Giro d'Italia 2022 Stage 6 as it happened - Arnaud Demare doubles up after Diego Rosa's long solo break
We’ve had to wait a little while... but could Stage 6 see the hotly-anticipated sprint showdown between Mark Cavendish and Caleb Ewan? Both men were cut from the finale on Wednesday after being distanced by a fierce pace from the peloton on the day’s major climb and arrive on the Italian mainland ready to make up for that disappointment. Stream the Giro d'Italia live and on-demand on discovery+.
'It was a bonus if we could sprint' - Cavendish on Stage 5 disappointment
Demare seemed boxed in by his own teammate Guarnieri there before he found a gap and then swung wide across the road to emerge from Ewan's slipstream to take the win. Cavendish looked solid but perhaps went too early, while Gaviria got in a DSM sandwich and almost came a cropper.
'Three of them to the line!' - Demare takes 'messy' Stage 6 sprint ahead of Ewan and Cavendish
Arnaud Demare wins Stage 6
It was a late bike throw which sealed it as the Frenchman pipped Ewan by the smallest of margins. That was tight - but it's Demare who seems to be celebrating now with his Groupama-FDJ teammates after confirmation of successive wins.
Ewan looked to have broken his duck when he powered past Cavendish, but Demare used his slipstream and came around the Australian before using his superior lunge to take the spoils. Wow - what a finish. Cavendish was third and Biniam Girmay fourth.
Photo finish between Ewan and Demare!
Cavendish kicked out for the line and it looked to be a two-horse race between him and Ewan. But as Cavendish faded and Ewan came forward, Arnaud Demare flicked across from their slipstream and forced a photo finish with an incredibly fast late surge.
Quick-Step are out of position and will have to come from deep... And Gaviria is furious about something! Then Michael Morkov slingshots Cavendish forward and the Manx Missile is powering to the line...
16:54 - Israel-Premier Tech take it up
1.5km to go: Giacomo Nizzolo's team are on the front but Team DSM and Cofidis are readying their troops...
16:51 - Roundabout conundrum
3.5km to go: There's an odd kite-shaped roundabout for which going to the left proved far more beneficial. Lotto Soudal lose positioning by going to the right and it's Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert who take it up on one side, Groupama-FDJ on the other once the two lanes merge.
16:48 - Still no sign of Van der Poel
6km to go: Perhaps the Dutchman is really going to sit this one out... Biniam Girmay, meanwhile, is following Demare's every move, along with Phil Bauhaus, another outsider for today. It's a mixture of sprint trains and teams protecting their GC riders - the usual washing machine dynamic on days like this.
16:44 - Lotto and Quick-Step front the pack
10km to go: The fight has well and truly begun as the peloton negotiates a tight roundabout followed by a bottleneck just inside the final 10km. Lotto and Quick-Step are on the front before the pack splits in two either side of a partition in the middle of the road. When it comes back together, EF Education-EasyPost and Drone Hopper are also in the mix, with Groupama-FDJ readying themselves for Demare.
16:40 - Van der Poel near the back
14km to go: The sprint trains have formed but Mathieu van der Poel seems to be content to keep out of the bustle at the front of the peloton. He missed out on a chance yesterday and you'd think he would be very keen to contest the sprint - but he's either leaving it very late or is not feeling good out there... The Dutchman has his Alpecin-Fenix squad at hand, just at the wrong end of the pack.
16:32 - Almeida with a mechanical
20km to go: Portugal's Joao Almeida is currently off the back after a bike change. He has a couple of UAE teammates with him but they cannot commit too much because they will want a good showing from Fernando Gaviria in the sprint. Almeida was fourth and sixth in his first two Giri for Quick-Step so he will be looking for a podium finish with his new team.
16:25 - Ewan bullish about his chances
25km to go: The slowest estimated time had today's stage finishing now - so they're somewhat behind schedule. Diego Rosa has been caught so we're very much onto the endgame now. Before today's start we spoke to Caleb Ewan, who explained that a small collision with Davide Ballerini's derailleur at the start of yesterday's climb saw him buckle his front wheel and he was forced to wait a long time until he could change bikes. Today offers him a chance to take a sixth career stage win on the Giro.
"Obviously it hasn't gone to plan," Ewan said of his 2022 race. "I'm here to win and I haven't won yet, so today's another chance and I'm going to have to take it because there are a few hard stages after this. These sprints are hard to get right so hopefully my team can deliver me to a good position and I can do a good sprint. I feel good and I feel like I haven't got to properly contest a sprint yet - hopefully today will be the first time I get to open up."
16:18 - Rosa starts to look over his shoulder
30km to go: And so he might, since the peloton is just 20 seconds behind now as the jostling starts ahead of the expected bunch sprint. They are way behind the slowest estimated arrival time but we're sure to be in for a fast finish now that all the pieces are in play.
16:06 - The carrots are cooked for Diego
37km to go: We have to applaud his enterprise - after all, someone needed to do something to spice up this stage, and it's just a shame that no one else had the guts or gumption to join him off the front. But it's practically all over now for the Italian, who has started to soft-pedal a bit as the gap drops below the minute mark. It's been a nice day out for him, mind, and he'll have enjoyed the home crowds plus the stunning coastal views.
15:55 - Tagliani and Kamna provide some drama
45km to go: It's Diego Rosa who takes the three bonus seconds at the second sprint in Guardia Piemontese. Behind, Drone Hopper come to the front for their man Filippo Tagliani, who is riding for the intermediate sprint classification, but they face stiff opposition from the German in blue, Lennard Kamna. He's after the bonus seconds which, should he, say, get in a breakaway tomorrow, may help his cause in swapping blue for pink (he is currently 39 seconds down on Juanpe Lopez on GC).
Tagliani holds on for second place while Kamna, after a huge effort, takes third for that one-second bonus. So he is now 38 seconds down on Lopez in the standings; if he's one second clear of the Spaniard tomorrow and in pink then all that effort will be worth it!
15:50 - Gap almost halved ahead of the sprint
47km to go: The increase in the tempo behind has seen Diego Rosa's advantage come down to just 1:45 ahead of the second intermediate sprint, where there will be 3-2-1 bonus seconds up for grabs. Now how about a video of Mark Cavendish blowing a kiss for his son? Here you go...
‘For my son’ – Cavendish blows kiss down camera
15:37 - Tempo goes up a notch in the pack
56km to go: Rosa has got over the first of these coastal bumps that aren't so dissimilar to the tre capi climbs of Milan-Sanremo. His lead is down to 3:10 after Thomas De Gendt came to the front and seemed to up the pace a touch back with the peloton.
15:25 - Quick-Step and Groupama lend Lotto a hand
64km to go: It hasn't just been Lotto Soudal marshalling Rosa's progression - the Quick-Step and FDJ-Groupama teams of Mark Cavendish and Arnaud Demare have both sent a man onto the front to help with the tempo. It's going to be fascinating to see how Cavendish responds to the disappointment of being dropped yesterday, and how Demare rides now that he's got his first win of the season in the bag and that monkey off his back. Throw in Caleb Ewan's need to get back to winning ways himself, plus the continued knocking on the door from Biniam Girmay, and we should be in for a treat.
Meanwhile, some LOLZ from the Quick-Step social media manager...
15:00 - Rosa pushing four minutes
77km to go: There are a few lumps coming up either side of the second intermediate sprint and ahead of the finish in Scalea. But for now, Diego Rosa continues his touristic exploration of the region's beaches with a gap of 3:45 over the peloton.
Now I know someone who may be thinking Diego Rosa is a shoo-in for the maglia rosa on this showing...
(Just to clear up any doubt: Rosa would need another six minutes if he wants to end up in the pink jersey today because he started today's stage 10:01 adrift of Juanpe Lopez in the general classification.)
14:40 - Who are the favourites today?
90km to go: Arnaud Demare picked up his first win of the season yesterday but he'll be now one of the favourites to double up in Scalea given the return of his confidence and leadout man Jacobo Guarnieri, who never made it back to the peloton yesterday.
Fast finishers Mark Cavendish and Caleb Ewan shoudl be right up there given their disappointment yesterday, while Fernando Gaviria will be extra motivated after being denied by a mechanical issue in Messina. Biniam Girmay found himself boxed in yesterday while Mathieu van der Poel was also denied the chance of competing in the sprint - so we have many riders with a point to prove.
Outsiders include Giacomo Nizzolo, Cees Bol, Magnus Cort, Simone Consonni, Davide Cimolai, Alberto Dainese, Edward Theuns and Phil Bauhaus...
Meanwhile, here's how our solo escapee Diego Rosa prepared for today's stage. Imagine having zero body fat like that...
14:20 - Rosa keeps the sponsors happy
103km to go: The lone leader Diego Rosa passes through the coastal town of Falerna and milks the applause from the crowns lining the beach-side road. His advantage is 3:30 over the Lotto Soudal-led peloton, who will hope to deliver Caleb Ewan to victory today.
And here's a good omen for the Australian sprinter: he has twice won a Giro stage on 12th May before. Will he make it three today? We'll find out in around two and a half hours - perhaps three hours, at this rate.
End of the road for Nibali, the Shark who lost his bite
On the day the Giro d’Italia headed to his hometown of Messina, Vincenzo Nibali made the timely announcement yesterday that this season would be his last. Once the dust had settled, I wrote a quick reaction piece reflecting on the career of a great champion. Given his decline and Astana's current woes, now is clearly the right time for the don of Italian cycling to walk off into the sunset. But can he now bow out of the Giro with a stage win?
Initially it seemed like Mathieu van der Poel chose not to contest the sprint in Stage 5 but that never sat well given Alpecin-Fenix lost their sprinter Jakub Mareczko on the stage to Etna and the team did most of the damage on the climb to distance Cavendish and Ewan.
It turns out that the Dutchman was clipped by Alex Dowsett in the sprint, the British rider pulling off after leading out Israel-Premier Tech teammate Giacomo Nizzolo. Apparently Dowsett's frame caught Van der Poel's front wheel and took the wind out of his sails. After sitting up, the Stage 1 winner was unable to pick up any points and lost the maglia cilcamino accordingly.
13:55 - One of those days when very little happens
115km to go: Instead of following Diego Rosa's every pedal stroke, Eurosport have gone to Orla Chennaoui in the studio who is chatting to former rider Adam Blythe. This is Adam's take on today: "Until about 30, 40, 50km to go - when it will start to kick off with the GC teams coming to the front - they're going to be chatting about cars, tax, where you living at the moment... all that kind of stuff. As a rider there's are the stages we love the most - but as a spectator, arguably not the best."
13:40 - Still four minutes for lone leader Rosa
124km to go: Diego Rosa continues ploughing a lonely furrow off the front of the pack with his advantage of 4:10. Given his attributes as a solid climber, it's a surprise to see him riding solo on what is ostensibly a flat stage. Perhaps he drew the short straw? Or perhaps he's intentionally putting some kilometres in the legs to help his conditioning ahead of some of the more suitable stages later on. It's worth adding that the 31-year-old Italian, for all his early promise, only has three pro wins to his name: Milano-Torino in 2015, Stage 5 of the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco in 2016 and the Settimana Internazionale Coppe e Bartali in 2018.
Rosa's most memorable ride arguably came in the Giro di Lombardia in 2016 when he looked destined to win a three-up sprint against Colombians Esteban Chaves and Rigoberto Uran only to fade and be pipped by Chaves just metres from the line.
13:30 - Today's big highlight so far...
... came courtesy of Magnus Cort right at the beginning of the stage when the moustachioed Dane joked about breaking away.
'He's having a laugh!' - Fake breakaway from Cort takes peloton by surprise at Giro
When it rains, it pours for Jumbo-Visma
It's been a tricky Giro so far for the Dutch team, who not only saw their GC man Tom Dumoulin concede seven minutes on Mount Etna but also witnessed their back-up options - Tobias Foss and Sam Oomen - distanced and finish over two minutes back. And in a sprinting field with may have yielded some joy, the decision for Jumbo-Visma not to bring Olav Kooij to the race has been thrown into sharp relief - only to be intensified yesterday by the Dutcvh youngster's victory in the opening stage of the Tour de Hongrie.
To make matters worse, Oomen was involved in an unfortunate spill after Stage 6 when trying to give an elderly fan his bidon at the end of the stage in Messina - the portly old man's musette getting caught on the Dutch rider's handlebars and bringing him to the ground. We're not quite sure by the man was so irate after causing such an incident...
13:16 - All over for the Drone Hopper trio
141km to go: That brief cameo off the front has come to an end for Tagliani, Sepulveda and Ravanelli, who are back with the Lotto Soudal-led peloton. So, we're back to how it was twenty minutes ago with Diego Rosa the lone leader riding with a gap of four minutes over the pack. The race is back on the west coast of the toe of Italy after that brief trip inland for the climb.
13:10 - Girmay pips Demare in the sprint
147km to go: Rosa passed through the intermediate sprint at Vibo Valentia with around four minutes to play with over that chasing trio. It was Tagliani who added to his intermediate sprint haul with second place: the Italian has previously won five out of five intermediate sprints he has contested. When the peloton comes along, Arnaud Demare looks set to extend his lead in the cilamino standings until he's pipped to the line by Biniam Girmay, who has now cut the Frenchman's lead to 21pts in the standings.
13:04 - Drone Hopper on the attack!
151km to go: And here comes the cavalry... A trio of Drone Hopper riders decide to make their move after the summit of the climb and before the first intermediate sprint. It's Simone Ravanelli, Eduardo Sepulveda and Filippo Tagliani who do the honours - so, it's a well earned day off for Mattia Bais.
12:58 - Gap grows to five minutes
154km to go: Diego Rosa goes over the summit of this climb to pick up the maximum 3pts in the blue king of the mountains competition. The peloton is led over 5:10 later by the German Lennard Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe) who consolidates his lead in the KOM standings. Kamna won on Mount Etna in Stage 4, the day Juanpe Lopez of Trek-Segafredo moved into the pink jersey.
12:43 - Three minutes for Rosa
163km to go: Our lone leader is around halfway up this gentle Cat.4 climb, which plays out over 12km and summits at the Aeroperto Razza. He has quickly established a lead of over three minutes - primarily because the peloton has not reacted to his suicide mission. The reason why he's on the attack may be because the team manager, a certain Alberto Contador, is in the Eolo-Kometa team car today.
12:32 - We have an attack!
169km to go: From out of nowhere we have some action: Italy's Diego Rosa (Eolo-Kometa) zips clear of the pack ahead of the climb on what appears to be either a bid to pick up some KOM points or simply out of sheer boredom. Of course, it could be that he's been ordered to do something by his Italian wildcard team, which is the more likely scenario.
The 33-year-old is 10 minutes down on GC and not any threat to anyone. This isn't his usual terrain so it's very odd to see him out there. Rosa was once a major prospect when at Astana and he joined Team Sky in 2017 but only ever rode one Grand Tour for the British team - the Vuelta in 2017. After two years at Arkea-Samsic, in which he rode the Tour de France once but to very little fanfare, he joined the Italian wildcard team this year.
Once again, it's odd not to see Drone Hopper duo Mattia Bais and Filippo Tagliani on the move today after they were involved in breakaways on all the previous flat stages in this year's race.
‘It’s going to be a slow-burner today’
Sean Kelly doesn't think we'll see much action until the finish today, which is certainly the case right now. We've just seen Mathieu van der Poel riding off the back of the peloton - and it was hard to recognise him in that olive green Alpecin-Fenix jersey, and not the pink and purple jerseys he has been wearing since the opening stage in Hungary. The Dutchman dropped out of the GC picture on Etna and didn't contest the sprint in Messina yesterday, when Demare took over the lead in the maglia ciclamino standings ahead of Biniam Girmay.
12:25 - The stalemate continues...
172km to go: Still no action to report as De Gendt continues to set a gentle tempo on the front ahead of a couple of Quick-Step riders. They're approaching the only categorised climb of the day, which may act as a delayed springboard for the day's break.
While we're waiting for something to happen, let's take a look at the highlights from yesterday's stage when Frenchman Arnaud Demare got back to winning ways after his sprint rivals Cavendish and Ewan were dropped on the early climb.
Stage 5 highlights: Groupama-FDJ masterclass delivers Demare to fine triumph
12:10 - Thomas De Gendt on the front
180km to go: The Belgian veteran usually likes getting involved in breakaways but not on days like this when there are next to no mountains on the menu. Besides, his Lotto Soudal team have a job today: get Caleb Ewan in the best possible position so the Australian can pick up the win that has eluded him since the start back in Budapest.
De Gendt has been riding his own race in this year's Giro - against Belgian namesake Aime De Gendt of Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert. The two riders, who aren't related, are having a competition to see who can finish higher on GC. For a while they were neck-and-neck until Aime dropped back on the stage to Etna. Then the roles reversed yesterday when Thomas was required to drop back and help pace his teammate Ewan after the sprinter had been tailed off on the climb. This resulted in the younger De Gendt move a few minutes clear of the older De Gendt, who in turn dropped a whopping 51 places on GC.
Here's a taste of their friendly rivalry on social media...
12:00 - Dutch duo decide to have some fun after Cort performance
188km to go: Pascal Eenkhoorn (Jumbo-Visma) and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) zip clear of the pack - but it's all just fun and games. It's no real attack and they're just joshing. It's very strange to see such a subdued start to a stage - not even Drone Hopper-Androni Giacattoli are showing any interest in forcing a break, and the Italian wildcard team have sent their two specialists Mattia Bais and Filippo Tagliani into breaks on three of the four road stages to date.
Eenkhoorn and Mollema took their lead from Denmark's Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost) who moments earlier put in a feigned dig off the front...
11:55 - Stage 6 is under way
192km to go: The flag is waved and the stage had started - although there's absolutely no reaction from any of the riders, who seem content to continue trundling through the olive fields and taking things piano, piano...
Riders rolling through the neutral zone ahead of Stage 6
Good morning, cycling fans. The remaining 172 riders in the race are preparing for the flag wave ahead of today's stage, which includes some early lumps and bumps but which should come down to a sprint finish - and an instant chance at retribution from the likes of Mark Cavendish and Caleb Ewan after they were distanced early on during yesterday's stage to Messina.
We're on mainland Italy now for the first time in the 105th edition of the Giro with a 192km schlep from Palmi to Scalea, which features just the one Cat.4 climb.
Groupama-FDJ propel Demare to thrilling victory on Stage 5 as Cavendish dropped
An enthralling fifth stage in Sicily saw favourites Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) and Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) distanced on an early climb before France’s Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) powered to victory in Messina.
Demare, who fought back into contention after being dropped on the same ascent, held off Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) in a tight finish after the Colombian appeared to be hampered by a gearing issue on the home straight.
Italy’s Giacomo Nizzolo (Israel-Premier Tech) took third place ahead of compatriot Davide Ballerini, the only Quick-Step rider who had not dropped back to try and nurse Cavendish, the Stage 3 winner, back into the fold.