Pelayo Sanchez wins in the sprint ahead of Julian Alaphilippe in the 6th stage

Pelayo Sanchez wins in the sprint ahead of Julian Alaphilippe in the 6th stage
Pelayo Sanchez wins in the sprint ahead of Julian Alaphilippe in the 6th stage

Pelayo Sanchez (Movistar) won the 6th stage of the Giro on Thursday. After 180 km between Torre del Lago Puccini (Viareggio) and Rapolano Terme, in Tuscany, beat the Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal Quick-Step) and the Australian Luke Plapp (Jayco AlUla) in a three-way sprint. Slovenian Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) retains the lead in the general classification.

Three unpaved sectors, for a total of 12 km of ‘sterrati’, spiced up the stage, which also included the Serre di Rapolano bump (8.4% average with a passage at 20%) 5 km from the ‘arrival.

Step follow-up:

After an intense 5th stage marked by numerous falls but where the favorites were not exposed, the Tour of Italy reaches the Siena region, where the Strade Bianche are contested at the start of the season. Michael Woods, Nadav Raisberg and Riley Pickrell (Israel Premier Tech) did not take the start, insufficiently recovered from their misadventures. Florian Lipowitz (Bora Hansgrohe), ill, is also a non-starter in Viareggio.

In the first part of the stage, no rider, following the strong pace set by the peloton, managed to take a significant breakaway. It was ultimately Giulio Pellizzari (VF Group) who took the lead at the top of the Volterra. The Italian was followed by the two Frenchmen Julian Alaphilippe and Aurélien Paret-Peintre. The breakaway then took a few seconds, the peloton letting it go somewhat.

86 km from the finish, the breakaway began to take hold. There were six at the front: Kaden Groves (Alpecin Deceuninck), Pelayo Sanchez (Movistar), Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal Quick Step), Luke Plapp (Jayco AlUla), Matteo Trentin (Tudor), Filippo Fiorelli (Bardiani). Today’s escape was finally launched!

A few kilometers later, the day’s breakaways, taking a big lead, had an impact on the general classification. 21st in the general classification, 2’33” behind Tadej Pogacar (UAE Emirates), Luke Plapp (Jayco AlUla) was the highest ranked rider in the leading group. He was therefore virtually the pink jersey of this Tour of Italy, the peloton being 2’40” behind Kaden Groves and his breakaway companions.

The Strade Bianche part 50km from the finish causes a bit of damage. The peloton increased the pace to come back on the breakaways, enough to cause breaks. In the lead, there are now only three: Alaphilippe, Plapp and Sanchez. The pursuers are then around thirty seconds behind and the peloton was only 1’30” behind. Once the asphalt was back, the breakaways took off again, especially as UAE Emirates took matters into their own hands behind to manage the pace and maintain the gap of 2’30”.

In the last sector of the Strade Bianche, around fifteen kilometers from the finish, INEOS Grenardiers placed itself at the head of the peloton to set the pace and come back to within a minute of the leading trio. Tadej Pogacar is well placed in the wheels of Geraint Thomas’ team.

Plapp took advantage of an error by Alaphilippe and Sanchez in a roundabout to leave them behind… but the Australian was quickly caught up.

1km from the finish, the gap was reduced to 20 seconds, but the trio held on in the final wall. Plapp started the sprint, but it was Sanchez who was the strongest in front of Alaphilippe. The Spaniard from Movistar thus wins his first victory in a Grand Tour.

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