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) +0:31

5. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) +0:34

6. Bradley Wiggins (Sky) same time

7. Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha) +0:36

8. Sergio Henao (Sky) +0:37

9. Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) +0:39

10. Cadel Evans (BMC) +0:42

Link: Official website

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