There were scary conditions for the riders on Stage 6 of the Giro d'Italia as strong crosswinds caused havoc on the tricky climbs of the route.
The 104th edition of the Giro lost both Mikel Landa and Pavel Sivakov on Wednesday's Stage 5, victims of two separate and equally nasty falls in a hectic finale which race leader Alessandro De Marchi later described as a “crazy circus”.
Thursday marked the first real uphill finish of the race and it was one which had promised to have Landa playing an important role. But with the Bahrain-Victorious rider, along with Sivakov, unable to participate further after his crash, there was naturally some trepidation about the safety of the riders.
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The conditions made it abundantly clear that the route would be precarious for riders again as a heavy downpour drenched all involved midway through the day's racing.
After Wednesday's unfortunate drama, everyone simply wanted a safe Stage 6 on the 177km route from Modena to Cattolica, but the soaked riders had to negotiate tough climbs in brutal weather.
"The wind is blowing here - it's like a team time-trial!" exclaimed Rob Hatch, on commentary for Eurosport.
This is dangerous! Not just for the pink jersey but look at all those having to chase. It's all kicking off!
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"Look at it now: they are twisting and turning! This is horrible weather. It's coming from one side and the riders are sheltering. They are going to lose more time here.
"Just look at this weather. There are strong crosswinds on the climb."
'They are all over the road' - Wild conditions hit Giro
Dan Lloyd added: "Look at Hugh Carthy having to get across. The wind is wreaking havoc!
"I didn't expect this today. We thought it would be all about the climbing. We've said the wind has been blowing, particularly at the finish line, but I have to admit I did not know how exposed this part of the race would be.
"They are all over the road, at a point you would not expect it. They are pushing very hard, and that is happening all over the peloton. This is really tough."
Sean Kelly added: "You can see that the road is absolutely waterlogged. In these conditions you have to just hang in there but this can really cause problems."
The first mountain finish of the Giro on Thursday brought two climbs preceding the final rise to San Giacomo, above the town of Ascoli Piceno, with a total of 3,627 metres of climbing.
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