Mitchelton-SCOTT through Giro d’Italia stage six without incidentThu 8 Oct 2020
Mitchelton-SCOTT and team leader Simon Yates made it safely through stage six of the Giro d’Italia as the day came down to a reduced bunch sprint in Matera.
American Brent Bookwalter was forced to abandon the race before the start of the action following his crash on stage two, but the remaining seven riders on the squad chalked up another potentially tricky stage.
Unlike on yesterday’s stage, there was no battle to make it into the breakaway as the flag dropped, with four riders drifting up the road with no reaction coming from the peloton. The escapees were allowed a maximum advantage of just over nine minutes before the bunch halted their progress.
There was a change in impetuous in the pack with 100km remaining as a number of teams took turns on the front and shaved three minutes off the time gap. Just two minutes separated the front of the race and the peloton with 50km to go and that’s where it remained until the race reached the only categorised climb on the stage.
A headwind prevented any action up the climb, with the day set for an explosive finish into Matera. The last man standing from the breakaway was eventually reeled back in with 13km to go as attentions turned to the hilly run to the line.
Yates was surrounded by his Mitchelton-SCOTT teammates as a battle for position ensued across the wide, open roads on the approach to the technical run into town. Numerous teams were looking to setup their fast finishers as the bunch navigated the twisty roads before Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) launched a speculative attack under the flamme rouge.
The Italian was quickly shutdown and the stage came down to the anticipated sprint, with Arnaud Démare (Groupama – FDJ) taking his second win of the race. Australian Lucas Hamilton was the team’s top finisher in 22nd place, while Yates rolled home in the bunch in 34th.
"I guess there was one of two ways the race could have started; it could have been super aggressive and really hard with a long time for the break to form, or it could have been pretty much road blocked from the start and a very small group up the road, and that’s essentially what happened today.
"I think a lot of guys will be thankful for that after such a hard day yesterday. With only four guys up the road and such a strong wind and big roads, I think it was pretty obvious that the sprinters were going to have their day today, so there wasn’t really much for us to do.
"I think there was a moment were I thought with the current race situation on the GC, with BORA-hansgrohe and Team Sunweb having guys there, that maybe they were ok to give away the stage today because it was going to be a hard chase. But they obviously knew what the conditions were like and the break came back quite easily.
"For us there wasn’t much to do, just take it as much as a rest day as possible and tomorrow there’s obviously another potential stage for a sprint. But I’ve heard there could be some crosswinds about, so there’s never a rest day at the Giro."
Giro d’Italia Stage 6 - Results:
1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 4:54:38
2. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) ST
3. Fabio Felline (Astana Pro Team) ST
22. Lucas Hamilton (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
Giro d’Italia - GC after Stage 6:
1. João Almeida (Deceuninck - Quick Step) 22:01:01
2. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain – McLaren) +0:43
17. Lucas Hamilton (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +2:47
21. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +3:52
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.