A nasty crash marred the final kilometre of stage six of the Giro d’Italia, won by Lotto-Soudal’s Andre Greipel in a bunch sprint.
There wasn’t much to talk about in the first 182km but luckily the last one provided a couple of things to discuss.
1. That Nippo-Vini Fantini rider’s arm…
That was pretty horrific, wasn’t it? It’s never nice to see such high speed crashes but it’s even worse to see such terrible injuries to riders.
Fingers crossed Daniele Colli can make a full recovery and get back to riding his bike soon.
2. Contador may also be crocked
There was some concern on the podium as Alberto Contador showed he may have come off slightly badly in the finish-straight crash.
The Spaniard went down but managed to get back on his bike and roll over the line. His problems were clear, however, on the podium as he couldn’t move his left arm and thus couldn’t put on the pink jersey.
Let’s hope that wasn’t a metaphor for him being unable to continue, it would be a huge loss to the race if this crash were to end his ability to compete.
3. It all came down to the final kilometre
After a couple of challenging days in the hills and mountains I think every rider was enjoying the slightly more leisurely flat stage.
The problem is that for the fans these stages are quite dull. No attacking riding, the leaders tucked away in their teams saving energy and the fact that nothing decent happens until the final 10km.
When we get exciting stages such as those in the last few days we can all put up with these ‘down days’ I guess.
4. Greipel benefitted from an excellent leadout
Andre Greipel kept himself out of trouble all day – resting his legs like everyone else and taking on board enough nutrients to get himself through.
Then, like the consumate professional, he sprung into action when he was needed in the final 10km, thanks in part to an excellent leadout.
With a long, straight final kilometre, some said only having Greg Henderson left in his leadout would be of some concern. But Henderson is a powerhouse, bringing the big German into the final 500m and from there Greipel did the rest.
5. Sacha Modolo couldn’t keep up with Greipel
Greipel led the sprint from start to finish and no-one really made any ground on him. The biggest surprise was that Lampre-Merida‘s Sacha Modolo was half a bike length off Greipel’s wheel with about 200m to go but didn’t make any inroads.
IAM Cycling’s Matteo Pelucchi sped through for second but Greipel already had his hands in the air by that time.
Greipel confirmed his status as the fastest pure sprinter in the race, it’s just a shame there’s so few stages for the pure sprinters over the three weeks.
6. A good day for the Italians
Eight of the top-10 riders on stage six were from the Giro’s home nation, with four of those being members of Italy’s wildcard squads.
Alessandro Petacchi, the oldest man in the race, rolled back the years once more to claim sixth – two places behind Southeast teammate Manuel Belletti.
Bardiani-CSF’s Nicola Ruffoni took ninth and pipped former Team Sky man Davide Appollonio, now of Androni Giacattoli, to the line.
Pelucchi, Modolo and Elia Viviani rounded out the other Italians in the top-10. Forza Italia!