Giro d’Italia 2021: Stage 6 as it happened: Gino Mader claims win after day of drama and downpours
A wet and windy Stage 6 of the Giro d'Itaila saw Swiss prodigy Gino Mader hold on for a first professional win. A day after Mikel Landa crashed out, 24-year-old Mader was able to secure a morale-boosting win for Bahrain-Victorious. Hungarian Attila Valter of Groupama–FDJ now leads the General Classification.
'Oh my word, disgraceful!' - Team car knocks over rider in shocking incident
Thanks for joining me with today's live coverage - and be sure to return tomorrow where Tom Owen will return to the hot-seat.
A Hungarian in pink!
Confirmation that Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ) is the new race leader. The 22-year-old, riding his second Giro, is 11 seconds clear of Belgian debutant Evenepoel with Bernal a further five seconds back.
Carthy, Vlasov and Yates all together
Hugh Carthy, Aleksandr Vlasov and Simon Yates finished together and limited their losses, coming home 29 seconds down on the winner today, and in a group with Hungarian youngster Attila Valter who could well be the new pink jersey...
Bernal takes second place
The Colombian underlines his form with second place and some bonus seconds ahead of Dan Martin and Remco Evenepoel. They came over the line 12 seconds down. Giulio Ciccone took fifth and Damiano Caruso sixth.
Victory for Gino Mader!
A day after Mikel Landa crashed out, Bahrain-Victorious have a morale-boosting win through the Swiss prodigy Gino Mader who holds on for a first professional win. He could well also have the blue jersey as well.
Just 35 seconds for Gino Mader as he goes under the kilometre-to-go banner. Will he hold on or will he be caught like he was in Paris-Nice by Primoz Roglic? The other escapees have been caught and passed... Bernal leads chase with Evenepoel, Ciccone and Martin...
2km to go: Hindley distanced, Bernal goes
Last year's runner up, the Australian Jai Hindley, has been distanced. So that may answer Team DSM's leadership question with all eggs into Bardet's basket. Martinez hasn't got a huge gap as Evenepoel comes to the front after Masnada's shift ends. Mader, meanwhile, has two klicks to go.
And now Bernal goes for it! That Martinez attack was just a softener for Ineos for it's his Colombian compatriot who now tests his legs. Evenepoel responds, as does Dan Martin and Ciccone and Bilbao... but Yates doesn't have an answer as they swing around a hairpin and hit a fierce headwind.
3km to go: Martinez attacks!
The first move from the group of favourites comes from Dani Martinez of Ineos Grenadiers. He looked to be planning such a thing and so it doesn't come as a surprise. No reaction for now so he's a good bet for the win today unless Mader can hold on.
3.5km to go: Mader rolls the dice
The young Swiss makes his move on the front to open up a small gap over Mollema and Cataldo, doing so with the pack now within one minute of the front. Can Mader make up for Landa's loss?
4km to go: Puncture for Castroviejo
The Spaniard's shift ends with a rear flat as Salvatore Puccio takes over - but not for long because BikeExchange, Deceuninck and Team DSM all come to the front. Dani Martinez looks to be flexing his muscles and preparing for an attack for Ineos - but he's then edged out by a Deceuninck Quick-Step trio of Masnada, Almeida and Evenepoel, who has Bernal on his wheel. Astana are preparing things for Vlasov, too, it seems.
6km to go: Movistar edge up
The pace is not that high and it's quite a gentle gradient so there probably won't be huge gaps today. Unless someone makes a move between now and the finish. But it's a big ring climb - not an explosive effort - so fairly sedate. George Bennett may even be able to fight back on. The three leaders have 1'35" on this 40-strong pack.
8km to go: Remco Evenepoel still there
The Belgian debutant is still very much in the mix - he has Portuguese teammate Joao Almeida with him as the sit in tight behind the Ineos train. It's currently Jonathan Castroviejo who's setting tempo with Puccio and Martinez sandwiching Bernal behind. Hugh Carthy is there for EF Education-Nippo and has Ruben Guerreiro with him. This streamlined pack is 1'50" down on the three leaders.
10km to go: Bennett dropped
New Zealand's George Bennett is struggling again... he's off the back of the peloton and he'll lose some more time again today. This is Bennett's first outing as Jumbo-Visma leader and it's not going to plan. He lost 1'29" to his rivals last Tuesday and he'll lose much more today...
Mohoric, meanwhile, has been caught by the peloton - just at the same moment that Ganna decides enough is enough and sits up from his titanic effort. He's certainly sunk a few hopes out there today.
12km to go: car collision!
Oh no! Terrible scenes... The driver of the Team BikeExchange car was paying no attention as his soigneur was leading out and handing something over to the race organiser's vehicle - and the driver doesn't see Pieter Serry of Deceuninck Quick-Step and ploughs into the Belgian's back wheel, sending the rider flying. Serry is livid as the driver - could it be DS Matt White? - comes out to help him to his feet, and rightly so. That was unforgivable.
13km to go: the rain has eased
The rain capes have come off with the easing up of the rain for this final climb. Ineos still lead the chase through Ganna. They are 2'30" down on the leading trio of Cataldo, Mader and Mollema, with the pink jersey group now 10 minutes behind. If Mollema wins today he will complete his Grand Tour grand slam - but the Dutch veteran buried himself earlier in the stage to bridge over to the break so it remains to be seen how much that will affect his performance on this climb.
15km to go: Cat.2 San Giacomo
We're onto the final climb now which is a long 15.6km at a gentle 6%. Mohoric is the first to fade after the Slovenian pulls to the side of the road after his huge effort for teammate Mader. Can the Swiss debutant now finish things off and help Bahrain-Victorious bounce back from yesterday's loss of leader Mikel Landa?
16km to go: crash!
Felix Grossschartner hits the deck after skidding out on a tight left-hand corner in the centre of Ascoli Piceno - the Austrian's wheel perhaps sliding on white paint on the road. The Bora rider takes out another body in that fall. Meanwhile, it was Mohoric who won the intermediate sprint ahead of his teammate Mader, Cataldo and Mollema.
17km to go: Ineos Gannadiers
Filippo Ganna continues his man-of-the-match performance on the front of the pack, which has almost brought that chasing sextet to heel ahead of the second intermediate sprint at Ascolo Piscoli. And yes, it's all over for the Bettiol-Badet group - and the EF Education-Nippo rider has a few choice words for Giulio Ciccone after his failure to contribute threw a spanner in the works. The gap now for the four leaders is 2'45" with the De Marchi gruppetto now a huge nine minutes in arrears. A sad end to the Italian's time in pink.
24km to go: chasers catch remnants of break
Bouchard may have been swept up but the Bardet/Bettiol/Ciccone group have now reached Jimmy Janssens, Simone Ravanelli and Simon Guglielmi - the remnants of that initial eight-man move. They trail the four leaders - Mader, Mohoric, Cataldo and Mollema - by 2'10" with the pack a further 40 seconds back.
27km to go: Ineos still press
It's proved to be a really fascinating stage since those climbs and the rain started. Ineos Grenadiers continue to drive a fast tempo on the front of the pack and it's not 100% obvious why. De Marchi is done and dusted but, except Pozzovivo, there are no other "GC" riders in the second part of the peloton which they distanced between the climbs. It could just be a statement of intent; they could be seeing what damage they can do; they could be trying to set things up for a morale-boosting stage win following Sivakov's withdrawal. Whatever their motivation is, it's pretty exciting stuff.
34km to go: Bettiol beef with Ciccone
The two Italians of this chase group are bickering at each other in very Italian fashion. Ciccone has clearly been told not to waste energy, what with Trek teammate Mollema up the road and team leader Nibali behind. But Bettiol, who has eyes on a stage win and the maglia rosa (he is the best placed on GC and the current incumbent, De Marchi, is well off the pace), wants him to contribute more.
Bouchard, meanwhile, has been caught by the pack, who are now 3'05" down on the four leaders. The Frenchman lost his appetite on that descent, which is fair enough - it was pretty brutal.
42km to go: curtains for De Marchi
The De Marchi-Pozzovivo group is now more than two minutes down on the Ineos-led faction of the pack so retention of the pink jersey will be impossible for the Italian. It's utter chaos here on this long and gradual descent to the foot of the final climb at Ascoli Piceno. Ganna and Castroviejo are putting in a shift and a half - as is so often the case.
44km to go: Astana problems?
We've seen two Astana riders on the side of the road grappling with a mechanical issue... perhaps Aleksandr Vlasov has an issue? We only got a glimpse of the drama so we'll have to await confirmation... Meanwhile, the Bettiol/Bardet/Ciccone group have about 30 seconds on the Ineos-led pack but Bettiol is not happy with Ciccone, who is sitting on. Ganna is back on the front for Ineos and there are three Astana riders in the mix too, so perhaps Vlasov is okay after all.
50km to go: Bahrain-Victorious on a mission
It's the two Bahrain riders - Mader and Mohoric - who are leading the stage now on this descent, with Mollema and Cataldo in pursuit. It's otherwordly and desolate in this neck of the Italian woods - especially in these ghastly conditions - and the road surface is pretty terrible. The rain continues to tumble...
Meanwhile, it looks like Giullio Ciccone of Trek-Segafredo has ridden clear of the first peloton with Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-Nippo) and a rider from Team DSM. They have opened up a small gap on the Ineos-led group of favourites. And it's Romain Bardet, the DSM rider - that's a turn up for the books. A very interesting development...
53km to go: Pozzovivo distanced
The pack is now only 2'20" down on the break and we're hearing that Domenico Pozzovivo (Qhubeka-ASSOS) has also been caught out by that surge from Ineos. The Italian is in the second group along with the pink jersey 4'10" down.
57km to go: Mohoric takes KOM points
It's Matej Mohoric who puts in a dig near the summit to take the points (ahead of Cataldo, Madar and Mollema) and open up a gap ahead of the descent, where he will be in his element. And that's why - it's fairly treacherous and Mollema almost comes a cropper on a bend, the Dutchman forced to unclip and stabilise himself to stop a collision with the barriers.
61km to go: Cat.3 Forca di Presta
We're onto that climb now - it's 4.8km at 7.4%. It's the shortest of today's three climbs and this pacing from Ineos is incredible: all seven of the riders have almost ridden clear of the pack as the wind gets up and many, many riders are caught out. This will spell out the death-knell for the break. They only have 2'50" now and the likes of Ganna, Castroviejo, Moscon and Puccio are on a mission!
62km to go: De Marchi caught out
Alessandro De Marchi has been caught out in this huge split caused by the entire Ineos Grenadiers team who are camped out in the rain and driving a ferocious tempo on the front of the main pack. The pink jersey is currently riding alongside Peter Sagan in a second pack around 30 seconds back. Ineos have also reduced the lead of the eight escapees to three minutes. They're approaching the foot of the next climb - although the road is already going up.
65km to go: Ineos cause a split
That pacing from Ganna has forced a big split in the peloton as around 40 riders go clear. It may come back together on a small lump taking the riders up to the famous plains around the town of Castellucio but that just goes to show how dangerous these conditions and this terrain can be when a team takes things up.
These plains are renowned for their lentil production and also their flowers. At the moment it's fairly desolate: wet and wind-swept with patches of snow still lying in the contours of the surrounding mountains. But here is what it looks like in better weather...
And in July these fields are covered in flowers... beautiful.
68km to go: Ineos lead chase on descent
It's Filippo Ganna, the winner of the opening TT in Turin, who is leading the charge on the front of the peloton on this descent. He's the first of three Ineos Grenadiers riders working to keep a lid on things while protecting team leader Egan Bernal. The gap is five minutes.
72km to go: Bouchard takes KOM points
It's the Frenchman Geoffrey Bouchard who takes the 18pts going over the top of the Cat.2 Forca di Gualdo climb and that instantly puts him on the top of the blue jersey standings. The Ag2R-Citroen rider possibly aiming to repeat his polka dot jersey-winning antics at the Vuelta a couple of years ago. Ravanelli is second and Mader third - and we had to watch that sprint from the static camera on the summit because the moto shots appear to be down again.
74km to go: Sagan on the back
Ah, we have TV images again - just in time to see Peter Sagan toiling off the back of the pack. The Slovakian was in the mix earlier to get into the break but the move he helped create didn't stay out long. He finished fourth yesterday and is now picking up a gel and some more water from the Bora-Hansgrohe team car. The gap for the eight leaders is up to 5'05" again.
77km to go: No live TV pictures again
The bad weather must have returned because the host broadcaster has - again - lost TV images. This is proving to be a thorn in the side of this year's Giro - a regular occurrence to say the least. The gap is still around the 4'45" mark for the eight-man break, who are halfway up this first categorised climb of the day.
Qhubeka-ASSOS team car crash yesterday
Landa, Dombrowski, Bidard and Sivakov weren't the only ones involved in crashes near the finish yesterday - the Qhubeka-ASSOS team car also came a dropped when their DS drove into the back of another vehicle which had come to a sudden stop in the race convoy...
And here's the result of that collision...
83km to go: Cat.2 Forca di Gualdo
The break is onto the first climb, which is 10.4km at 7.4%. There are some 10% segments early in the climb which should test their legs. Still just under five minutes to play with over the pack. Here's some onboard footage from yesterday's stage to keep you entertained before things kick off today...
Watch onboard reaction to Ewan's win on Stage 5
Two previous stage winners in the break
Matej Mohoric and Dario Cataldo have both won stages on the Giro before: the Slovakian back in 2018 and the Italian one year later. Simone Ravanelli's best stage result is sixth while Mader, riding his debut Giro, has not yet finished higher than 35th. Although given teammate Landa's withdrawal yesterday and his position in the break, that should soon change. Mollema, incidentally, has never finished higher than third in a Giro stage...
90km to go: the rain has stopped
The road now appears to be dry as the eight leaders continue the false flat to the foot of the first of today's categorised climb. Off come some of the rain jackets with their lead at 4'50". It's the Israel Start-Up Nation teammates of pink jersey De Marchi - Alex Dowsett and Mathias Brandle - who are riding on the front. De Marchi will want to keep the pink jersey but the team's GC man remains Dan Martin - and with Latvia's Krists Neilands having withdrawn earlier in the race, the team don't have many options in the hills. Paddy Bevin, their sprinter, is also there in third wheel.
98km to go: the heavens have opened
Those storm clouds which were gathering overhead have finally decided to deposit their contents over the passing riders, who are getting utterly drenched now. This could play into the hands of the eight leaders because these conditions will be harder for the peloton to grapple with than a smaller group. The gap is 5'10" so Mader is still the virtual pink jersey. The last Swiss to wear the maglia rosa was Alex Zuella in 1998.
104km to go: the connection is made...
Mollema and Bouchard have finally joined the break so we now have eight riders in the lead ahead of peloton, who trail by just over five minutes. The connection was made just after the intermediate sprint at Pieve Torina - but there are currently no TV images because of the latest bungle with the host broadcaster.
We're hearing that Ravanelli won the intermediate sprint ahead of Guglielmi and Mohoric. Hopefully we'll have pictures again soon so we will be able to follow the action more intently once those climbs get going.
112km to go: Mollema won't give up
We're onto the second of two uncategorised climbs that precede the intermediate sprint and still there's no joy for the two chasers. The Trek-Segafredo car draws up alongside Mollema to relay some information - but the Dutch veteran is having nothing of it and shaked his head before getting out of the saddle for a surge. He's clearly hell-bent on joining the six leaders, who now have over five minutes on the pack. The gap is still around the 35-second mark back to Mollema and Bouchard.
Usually in these circumstances the break would let the chasers join - perhaps after forcing them to waste a bit of energy in the chase. But the Bahrain duo of Mader and Mohoric clearly want this stage following Landa's withdrawal yesterday - and they don't fancy letting two riders of that calibre into the fold. But the tactic could backfire if Trek decide to bite back...
118km to go: Mader the virtual race leader
Gino Mader was 3'58" down on Alessandro De Marchi this morning in the standings - but with the advantage of this six-man move now up to 4'30" the Swiss is the virtual pink jersey on the road. Still no joy from the two chasers behind, who are currently 45 seconds off the pace and getting no closer...
122km to go: Mollema and Bouchard still stuck
The chasing duo is still 25 seconds behind the six leaders. They're not giving up but they're also burying themselves and expending a lot of energy for what could be nothing. The peloton meanwhile is now 3'40" back. There have been a few accelerations behind - a reminder that the pack doesn't want this break to get too much time. There was a quick shower earlier but the sun is back out: it's going to be one of those days, with grey storm clouds looming on the horizon.
128km to go: peloton sits up
It looks like Israel Start-Up Nation and the pink jersey of De Marchi are happy to let this move go: they come to the front of the peloton and spread out across the road as the pace slows, allowing the six leaders to extend their lead to two minutes. That chasing duo of Mollema and Bouchard are still 20 seconds back and they have their work cut out making the connection. It's hardly surprising the leaders aren't too happy about their arrival: Mollema has won stages in the Tour before while Bouchard won the polka dot jersey in the Vuelta in 2019.
135km to go: five go clear
Mader's persistence is rewarded: the Swiss is now in a five-man leading move alongside teammate Matej Mohoric, Jimmy Janssens (Alpecin-Fenix), Simon Guglielmi (Groupama-FDJ) and Dario Cataldo (Movistar). The next attempt comes from Italy's Simone Ravanelli (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) who manages to bridge over to make it six. Behind, Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) and Geoffrey Bouchard (Ag2R-Citroen) are trying to join the party. The gaps are small but this could be the day's break eventually forming.
140km to go: Mader tries his luck
Looking to give Bahrain-Victorious a much needed pick up, Swiss debutant Gino Mader is the next to have a go after that Guerreiro move failed. He opens up a little gap but then sits up, realising that he's going nowhere on his own. By the time he is back with the others, the break has been swallowed up by the pack - but it's a pack which is really strung out with Astana driving things through three riders.
144km to go: Guerreiro strikes out
With the peloton keeping a tight lid on this move, Portugal's Ruben Guerreiro tries to force a shake-out in this large break. The EF Education-Nippo rider - who won stage 9 last year as well as the blue jersey - rides clear with Einer Rubio Reyes of Movistar. Rochas, from Cofidis, joins them, with a few others in pursuit. But the gaps are minimal.
Rubio is forced to swerve to his left after coming round a corner and coming face-to-face with an official marking a split in the road either side of a concrete post holding up a bridge. A slightly dicey moment in light of what we saw in yesterday's finale.
Near miss as Rubio Reyes dodges official and bridge column
150km to go: Ganna in the mix
More and more riders have managed to join this front group - including the former pink jersey Filippo Ganna and the Spanish veteran Luis Leon Sanchez. Behind, the peloton has not given up the chase just yet. It's Israel Start-Up Nation who lead the chase in a bid to protect their man Alessandro De Marchi's lead in the pink jersey standings. The dangerman is Alberto Bettiol of EF Education-Nippo who is just 1'37" down on GC.
155km to go: numerous groups off the front
It's a very confusing race situation at the moment after a large group formed going over that short opening climb. The peloton really stretched out on the descent and now there are numerous smaller groups trying to bridge over to the main assortment of riders, which includes Peter Sagan, Alberto Bettiol, Jhonatan Narvaez, Ruben Guerreiro and Bauke Mollema. There's an early intermediate sprint in Pieve Torina before the climbs - that could be what's motivating Sagan, who currently trails the maglia ciclamino Giacomo Nizzolo by 22 points in the sprint standings.
A message from Joe Dombrowski
The American admitted that he was trying to move up in the peloton to ensure he didn't lose time yesterday when he went down heavily with 4km to go. He was in the blue jersey but had his eye on a stint in pink - perhaps after today's stage. It's sad to see him go so soon after he picked up a belated first win on European soil.
160km to go: stage 6 is under way!
After a long neutral zone the 160km stage gets going with a punchy uncategorised climb from the outset - and there's a flurry of moves from the go. Giovanni Carbone (Bardiani-CSF), Remy Rochas (Cofidis) and Gino Mader (Bahrain-Victorious) are among the early animators, with Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto-Soudal) also looking motivated.
No Dombrowsky; Albanese back in blue
Yesterday was the most boring race day of 2021 so far and yet we saw a GC favourite crash out along with the blue jersey and a key teammate to Egan Bernal - all while Giacomo Nizzolo rode to second place for the eleventh time... That's cycling for you.
The crash which ended Mikel Landa's race (the Spaniard has a broken collarbone and multiple fractured ribs) was caused when the previous day's stage winner Joe Dombrowski clipped a race steward while avoiding a piece of road furniture. It was the American's 30th birthday and he finished eight minutes in arrears. Now UAE Team Emirates have decided to pull Dombrowski because of concussion.
Dombrowski was leading the king of the mountains standings after his victory on Tuesday. His withdrawal means the Italian Vincenzo Albanese (EOLO-Kometa) is back in blue today. He has 16 KOM points but there are a maximum 45pts up for grabs today.
The American's DNS today follows yesterday's withdrawal of Pavel Sivakov, the Ineos Grenadiers co-leader, who went down hard in an earlier incident towards the end of yesterday's stage.
We should also mention that the third rider who went down in that incident with Landa and Dombrowski - the Frenchman Francois Bidard (Ag2R-Citroen) - will also not take to the start today. He, too, has a broken collarnone.
Three climbs on the horizon
It's the first mountain finish of the Giro today with two climbs preceding the final rise to San Giacomo above the town of Ascoli Piceno. With a total of 3,627 metres of climbing, here's what's in store for the riders, who are currently riding through the neutral zone ahead of the official start.
Stage 6: Welcome to the mountains
Thursday marks the first real uphill finish of this Giro and it was one which promised to have Mikel Landa playing a crucial role. Alas... the Bahrain-Victorious rider will play no further part in this race. Ditto Joe Dombrowski and Pavel Sivakov.
Opinion: Landa, Sivakov pay price for 'crazy circus' of a route
The 104th edition of the Giro d’Italia will be all the weaker for the loss of Mikel Landa and Pavel Sivakov, victims of two separate and equally nasty falls in a hectic finale to Stage 5 which race leader Alessandro De Marchi later described as a “crazy circus”.
We’ll never know if “Landisimo” was in line to win a belated Grand Tour title, if he was even ready to secure his first stage win since the Giro in 2017. But the 104th edition of La Corsa Rosa will be all the poorer for his absence.
We can only hope that his injuries are not career-threatening and that the 31-year-old will be back later this year for the Tour or Vuelta.
Caleb Ewan powered through the traffic to beat Giacomo Nizzolo in Stage 5 of the Giro d’Italia after a chaotic finish to an otherwise pedestrian stage saw Landa crash out and ended the general classification chances of Pavel Sivakov.
Tim Merlier unclipped at the wrong moment just as it all kicked off... Giacomo Nizzolo launched first and went clear with Elia Viviani but the Australian had a late surge to pip Nizzolo on the line. It was a chaotic finish after a horrific run into Cattolica. Caleb Ewan, the Stage 5 winner... and that's an 11th second place on the Giro for Nizzolo, the European champion.
Watch the Stage 5 highlights, below...
Highlights: Landa crashes out as Ewan wins Stage 5
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