Mads Pedersen powers to Giro d'Italia stage six win, heartbreak for the break
Trek-Segafredo rider completes the Grand Tour trilogy, with stage wins at the Giro, Tour de France, and Vuelta a España
Mads Pedersen timed his sprint to perfection to take victory on stage six of the Giro d'Italia in Napoli on Thursday, as the last two riders from the day's break were caught with 200m to go.
The Trek-Segafredo rider has now won stages at all three Grand Tours, with his Giro win added to the stage he won at the Tour de France last July, and the three stages he won at the Vuelta a España in 2023.
"I'm pretty happy," Pedersen said. "It's what we came for so it's nice to have a victory now. It was a tough day for the team and it's nice to pay them back with this victory. [It is a ] good day."
His victory was not the overarching story of the day, however, that was the heartbreak doled out to the two surviving members of the breakaway, Alessandro De Marchi (Jayco AlUla) and Simon Clarke (Israel-Premier Tech), who were caught within the final 200m.
The pair were alone for the final 60km after they dropped the rest of their escape companions - Charlie Quarterman (Corratec-Selle Italia), Alexandre Delettre (Cofidis) and Francesco Gavazzi (EOLO-Kometa) - on the final classified climb of the day, the Picco Sant'Angelo, and looked like they might hang on.
The peloton could not effectively organise a chase on the twisty roads of the Amalfi coast, which led the duo out front to maintaining a gap through to the very end.
Despite looking like they would have enough of a gap inside the final kilometre, De Marchi and Clarke were swept up with the finish line in sight.
"It was pretty close in the end. It wasn't easy to catch them," Pedersen said. "For a long time they have two minutes and we had to use basically everyone. And it wasn't only us – all the sprinters had to use all the guys they had available. It was really not easy to catch them.
"What was it – 300 metres to go we caught them? I feel sorry for those guys because they did really, really well, but I'm happy I could take the win."
Fernando Gaviria (Movistar) opened his sprint up first, but was expertly tailed and then overtaken by Pedersen. Behind the Dane, Jonathan Milan (Bahrain-Victorious) nabbed second, with Pascal Ackermann (UAE Team Emirates) in third. Yesterday's stage winner, Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) finished fourth.
"It was pretty tough," Pedersen added. "I wanted to open a long sprint because we had to catch these guys. But luckily for me Gaviria did it before and I had someone in front to try to catch. He did a really strong sprint and it was not easy."
There were less crashes than on stage five, but there was still drama on stage six, with Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) and Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) both general classification riders who suffered mechanical issues inside the final 15km, but both made it back into the bunch.
Meanwhile, Mark Cavendish (Astana-Qazaqstan) crashed for the second day in a row, and he was unable to compete in the final sprint.
GIRO D'ITALIA 2023 STAGE six RESULTS (Napoli to Napoli):
1. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo, in 3-44-45
2. Jonathan Milan (Ita) Bahrain-Victorious
3. Pascal Ackermann (Deu) UAE Team Emirates
4. Kaden Groves (Aus) Alpecin-Deceuninck
5. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Movistar
6. Michael Matthews (Aus) Jayco-AIUla
7. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) EOLO-Kometa
8. Marius Mayrhofer (Deu) DSM
9. Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Intermarché-Circus-Wanty
10. Simone Velasco (Ita) Astana-Qazaqstan, all at same time
General classification after stage six
1. Andreas Leknessund (Nor) DSM, in 22-50-48
2. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step, at 28s
3. Aurelien Paret-Peintre (Fra) AG2R Citroën, at 30s
4. Joao Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates, at 1-00
5. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, at 1-12
6. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers at 1-26
7. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Bora-Hansgrohe at same time
8. Tom Skuijns (Lat) Trek-Segafredo) at 1-29
9. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 1-30
10. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) Eolo-Kometa, at 1-39
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Adam is Cycling Weekly’s senior news and feature writer – his greatest love is road racing but as long as he is cycling on tarmac, he's happy. Before joining Cycling Weekly he spent two years writing for Procycling, where he interviewed riders and wrote about racing, speaking to people as varied as Demi Vollering to Philippe Gilbert. Before cycling took over his professional life, he covered ecclesiastical matters at the world’s largest Anglican newspaper and politics at Business Insider. Don't ask how that is related to cycling.
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