Dutchman Pieter Weening retains the leader's pink jersey ahead of the race's first mountain top finish on tomorrow - see you then.
Orvieto - Fiuggi
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Roberto Ferrari of Androni Giocattoli took third and Danilo Di Luca, who was the Katusha rider who went for an early one, fourth. But that was bizarre behaviour from Petacchi, who seemed to pull up and gift Ventoso the win.
Petacchi looked to have that in the bag, but he couldn't turn the pedals in the final metres and let Ventoso in for the win. The Movistar rider gets off his bike, is sick over the tarmac, then falls to the ground. He's shattered! As is the Italian. That must have been a brutal finish.
Early attack on the uphill finish from a Katusha ridier... but Petacchi catches him... before totally running out of steam and almost gifting Ventoso the win.
Bozic is there, as is Di Luca...
Here's the 1km-to-go kite. It's going to be a bunch sprint.
Each man for himself now. Petacchi is there, third in line. Visconti is there too. Ventoso as well.
A nice effort from Kristof Vandewalle but he's been caught.
It's all over for Vandevalle now and it's all back together. A Garmin-Cevelo rider - Millar? - and a Colnago rider will be the first to catch him.
Sella attacked in a tunnel and has opened up a bit of a gap. He'll catch Vandevalle very soon. Actually, the peloton has reacted and Sella is reeled in.
ATTACK: A huge dig from a Androni Giocattoli rider. It's Emanuele Sella!
There are no teams involved now - just a load of individuals. It's all about to kick off. 25 secs now.
An Astana rider has a dig on the front, prompting three riders to counter attack. Vandevalle is now just 30 seconds ahead. Mathias Frank, who we forgot about, has been caught.
Millar gives up - but chapeau to the Scot. Vandevalle has 35 seconds.
ATTACK: Garmin's David Millar shows his class with an attack on the front. He's reeled in by two riders, but that's an admirable effort from the previous pink jersey.
ATTACK: If at first you don't succeed... Stefano Pirazza gives it another go.. in vain again. Popovych and Veuchelen are caught and so we just have Vandevalle up front with 7km to go.
ATTACK: Vandevalle leave Popovych and Veuchelen behind and goes for a long one, perhaps taking a leaf out of Pieter Weening's book, who tried a similar tactic yesterday - and won.
Pirazza has now been caught. Just 45 seconds now - and with that climb coming up, you've got to think it's curtains for the three out in front.
Pirazzi will be caught soon. The three leaders have just over a minute. They are: Kristof Vandewalle (Quick Step), Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack) and Frederik Veuchelen (Vacansoleil).
Now Movistar are taking up the charge on the front of the peloton. Maybe they're thinking Lastras or Ventoso could do something at the finish?
Pirazzi has now caught and passed Jussi Veikkanen. BMC's Mathias Frank attacks from the peloton. But all three will be back in the bunch before too long.
The trio are working well together as Pirazzi closes in. The gap is 1'13" with the peloton a further 30 seconds back.
Local man Stefano Pirazzi (Colnago) jumps clear of the peloton. He's one of Sean Kelly's tips for today and there you have it... He's opened up a small gap in pursuit of the three leaders.
Jussi Veikkanen (Omega Pharma-Lotto) is the next of the leaders to crack. He's now 18 seconds behind the Popovych trio. The peloton are returning fast. It's 1'45" now. With the road heading up a little again, HTC's Mark Cavendish is in a spot of bother. He's surrounded by team-mates, but surely the win today would be too much for Cav?
McEwen makes it back to the peloton, not before having a go at one of the motorbike crew. He knocks a passenger on the bike with his arm before riding further up the peloton. Modolo has been caught. Liquigas, Sky and Lampre are coming to the front now.
Visconti has dropped back to get some more water. He gets a little tug along from his team car. Crafty. The lead is 2'17". Modolo is somewhere in between, closer now to the peloton than the leaders.
The four leaders pass under the 25-to-go banner. It's still Farnese-Vini on the front of the peloton.
RadioShack's Robbie McEwen has been blown out the back of the peloton. He must have a problem because these uphill segments are not too steep.
The peloton split for a moment on that downhill run but it's back together now. The four leaders still have 2'40". The rolling fields of Lazio are really quite green. Maybe they're getting the rain that London and the rest of the UK isn't...
These are very fast roads, with long downhill stretches which allow the riders to coast down at top speed. The leaders are approaching the hilltop town of Paliano. No one does hilltop towns quite as well as Italy. They're a staggering site. Very pretty it has to be said. Modolo is now 40 seconds behind the leaders, with the peloton a further 2'12" back.
So, five become four - although now they're over that small peak, maybe Modolo will rejoin the leaders on the descent. It's still a pink and yellow pronged peloton, with Farnese-Vini and Lampre doing the work. Rabobak and the pink jersey Weening are there too.
Modolo has cracked! The Italian Colnago rider is the first to drop off the back of the leading group as the road hits an upward incline.
Martin Kohler, the green jersey who set yesterday's stage ablaze with a gusty solo attack from the start, sits on the back of the peloton and sips from a can of coke. The Swiss had a superb day in the saddle yesterday.
Popovych, the leading group's Mr Steady, is setting the pace. Back in the peloton, it's the flourescent yellow shouldered men of Farnese-Vini doing the work, with Lampre and Saxo Bank tucked in behind.
The five riders don't compete for place in the intermediate sprint at the pretty tree-lined town of Cave, which means "beware" in Latin. Kristof Vandewalle goes through first, but just through coincidence. The lead is under three minutes and dropping fast.
Typical Giro: the five leaders hit a real bottle neck where the right hand side of the road has been closed for repairs. It's going to be a tight squeeze for the peloton when they arrive in three minutes...
Visconti finished five minutes down yesterday so maybe the Italian livewire was keeping something in reserve for today's finish in Fiuggi.
It's the Farnese-Vini team of Giovanni Visconti who are setting the pace on the front of the bunch. A few Vacansoleil riders are putting on a shift too. It's hot out there and many of the riders have the top of their shirts unzipped. The four leaders are passing the scenic hillside town of Palestrina. The gap is down to 3'15".
The lead has dropped to 3'50" now. It's hard to imagine this quintet staying out ahead for too long. They will be reeled in, perhaps, around the 25-to-go mark. Place your bets below...
The average speed of the race has increased to 41km/h over the last hour of racing.
You can watch the cycling now LIVE on British Eurosport and Eurosport International. Alternatively, you can stay online, read these updates and listen to David Harmon and Sean Kelly on the live audio.
Rabobank are controlling the peloton, keeping their man Pieter Weening, the pink jersey, safe.
Modolo is quite the hippy: the Italian is wearing a beaded necklace and has a pretty garish tattoo on the inside of his upper right arm which depicts a couple of pink flowers.
A reminder of the five leaders in that breakaway: Jussi Veikkanen (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Kristof Vandewalle (Quick Step), Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack), Sacha Modolo (Colnago) and Frederik Veuchelen (Vacansoleil). They have 4'25" over the peloton.
The peloton are really taking things easy today ahead of tomorrow's first summit finish.
A few thoughts coming in below on today's stage: Cleve thinks "Rodriguez will win the stage, outpedalling Nibili and Contador". Hatesmiles says: "Hopefully the breakaway stays and Jussi wins, it would be the best day of Finnish professional cycling." Meanwhile, ehtanp believes Marco Pinotti will win the stage and move back into the pink jersey. The HTC Italian is just two seconds down in Weening in the GC - and promised he will try his best to get the maglia rosa today.
For anyone thinking they can get some extra info on the live from the official Gazzetta website, I wouldn't bother: the Italian live commentator has gone awol. Presumably he's gone home to have lunch with his mama before having a quick siesta...
The lead drops to under five minutes.
There is a distinct stand-off at the moment between the leading group and the peloton, the former not making any attempt to edge out further ahead and the latter not too concerned with reeling them in. 5'30" is the latest check, but things should heat up in 30-odd kilometres when the road gets more bumpy.
So, who do you think is going to win today's stage? And will Weening still be in pink by the end of the day? Share your thoughts below in the comment section...
It's hot at the finish in Fiuggi and temperatures are as high as 27 degrees.
The five leaders roar through the feeding zone with a 5'15" advantage over the peloton. They are going to need much more time if they want to stay out in front today, that's for sure.
No huge concern in the peloton as the leaders stay out 5'40" ahead. Popovych is the best place of the five in the GC, 5'35" down on Pieter Weening. Which makes him vitual pink jersey on the road.
The lead has risen to 5'15" as the five-man breakaway approachs the feeding zone.
Italian Sacha Modolo (Colnago) is riding his second Giro. The 23-year-old turned pro in 2010. Belgian Frederik Veuchelen (Vacansoleil) is the oldest of the bunch. The 32-year-old is nevertheless riding his first ever Giro. Finn Jussi Veikkanen is 29 and riding his fourth Giro. He joined Omega Pharma-Lotto this year after six years at Francaise des Jeux. Finally, Belgian Kristof Vandewalle is another Giro debutant. The 25-year-old joined Quick Step in the off season after three years at Topsport.
Yaroslav Popovych is the best known rider of the five leaders. The 31-year-old Ukrainian was one of Lance Armstrong's most trusted lieutenants at Discovery, Astana and RadioShack, but he has never won a stage on the Giro. This is his sixth attempt at the race. He is bidding to end a barran patch which stretches back to 2007 without a win.
The leaders have crossed the summit of the fourth category Soriano nel Cimino climb. The lead is still around the five minute mark.
The leaders now have a five minute gap over the peloton.
Tom Southam, the English cyclist who rides for the Rapha Condor outfit, relects on Wouter Weylandt's sad passing in his latest blog for Yahoo.Eurosport.
The average speed for the first hour on the road today was 39.7km/h, which seems rather slow, but it's hardly been a flat start it has to be said. The breakaway still have just under four minutes advantage.
Other big news this morning is that Mount Etna is erupting. Owing to the ash, Catania airport has been closed. Race director Angelo Zomegnan says there is no need to worry ahead of Sunday's stage in Sicily - which included two ascents of Etna. Firstly, the eruptions are only little; second, the airport should be open again; third, the roads used by the riders are currently unaffected. Should the situation worsen, alternative transfer methods will be put in place.
The Popovych five-man breakaway now has a lead of 3'55" over the peloton. The Ukrainian veteran had a pop yesterday on the first dirt track climb. He managed to open up a small gap but was in the end pulled back by Astana's Roman Kreuziger. Liquigas hot favourite Vincenzo Nibali then put on a masterclass of descending, showing no fear whatsoever as he ripped down the other side. Nibali is the best placed of the GC contenders at the moment - but were only talking seconds.
On to today's action now: five riders are out ahead. Jussi Veikkanen (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and Kristof Vandewalle (Quick Step) instigated the break after 9km of racing and were joined 5km later by Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack), Sacha Modolo (Colnago) and Frederik Veuchelen (Vacansoleil). After 20km the group has a lead of 2'55".
Millar was one of a handful of riders who spoke out yesterday about the dangers of riding so much downhill sections on the 'strade bianche' dirt tracks. The veteran Garmin-Cervelo rider said the dust clouds and the flying stones from under the wheels of support cars made it incredibly dangerous - as did the inclusion of many hairpin bends. Indeed, stage five was littered with crashes, many of which came on the white road sections. Food for thought after the Weylandt's tragedy.
Britain's David Millar had an eventful day in the saddle yesterday. The overnight pink jersey collided with Spain's Angel Vicioso while racing for the intermediate sprint and was then dropped on the first dirt track climb. The proud Scot managed to fight his way back into the leading group, but cracked on the final ascent into Orvieto. Our blogger Blazin' Saddles reflects on Millar's testing two days in pinkl, while says a few words about the late Wouter Weylandt.
There was a big scare yesterday when Tom-Jelte Slagter, the Rabobank team-mate of stage winner Pieter Weening, crashed heavily and lay motionless on the road. The 20-year-old Dutchman suffered a broken eye socket, concussion and multiple wounds to the face. He was taken to hospital and was forced to withdraw from the race.
Today's stage has breakaway written all over it - especially seeing that Weening's lead at the top is so narrow while tomorrow's stage sees the arrival of the mountains. As such, for many it will be the last chance to seize a day in pink. The 216-km slog is never entirely flat but there are no huge climbs. The finale features a punchy climb into the town of Fiuggi so expect some movement up front.
And they're off: the 194 remaining riders get stage six underway under the Umbrian sun.
Weening managed to hold off the challenge of a fast approaching chasing group on the final climb to Orvieto yesterday, and holds a slender two-second lead going into today's stage, a long 216-km slog south beyond Rome to the town of Fiuggi.
Dutchman Pieter Weening leads heading into today's sixth stage of the Giro d'Italia, a 216km trek through the hills from Orvieto to Fiuggi.