Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) rounded Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) on the line to win stage six of the Giro d'Italia. The Frenchman made it back-to-back wins at the race, beating Ewan in a photo finish to cement his hold on the maglia ciclamino.
Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) completed the podium on the stage, with Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) taking a fourth top ten in his debut Grand Tour.
Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo) faced no challenges to his maglia rosa on what was a relaxed and uneventful day for the general classification.
How it happened
The Giro d’Italia entered the mainland for the first time on stage six with a 192km-long route up the Calabrian coast. With just one category four bump to get over, the day was billed as one for the fastmen, who looked forward to a long, straight run in on their charge to Scalea.
The day’s racing got off to a slow start as the peloton rolled out of Palmi. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) and Pascal Eenkhoorn (Jumbo-Visma) joked about going on the attack, before sitting up and joining the gentle trundle of the bunch behind them.
With no breakaway forming in the first 20km, Diego Rosa (Eolo-Kometa) decided to give the pack something to chase. The Italian went solo on the steady ascent to the Luigi Razza airport, stretching out a five-minute gap and claiming maximum points over the stage’s only categorised climb.
The first sprint came with 150km to go. Three Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli riders set off in a pace line containing Filippo Tagliani, the leader of the intermediate sprints classification, who solidified his hold on the competition. Girmay beat Démare over the line to sweep up the dregs in the battle for the maglia ciclamino.
Up the road, Rosa continued his lonely ride under the Italian sun, his advantage slipping as the afternoon drew on.
Bonus seconds were up for grabs under the second sprint banner with 45km remaining. Rosa took three seconds, with two going to Tagliani and one to Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe), who reduced the deficit to López, albeit marginally.
After 140km on his own up the road, Rosa’s adventure came to an end, and the Italian returned to the company of the peloton. Glory was never on the mind of the Eolo-Kometa rider, who was rightfully declared the day’s most combative rider and awarded a pair of red numbers to wear on stage seven.
With 15km to go, the teams assembled in strips of colour across the road, their sprinters nestled in behind. A sense of urgency gripped the race for the first time, and the peloton began motoring towards the finish line.
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl seized the front of the race under the flamme rouge, guiding Cavendish, one of the stage favourites, round a gentle lefthand bend. The British sprinter kicked into the wind, but couldn't shake off Ewan, who came off his wheel and into the middle of the road.
As the Australian powered towards the finish, Démare flew over his right shoulder and thrusted his bike forward on the line. After a tense wait, the photo finish confirmed that the Frenchman timed his sprint to perfection to claim back-to-back stage victories at the race - a feat he also achieved in 2020 when he won the points classification.
Giro d’Italia 2022, stage six: Palmi to Scalea (192km)
1. Arnaud Démare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, in 5-02-33
2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto-Soudal
3. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
4. Biniam Girmay (Eri) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
5. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Israel-Premier Tech
6. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bahrain Victorious
7. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R Citroën
8. Simone Consonni (Ita) Cofidis
9. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) Eolo-Kometa
10. Edward Theuns (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, all at same time
General classification after stage six
1. Juan Pedro López (Spa) Trek-Segafredo, in 23-23-40
2. Lennard Kämna (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 38s
3. Rein Taaramäe (Est) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, at 58s
4. Simon Yates (GBr) BikeExchange-Jayco, at 1-42
5. Mauri Vansevenant (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, at 1-47
6. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 1-51
7. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates, at 1-54
8. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain Victorious, at 1-56
9. Richie Porte (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers, at 2-04
10. Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSM, at 2-06
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