Matthew Lloyd (Omega Pharma-Lotto) soloed to win stage six of the Giro d’Italia in Marina di Carrara, conquering the first hilly stage of the race from an early break.
Lloyd and Rubens Bertogliati (Androni Giocattoli) launched an early escape and managed to quickly build up a lead over the bunch. By the time the duo reached the Passo del Brattello at the mid-way point, the gap had gone up to five minutes.
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The pair then rode well together, keeping a decent lead from the peloton behind. It wasn’t until 11km from the finish, on the climb up to Bedizzano, that Lloyd left Bertogliati. The move set up his win and earned the Australian the green climbers’ jersey.
Behind, Johann Tschopp (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) and Cayetano Sarmiento (Acqua & Sapone), and Evgeni Petrov (Katusha) gave chase but Lloyd powered on, keeping his distance. On the descent to Marina di Carrara, Lloyd hammered it on the drops.
Dario Cataldo (Quick Step) gave a masterclass in descending skills to join the existing trio of chasers, but they were eventually caught by the bunch.
Bertogliati hung on for second with Danilo Hondo (Lampre) winning the sprint for third.
Lloyd’s result is compensation for the Aussie and his team, who had been hoping for a good overall placing for Lloyd when the race concludes in Verona. Lloyd was one of many riders who lost valuable time in the opening stages in the Netherlands, effectively ending his overall chances.
“The last two [kilometres] today… I did not see anything. I was just looking at the street and the pink cars ahead,” said a jubilant but exhausted Lloyd.
“About 200m to the line, I felt something special inside because the Giro d’Italia for me is something emotional and romantic. It is a race that is harder than all the others, but with Omega Pharma it is easier. It makes it all the more special.”
One casualty of today’s stage was Paolo Tiralongo (Astana), who crashed on the descent of Passo del Brattello and was carried off the road on a stretcher, his race over. The Italian was lying in tenth spot overall at the beginning of the stage.
Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) safely retained the race lead from team-mate Ivan Basso, 13 seconds adrift in second.
“Today was one that should have been calm, but it wasn’t. The course wasn’t simple, the road was tight, always up and down,” Nibali said after the stage.
“However, my team worked well and we kept a good rhythm. We passed a day that wasn’t a very hard one, but it was testing.”
“Nothing goes by chance, we are working perfectly as a team. The longer we go on like this the better. If Ivan takes the pink jersey from me then I will be all the more pleased.”
Britain’s David Millar (Garmin-Transitions) moved up from ninth to seventh overall, 45 seconds behind Nibali. HTC-Columbia pair Matt Goss and Andre Greipel dropped out of the top ten after losing touch on the big climb.
Saturday’s seventh stage is a day of two halves – a relatively flat start after the riders roll out of Carrara followed by a very hilly second part into Montalcino on the unmade roads used in the Strade Bianche. A classics rider’s delight.
Giro d’Italia 2010, stage six:
1. Matthew Lloyd (Aus) Omega Pharma-Lotto in 4-24-20
2. Rubens Bertogliati (Ita) Androni Giocattoli at 1-06
3. Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre-Farnese Vini at 1-15
4. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Colnago-CSF Inox
5. Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Katusha
6. William Bonnet (Fra) Bbox-Bouyges Telecom
7. Sacha Moldo (Ita) Colnago-CSF Inox
8. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Caisse d’Epargne at same time.
Overall classification after stage six
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo
2. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo at 13secs
3. Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Liquigas at 20secs
4. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana at 33secs
5. Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Katusha at 39secs
6. Richie Porte (Aus) Saxo Bank at 45secs
7. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Transitions at 45secs
8. Baden Cooke (Aus) Saxo Bank at 1-03
Bradley Wiggins and Michael Barry
Matthew Lloyd and Rubens Bertogliati on their break
Alexandre Vinokourov keeps an eye on race leader Vincenzo Nibali
Liquigas keep things under control
Matthew Lloyd takes the win
2010 Giro d’Italia coverage in association with Zipvit