Giro d’Italia Stage 6 Preview

Out and back from Napoli, today’s stage should be a lot like yesterday’s one, but drier and hopefully with fewer crashes.

Cave Canem: four riders jumped away at the start as the rain sluiced down, one of them was Thibaut Pinot who took the points on the first climb to extend his lead in the mountains competition and then promptly sat up, leaving a trio to supply the day’s animation. Only they were supplanted as suddenly a stray dog ran towards the bunch causing a crash and the worst off seemed to be Remco Evenepoel. He was sat on the ground for some time before getting up and slowly pedalling back to the bunch, seemingly ok. He’d crash again near the finish, two scares and crashes are rarely without consequence, there’s inflammation, tissue damage, bruising and possibly lost sleep, all with a summit finish tomorrow and the time trial on Sunday.

A crash with 7km to go felled many others including Primož Roglič and Kaden Groves but they got back in time, although Jay Vine was among those who’d lose contact. Evenepoel’s second crash of the day was inside the final 3km. With the sprint raging in the final 200m Mark Cavendish’s back wheel spun under effort causing him to sit up and stop sprinting and Alberto Dainese to cut across, causing a chain reaction where Cavendish crashed, sliding across the line. But ahead of all of this was Kaden Groves who held off Jonathan Milan and Mads Pedersen for the stage win.

The Route: a 162km day trip out of Napoli to Amalfi and back, it would be a day to sell images of the region with the coast and the views of Mount Vesuvius but the weather looks mixed. The climb of the Valico di Chiunzi might tempt a few to move but things settle down as the race winds its way along the Amalfi coast where the road can be narrow in places. The last 65km are a fast run back into Napoli.

The Finish: a dash around town by the sea including some urban cobbles between 3km and 2km to go and five corners between 3km and 1km to go but they’re sweeping bends and can be ridden fast. The finishing straight is over a kilometre long.

The Contenders: a copy of yesterday’s stage with some climbing early and then a clear run to the line so a likely sprint finish and going by yesterday some teams won’t push the pace too hard on the climbs as even if it might eject some sprinters there’s a long time to go. Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) went down in the crash yesterday and got back and won the sprint so he’ll be hard to beat if he can get a clear run to the line.

Groves, Dainese, Milan
Cavendish, Pedersen

Weather: a mix of clouds and sunshine and a cool 18°C.

TV: KM0 is at 1.15pm and the finish is forecast for 5.15pm CEST.

43 thoughts on “Giro d’Italia Stage 6 Preview”

  1. Real cyclists pick themselves up off the deck, put their chain back on and win the stage!
    There does seem to be an issue with the 3 km rule in as much as there is a difference between having a crash and being caught up in it.

  2. “Chaos at the Giro” is a headline that applies every year, its part of the race’s DNA. Polemica too, there is no perfect answer to the “3km” rule, it seems as good as any of the other suggested solutions. Weather seems set fair for today just need to avoid any stray animals. Remco Evenepoel’s first crash seemed to knock the wind out of him, it would seem likely to have caused some longer term effects. Not sure his raging against the world routine was a good sign after the second one.

    Would Jonathan Milan have won if he had not been wearing a rain jacket? Cant see Cav being in a position to compete today he came down pretty hard and was lucky not to have broken anything (presume the AG2R rider carried away on a stretcher is OK but out of the race). Might today be a day for a break?

    A quick peak at the webcams at Gran Sasso dont reveal much, too foggy! If it is similar weather tomorrow (forecast suggests it might be) it will be pretty grim.

  3. Remco histrionics. Just when I’m warming to him he goes and regresses to being Spunkypants. The spoilt kid in the playground. Of course, if it transpires that he really sustained pink-jumper threatening injury I’ll let him have my bag of sweets.

    • Evenepoel was looking left as he was drifting right. He then hits the first rider, is unbalanced, and then hits a second. It was his fault.

      • And with the first crash, he sits down for a couple of minutes – looking for all the world like a footballer rather than a cyclist – they even had to pull him up in the end.
        His rivals would have been perfectly within their rights to attack him at that point, seeing as he was taking his sweet time for no reason whatsoever.
        He seems very aware of the cameras…

  4. It might be turning into a challenge without a good solution, but the 3km rule does seem to be leading towards a few tangles where riders move back and clash with those moving forward.
    That said, I understand it’s pretty well accepted in the peloton that looking behind you in a high speed situation, you’d better be certain your wheel won’t veer and that no-one’s coming up behind you.

  5. Quote from QS doctor

    “Remco has a lot of pain on his right side and a hematoma with contraction of his muscles and some problems with his sacrum bone,” Cruyt said. “Hopefully, with some good massage and osteopathic treatment followed by a good night’s rest, things will go better. We will know more Thursday morning, but what’s sure is that stage six will be a difficult one for him.”

  6. Ah, the wonderful world of peloton cycling… How I wish riders could get into their heads that the normal thing for stages like today and yesterday is that the field becomes completely split early on, with multiple groups and breakaways, with no peloton to speak of. Like in youngster categories. Much safer and much more fun.

  7. I remember the stage of Giro 2001 finishing in Ljubljana. The peloton apparently decided that a finishing loop through the old city was too dangerous and let the break go. And Mazzoleni attacking well after the break was established dangling in the no mans land to the finish.
    Kinda want this to happen today, just because I want to see Grand Sasso with all of the gc guys. I fear that today will be self fulfilling fear of accidents that will produce accidents.

  8. If the weather is anything like yesterdays then that finish around Naples sounds like it’ll be like one of those speed skating races where there’s only one left standing at the end.

    From the slo mo replay of Cavendish’s wheelspin as he was about to kick I think it looked like he had the jump on them all and would’ve won. I’d be surprised if he isn’t in a bit of pain today but it would be good to see him up there again.

      • By the way, just as I was saying before the race, lots of talk about “complicated routes for sprinter stages”… and on one of the hardest ones, plus on a bad day, you have old Cav there with the best; frankly, there’s a whole lot of pure sprinters’ material, although it’s up to the teams changing the script with strong breaks, because, really – if anything – among the flaws of the whole Giro course there is a *lack* of “easy” stages *but* with a little climbing in the finale to negotiate.

  9. The name’s Cav, Mark Cav, and I’m starring in Dainese Day

    Still coming to terms with the photo at the top of this article, Cav on the deck at the start of the zebra crossing, rider in black rain jacket and white helmet furthest right still manages to lose to him.

  10. Yeah, minor minor improvements could probably be made to safety by perfecting the 3 km rule or introducing a yellow/red card system or something like that..but the day we don’t have crashes, even dangerous ones, in finishes like this, it will not be the same sport because it is impossible to have finishes like this without a high risk of crashes, elevated of course on some days by the weather gods. And by “finishes like this” I’m not thinking about the particular locations chosen yesterday or any other day with regards to road furniture, twists and turns, the width of the road or anything like that, I’m talking more generally about flat stages likely, in today’s tactical paradigm, to end in a bunch sprint. Wherever the roads, crashes are likely to happen.

    And…I like it. It is part of the sport I have grown up watching and competed in. I don’t like serious injuries, I, needless to say, hate fatalities, but I like the risk and I particularly like the added unpredictability of a grand tour in knowing that, well, Evenepoel might crash. Basically, then, I like and dislike different dimensions of the very same thing: the inherent risk of bike racing. It is not black and white.

    • I agree, its good that there are less nailed on sprint finishes than back in the day, but I wouldn’t want to lose them entirely. I guess if mass sprint finishes caused the majority of bad crashes there might be an argument for getting rid, but they don’t so keep them I say. Just do everything possible to make them as safe as possible, within reason. A card system might help, and better scrutiny of street furniture, corners, descents etc close to finish by UCI, race organisers, teams, riders unions, in a way that is properly mandated and enforced, perhaps with obligatory funding contributions from sponsors for temporary removal and replacement of hazards and/or more comprehensive crash mitigation, padding, warning systems etc. People have been advocating for this for years and there have been incremental improvements but also horrible unneccessary accidents and its really about time it was sorted, there’s so much tech available for mapping and troubleshooting the built environment now there’s really no excuse . The new look barriers in the finals seem to be a good thing even though they kind of ruin it for spectators street side. Its been discussed on here before but the only other thing I can think that would make a big difference would be having stages that are stage win only ie not counted for GC, but with a twist that you get ST as the winner as long as you finish within a safe but sportingly reasonable timeframe that ensures everyone is really racing e.g. 3 minutes of them. This would lead to a sprint peloton and a GC peloton coming in 3 minutes apart but all getiing same time, without the frantic mass rush then backing off in crashy waves at 3k. Might work?

    • The improved finish line barriers certainly helped yesterday: I saw Cav (accidentally) push the rider in green into the barrier, then, after watching Cav slide across the line, noticed the rider in green was missing. I first assumed he’d gone over the barriers into the crowd, so was happy (and amazed) to see that he’d stayed upright and crossed the line in one piece. That wouldn’t have happened with the older-style fencing, particularly with the legs jutting out into the road.

      • Watch the slow motion replay (3/4 front view) of what happened with the sprinter in green (Fiorelli, not Dekker) after Cavendish slams into him. As he starts sliding along the barrier, you’ll notice several arms sticking through the fence, holding cell phones out to film the riders. One arm doesn’t move until Fiorelli, pressed hard against the fence, slams right into it. The fence looks is the narrow grid kind, with vertical and horizontal heavy wires, so the forearm would be trapped in what is almost a horizontal guillotine. I can’t imagine that that person didn’t end up with a broken arm as well as a broken phone. Ouch!

        • Indeed. I have re-watched the slow-motion offered by Eurosport a few times, first myself, then with my junior. I have noticed first the springing of Fiorelli off barrier back into vertical position (bodychecking Cavendish off balance), which actually looked like miracle move. Then the junior remarked “mobile minus…” and then it looked like multiple of them were swept by rubbing Fiorelli. Junior again “of course, Apples”… and only then I realized that uff, also arms were under serious strain… brutal, but once again reminder not to stick anything to the speeding cyclists’ way. “Allez Opi, Omi 2”

        • I was there at 100 to-go. The idiots with phones had their arms OVER the top of the fence, not through the grid, despite announcements just before the race arrival to keep hands, jackets, signs, banners, phones, etc. out of the damn way. The scenes of flying/sliding phones was rather amusing IMHO..serves these idiots right and I hope a few of their expensive gizmos were made useless in the process! Maybe next time they’ll follow the organizer’s request?
          Post-race we were able to get close enough to the stage…most of the folks with umbrellas closed ’em up so everyone could see…after some requests that is.

          • Just rewatched the finish again. As you say, most people had their hands with mobiles and cameras over the fence, but at least two mobiles swept by Fiorelli were in hands through the grid, much lower than former.

  11. Would expect UAE & Ineos to up the pace to see how GC guys are, but Friday’s big stage looms large over today’s stage. Even so, quite a few guys will be suffering.
    35km flat run in to the finish could tempt sprint teams, but if the peloton are taking it easy, a day for the breakaway (if so will McNulty go for it again?)

    • I’m not a fan of that tactic… Ineos and UAE will only end up riding tempo on the front in an attempt to “soften” up GC rivals… in reality Remco has zero issue sitting on the wheels in that situation and the only net result is it gives Remco and team time off.

      Is it just me or do GC tactics lack any real intelligence?

  12. 3km? 5km?… – You might as well take away the finish line. 3km is an arbitrary distance that was added in an era when massive pile-ups were routine. Before the ruling everyone knew how to avoid losing a single second, so if conditions were bad the peloton would come in with a bunch at the front and a much longer tail of riders who would each know to fill gaps for the team principal.
    Bear in mind there is now a 2 or 3 second gap rule before anyone is given a split time and it makes sense to keep the 3km rule.
    If you start taking GC before the sprint you are going to reduce the importance of even having a finish line, let alone the refined art of being a GC rider nicking seconds at the line.
    It’s far more relevant to look at what sport admin professionals refer to as ‘ the field of play ‘ and maybe consider not having your line with pedestrian white markings at 40m to go on a rainy day, or narrowings when sprint and GC trains are going simultaneously. It’s a lot to ask of organisers who are juggling finance and the insistence of paying town clients to get the finish line in front of their civic pride and joy, but in the end they can’t wreck the athletes to get there.

    • And I still remember a then-likeable young Bouhanni winning a stage in rainy Rome(?) when the sprint started on some chariot-race loop of a stately square with cobbles like ice. He was the fastest not to skittle off (unlike the day’s favourite who, please, was Kittle)

  13. Apologies if this is a daft question but…
    When is a rider adjudged to have rejoined the main group?
    Using yesterday’s events as a jumping off point, a GC contender is caught up in a crash outside of the 3km mark and chases back on when a second crash inside the 3km mark happens – is there a defined point at which that rider can be said to be in the group for time purposes or is this a judgement call?

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