09/05/13 - 12:25
Mola di Bari - Margherita di Savoia
Giro d'Italia • Stage6

Mola di Bari - Margherita di Savoia
Giro d'Italia - 9 May 2013

Giro d'Italia – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 12:25 on 9 May 2013. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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No change in the overall standings with Luca Paolini (Katusha) retaining his pink jersey.


Result of stage five: 1. Cavendish, 2. Viviani, 3. Goss, 4. Bouhanni, 5. Gavazzi.


Cavendish benefited from a superb lead-out there - while Bouhanni was really boxed in. Viviani and Goss tried their best, but they were always up against it. As for Degenkolb - Argos went way too early and the German was nowhere to be seen.


Cavendish in a very strong position after his last man slingshots him to the line... and despite a late surge from Viviani and Bouhanni it's a win for Cav!


Under the kite and it's Argos who lead it out...


It's all over for Ligthart as GreenEdge and RadioShack now take up the slack. Cannondale are there too.


A Vacansoleil-DCM rider is riding hell for leather off the front! It's Pim Ligthart.


Christian Knees of Sky is on the front now to set the tempo. No - it's Bradley Wiggins. Keeping well out of trouble there!


Now a Cannondale rider comes to the fore - and here come FDJ and Bouhanni.


Jerome Pineau of OPQS is on the front - but Cavendish is much further back alongside Trentin and Steegmans.


Manuele Boaro of Saxo Bank pings of the front and has a few bike lengths off the front of the peloton.


OPQS and Cannondale playing it very cool so far - yet to form their trains. Argos on the other hand have three men on the front.


Perhaps Garmin are thinking this could be one for veteran Robbie Hunter? He needs a flat finish - and this is just that.


Argos Shimano and Garmin come to the front - for sprinter Degenkolb and GC rider Hesjedal. Cannondale are grouped together but rather boxed in for the moment.


Riders are being tailed off at the back, such is the pace. Some have to bunny hop across some road furniture too as the road narrows. Fabio Felline of Androni punctures at the wrong moment - he won't be a factor in the finish now, surely. Pink jersey Paolini is right near the front now.


Leigh Howard and Filippo Pozzato are still trying to fight back onto the peloton after that earlier crash. The road keeps on narrowing and widening, which makes for nervous racing. That's why Sky and Astana are on the front.


The pace is pretty high now. The peloton has passed through the finish area for a second time - this time without any drama - and are on the final lap. They're currently roaring past the salt farm as a pace of around 60kmh.


One of the riders badly affected by that big pile-up was Giovanni Visconti. The blue jersey went into the barriers hard and is being treated by the race doctor off the back of the peloton.


Wiggins has rejoined the peloton and Sky move straight to the front of the peloton - they clearly don't want a repeat of what just happened. Up there alongside them are Astana, Blanco and Omega Pharma-QuickStep.


The Wiggins chasing group - which was about one minute in arrears - is now just 25 seconds down. Sky are pulling in unison - like Sunday's team time trial. Back with the leaders, FDJ and Omega Pharma-QuickStep are setting the pace.


Vincenzo Nibali was caught up in the crash too. The Italian has two Astana team-mates alongside him and, with Wiggins and his Sky team-mates, they are fighting back into contention. The peloton has eased up so it looks like it will get back together. But for some it will be harder - Scarponi was severely delayed, while GreenEdge's Leigh Howard fell badly and could be seen with his DS pouring water on his collarbone. Fingers crossed...


It looks like the main peloton is knocking off the pace after the crash. The big issue was the barriers on the finish straight, which meant no one could get through the mangled twist of bikes and bodies. Ryder Hesjedal is in the main pack, so the defending champion managed to avoid the spill.


Katusha now drilling it on the front for pink jersey Paolini - as well as FDJ. That crash was a major flashpoint with half the peloton affected, if not more. Wiggins was held up for a very long time. Michele Scarponi needed a bike change and will have to recoup about two or three minutes...


Bike change for Bradley Wiggins, who is now being paced back by four Team Sky team-mates. The riders pass through the finish line for the first time - and there's been another big crash on the closing straight - and it's come to a complete standstill. Bad news for Wiggins - he's caught up behind all that.


There hasn't been a clean sprint yet in this year's Giro. In the only two previous bunch affairs, stage one and stage five, crashes near the finish meant many of the main contenders were held up. It would be really good to see the likes of Cavendish, Bouhanni, Degenkolb, Viviani and Goss go head-to-head properly today.


The two escapees - Cameron Wurf and Jack Bobridge - are caught by the peloton. Meanwhile, off the back of the peloton, Stefano Garzelli is receiving treatment on his right hand. He won the Giro way back in 2000.


CRASH: There's a touch of wheels in the middle of the peloton causing numerous riders to hit the deck. It's nothing serious though. Juan Jose Cobo of Movistar is involved once again - he's been in the wars this week. His team-mate Eros Capecchi is there as well, and riders from BMC, Euskaltel, Katusha and Vini Fantini. Domenico Pozzovivo of Ag2R-La Mondiale was caught up there as well.


With the gap down to just one minute, Cameron Wurf stuffs his jersey with water bottles which he will soon enough distribute amongst his Cannondale team-mates to give them one final drink before the hard work of leading out their man Elia Viviani for the sprint.


The finish today includes two 16km circuits of Margherita di Savoia before what should be a ding-dong bunch sprint.


CRASH: Lotto Belisol's Brian Bulgac hits the deck. He's been in the wars today - earlier it looked like he was getting treatment for a bee sting to the upper lip. Svein Tuft of GreenEdge comes a cropper too. It's the Canadian's birthday today - so that's a nice present.


Wurf and Bobridge have 1:40 over the pack. They're not going to stay out until the end - but at least Wurf has some more breakaway kilometres in his legs. He's going for the 'Fuga' prize for the most attacking rider in this year's Giro.


Is that a hunchback in orange? No, it's Miguel Minguez of Euskaltel with bidons stuffed inside his jersey. The last time he did that - on the final climb towards the end of stage three - he threw them all away after changing his mind and going for a last-gasp attack from the faltering break. Water waste, eh?


CRASH: But it's an official race scooter and not a rider who hits the deck. Driver and passenger appear to be okay, but that came right after a tight bend - on the side of the road just in front of the entire Omega Pharma team. It was also caught on camera and right in front of hundreds of fans - so fairly embarrassing for those involved.


The peloton are just letting those two escapees - Cameron Wurf (Cannondale) and Jack Bobridge (Blanco) - hang out in front. They have 2:20 over the pack as the pass through an extremely animated town centre. The pavements are lined with cheering people - with pink flags and hats galore. Wonderful scenes in the cobbled streets of Andrea.


Pink jersey Luca Paloni is wearing his special aero helmet today - it looks like something snowboarders wear. As the TV camara focuses on the Italian, Paolini darts out of the peloton and gets pulled along in the slipstream of the vehicle for a bit while smiling at the camera. That's all there is to do at the moment - the calm before the storm.


Everyone expects Cavendish to win today, but there are a fair few sprinters who will be eyeing a victory: Goss, Viviani, Degenkolb, Bouhanni, Felline, Ferrari, Nizzolo, Modolo, Sabatini, Gatto, Chicchi, Bennati, Visconti, Vicioso, Appollonio, Hunter, Gavazzi... Who do you think will win today? Have your say below or on Twitter @saddleblaze.


Former maglia rosa Salvatore Puccio needs a wheel change because of a puncture but the Sky man is back on his way without too much ado. OPQS and FDJ are sharing pace-setting duties on the front of the pack. It's Laurent Pichon in pole position - his chin covered by a huge strap following that big fall in stage one.


Wurf and Bobridge have 2:25 over the peloton, which crawls to a halt during the feed zone. One of the riders on the wrong side has stopped to pick up his lunch. He may try and climb over the barrier - but it's about four feet high...


Three riders (Vini Fantini and Bardiani Valvole) have made a bit of a blunder by trying to take a short cut at a roundabout: they're currently riding down the wrong side of the duel carriageway, with a large ramp splitting them from the peloton. There's no traffic on the other side because the road is closed - but there's no obvious way to get back onto the right side of the road - plus the peloton are approaching the feed zone so they may miss their lunch...


Viviani once again takes three points for third place in the sprint ahead of Cavendish, who didn't really compete for that one. Clearly keeping his powder dry for the grande finale. Now the race heads inland for a little loop (that includes that ever so slight rise in gradient) before returning to the coast for yet another beachside finish.


The two leaders pass through the second intermediate sprint at Barletta with Wurf taking the points, uncontested, ahead of Bobridge. Back in the peloton, Cannondale get their train working for this second sprint - which has come just moments after the opening one.


The temperature is up to 24 degrees Celsius as Taylor Phinney rides up alongside David Millar and pats his aero Giro helmet in front of the cameras. He's goofing around now, but the American youngster has been suffering a bit with illness these past few days. He hopes to be back on top for Saturday's time trial. The gap of the two leaders is three minutes now.


Wurf takes the maximum eight points at the intermediate sprint ahead of Bobridge. Back in the peloton, Cannondale throw down the hammer to set up their man Elia Viviani, who outsprints Mark Cavendish for third place. The riders get 4 and 3 points respectively. Those three points see Cav above Degenkolb in the points standings - and he could be in red tonight.


The Australian duo now only have 3:30 over the pack as the peloton approached the first intermediate sprint of the day.


Today is the second anniversary of the death of Wouter Weylandt, the 26-year-old Belgian QuickStep rider who was killed after crashing heavily on a descent on stage three of the 2011 Giro. Weylandt's race number - 108 - has not been used in the race since the fatal accident.


Quick Step and FDJ come to the front of the peloton - they're working for their men Cavendish and Bouhanni. OPQS had a bit of a torrid day yesterday - first, Gianluca Brambilla suffered a big fall, then Cavendish couldn't make the selection on the final Cat.4 climb of the day and it was game over.


Bobridge is actually riding his third Giro d'Italia - although the youngster has yet to complete the gruelling three-week stage race. He made his Giro debut back in 2010 as a wee 20-year-old but abandoned on stage 13. Last year he made it as far as stage 20 before calling it a day en route to the Stelvio - just one day before the finish. Bobridge picked up a silver medal for Australia for the team pursuit event in the London 2012 velodrome.


The wonderfully names Cameron Wurf is a 29-year-old former Olympic lightweight rower who rejoined Cannondale this season after a year away at minnows Champion System. The Tasmanian finished 5th in the 2011 Tour of Turkey but is still looking for his first major UCI win. This is his second appearance in the Giro after a debut ride into 77th place in 2010.


Jack Bobridge is a 23-year-old track specialist who joined Blanco this season after losing faith with Australian national team Orica-GreenEdge after just one year. After two years at Garmin, Bobridge became the national road race champion after a daring solo break ahead of joining GreenEdge. Earlier this year, Bobridge revealed that he suffers from chronic arthritis in his joints that requires weekly treatment. He is confident, however, that it will not stall his career.


The temperature is pretty clement today - 21 degrees Celsius - as the sun shines down. No chance of the kind of rain that gave Matera a right monsoon yesterday. This dynamic Antipodean duo now have a lead of 6:15 over the pack. Neither of the riders are a threat on GC, with Wurf the better placed of the two but nevertheless still half an hour down on Luca Paolini in the standings. But that's not the issue today - it's all about the final bunch sprint.


The lead is growing quickly now for these two escapees. 5:42 at the latest check. Cameron Wurf was involved in the break in the opening stage of the race. In fact, he was the last-man standing of the break on the Naples street circuit.


The gap has grown to 2:15 for the two Australian leaders. Today's stage is not so much "pancake flat" as "fried egg flat", what with a slight but certainly perceptable uncategorised mound in the middle.


That's actually quite a clever move by Cannondale - the team of sprinter Elia Viviani. They won't be obliged to do any chasing down unlike Omega Pharma (Cavendish), Argos Shimano (Degenkolb), FDJ (Bouhanni), GreenEdge (Goss) et al. The Australian duo have a minute over the pack as they approach the city of Bari.


ATTACK: Two Australians are clearly game for a laugh today as Jack Bobridge (Blanco) and Cameron Wurf (Cannondale) edge ahead of the peloton.


No attempts made to form a break as yet. Perhaps they all know that there's no way the teams of the sprinters are going to let this opportunity slip through their hands today. American youngster Taylor Phinney has a mechanical issue and drops back to his team car. That's about it so far.


Italian climber Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani Valvole) picked up maximum points over the two Cat.4 ascents yesterday - the first from the breakaway group and the second after a little dig on the climb, 20km from the finish. But it's his countryman Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) who still tops the blue mountain jersey standings - he has 14 points to Pirazzi's 11.


Winner yesterday, John Degenkolb wears the red jersey for today's stage - although the German sprinter does not top the point standings. That accolade goes to Luca Paolini, but he's in the maglia rosa. Degenkolb's win put him level on points with the Australian Cadel Evans (BMC). They have 30 points to Paolini's 35. Victory for Cavendish today could put the Omega Pharma-Quick Step sprinter back in red - he's currently lurking on 28 points.


204 riders took to the start today following the withdrawal of Argos Shimano's Cheng Ji. The Chinese rider joins Frenchman Sandy Casar (FDJ) and Spaniard Pablo Urtasan (Euskaltel) as first-week casualties.


They're off! This seaside stage through the region of Puglia is under way - with the whole world expecting a ding-dong bunch sprint in four hours' time.


No changes in the overall standings with Italy's Luca Paolini (Katusha) retaining his 17 second advantage over Rigoberto Uran (Team Sky). Benat Intxausti (Movistar) is third at 26 seconds, before the trio of race favourites - Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) and Bradley Wiggins (Sky) - all clustered together in fourth, fifth and sixth, 31, 34 and 34 seconds down respectively.


After all the rain yesterday, the sun is out in a bright blue sky for the start of this short stage, which is the flattest so far in the 96th edition of the Giro and seems to have Mark Cavendish's name all over it. Cavendish, along with Matt Goss, finished well off the pace yesterday after being dropped on the final climb 15km from Matera.


Yesterday, German youngster John Degenkolb proved the strongest in a splintered finish in Matera depite a crash by his last Argos-Shimano lead-out man. Degenkolb's team-mate Luka Mezgec hit the tarmac coming out of the final bend of the 203km stage from Cosenza - leaving Italy's Marco Canola (Bardiani Valvole) alone on the front inside the final kilometre. But Degenkolb avoided the ensuing melee and managed to reel back Canola inside the closing 200m to take a maiden Giro d'Italia stage win.


Welcome to live coverage of stage six of the Giro d'Italia, a flat 169km ride up the Adriatic Coast from Mola di Bari to Margherita di Savoia. My name is Felix Lowe and I'll be describing all the action as Mark Cavendish tries to get his Giro d'Italia back on track with a second win. You can also get regular updates on Twitter @saddleblaze.