Chaves accelerates away from the field to place seventh on Giro d’Italia summit finish

Thu 12 May 2016

Colombian Esteban Chaves of ORICA-GreenEDGE broke clear of his rivals in the final kilometre of stage six of the Giro d’Italia today finishing seventh on the stage and moving into eighth position overall as the first week of racing draws to a close.

Chaves made his move after the stage had been won by Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) who had attacked alone from the second breakaway group of the day and held on until the finish.

2015 Tour of Abu Dhabi winner Chaves had a quick look around at his rivals before bursting clear to contest the sprint for the top ten and the advantage of a few valuable seconds.

The Colombian now sits in eighth position on the general classification as the race heads into tomorrow’s stage seven which will be likely to end in a bunch sprint on the flat finish in Foligno.

Sport director Matt White was pleased with the display of form from Chaves and the overall performance of the team.

“We are all really pleased with the how the race is going so far,” said White. “Esteban (Chaves) was feeling good going into the finale and it is never a bad thing to gain a few seconds where you can on a Grand Tour.”

“Today was a little bit of a surprise in the sense that everyone expected the final climb to be harder than it actually was which was an important factor in how the stage was won.

“We decided to test the water a little towards the end,” continued White. “The last breakaway had developed a good lead and we had a couple of digs at the front to bring the gap down a little but there wasn’t really any team wanting to commit fully to the chase.”

“The team is very relaxed and confident going into stage seven, we are in good position and we are looking forward to the rest of the race.”

How it happened:

The first mountain stage of the 2016 Giro d’Italia got underway in Ponte on a windy and slightly wet Italian lunchtime with the riders setting off straight into a headwind.

The initial climbs of the day came early with the Bocca della Selva the first major test of the race so far arriving after 40kilometres.

An attack involving five riders attempted to breakaway very early in the stage but the move didn't gain any ground. The peloton split and reformed numerous times over the first 20kilometres before three riders managed to break clear and form a developing lead of three minutes after 30kilometres of racing.

The trio of leaders extended their advantage to nearly seven minutes by the time the field hit the Bocca della Selva and began the 18kilometre climb. Giant-Alpecin were on the front of the peloton looking to control events for race leader Tom Dumoulin.

On the long descent of the della Selva climb the peloton reduced the gap to the three leaders by a few minutes with Movistar taking over at the front of the bunch and the rain now fell heavily.

Less than 85kilometres remained and with more serious climbing to come the advantage of the front three stood at a shade over one minute.

Eugert Zhupa (Willer-Southeast) and Alessandro Bisolti (Nippo-Vini-fantini) were the two survivors of the breakaway at the front of the race with a stuttering lead of 50seconds over the fast approaching peloton. The duo managed to push their advantage back out to over three minutes as the race passed through the feedzone with 74kilometres to go.

The situation was always going to change approaching the final climbs of the stage with the last 30kilometres basically all uphill towards the finish in the area of Rocaraso.

A counter attack group of three riders, led by Wellens, split from the main bunch and began to chase down the two leaders. The gap back to the pink jersey group of Dumoulin was up to four minutes from the leaders and two minutes to the Wellens group.

With 60kilometres to go the two front groups merged giving the now five leaders an advantage of five and a half minutes on the peloton. Thirty kilometres later and the quintet at the front had over eight minutes on the bunch with Svein Tuft and Sam Bewley of ORICA-GreenEDGE leading the chase at the head of the peloton.

On the final climb of the day, with 15kilometres to go until the finish, the now four leaders had six minutes over the peloton when Laurent Didier (Trek-Segafredo) attacked from the front followed by Wellens.

Wellens dropped Didier with ten kilometres to go and pushed on up the road alone towards the summit. Jakob Fugslang (Astana) broke clear of the bunch and immediately gained an advantage of 30-40seconds as the reduced peloton began to split apart.

The favourites were all climbing together going into the last few kilometres when Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) made a tactically strange attack which only succeeded in increasing the pace of the riders around him.

Dumoulin gave chase behind Fugslang and caught the Dane with less than two kilometres to go. Wellens was now clear on the finishing straight and crossed the line over a minute ahead of the field to take the stage win as the group of favourites continued the pursuit behind Dumoulin and Fugslang.

Chaves accelerated away from the final selection of riders in the last 500metres and gained a few valuable seconds to finish seventh on the day and move up to eighth on the overall general classification. Dumoulin retains the pink leader's jersey going into stage seven.

Tomorrow’s stage seven covers 211kilometres from Sulmona to Foligno. It's another lumpy stage with two categorised climbs before a slight descent to the flat finish. Predictions say it should be a day for the sprinters with a relatively straightforward and uncomplicated finish.

Giro d’Italia stage six results:

1. Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) 04:40:05
2. Jakob Fugslang (Astana) 00:01:19
3. Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) 00:01:19
7. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-GreenEDGE) 00:01:29

General classification after stage six:

1. Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) 24:22:15
2. Jakob Fugslang (Astana) 00:00:26
3. Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) 00:00:28
8. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-GreenEDGE) 00:00:44