Maglia rosa Michael Matthews wins in Montecassino

Mass crash affects stage six of the Giro d'Italia as Cadel Evans grabs a more time over his rivals

Maglia rosa Michael Matthews launched a perfectly-timed sprint to win a crash-marred sixth stage of the Giro d’Italia today.

The 23-year-old Australian best Tim Wellens (Lotto Belisol) and race title hopeful Cadel Evans (BMC) on the uphill finish having stayed clear of two crashes within the final 15km on wet roads.

Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha) appeared to be one of the worst affected in the second mass pile-up and laid still on the road for a time before race ambulances could reach him. Matthews’s teammate Svein Tuft, who wore the pink jersey for a day, was shown soft-pedaling in a torn kit with bad leg abrasions.

Luke Durbridge was one of eight that made the race decisive split near the base of the final climb assisting Matthews for a time before dropping back to a larger chase group that was some 40 seconds adrift within the last 5km.

The front group whittled down to six and Evans’s BMC teammate Steve Morabito drove the pace without assistance before peeling off leaving Evans to lead around the final bend.

Matthews took the inside line some 250m from the finish and sprinted to a convincing victory on a stage he had openly targeted from the outset of the race. It’s a fair victory for the versatile sprinter against older and more experience climbers in what is his Giro debut and career second Grand Tour.

The main break of the day including Marco Bandiera (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela), Andrea Fedi (Neri Sottoli), Edoardo Zardini (Bardiani CSF) and Rodolfo Torres (Colombia) was caught within the final 20km of the 247km race from Sassano to Montecassino.

Giro d’Italia 2014, stage 6: Sassano – Montecassino 247km
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge 6-37-01

2. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol
3. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC
4. Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Neri Sottoli
5. Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Orica-GreenEdge at 13 secs
6. Steve Morabito (Sui) BMC at 23 secs
7. Wilco Kelderman (Fra) Belkin at 49 secs
8. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Neri Sottoli
9. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
10. Fabio Duarte (Col) Colombia

Overall classification after stage six
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge 24-18-14
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 21 secs
3. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Omega Pharma-Quick Step at 1-18
4. Steve Morabito (Sui) BMC at 1-25
5. Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Neri Sottoli
6. Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Orica-GreenEdge at 1-47
7. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 1-51
8. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 1-52
9. Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale at 2-06
10. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 2-08

Cadel Evans leads on stage six of the 2014 Giro d'Italia

Cadel Evans leads on stage six of the 2014 Giro d’Italia