12/05/16 - 11:50
Ponte - Aremogna
Giro d'Italia • Stage6

Ponte - Aremogna

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So, Dumoulin might have lost time to Fuglsang and Zakarin but he effectively increases his lead in the maglia rosa, while Nibali drops to ninth from sixth. It's all pretty close though - and that's a very strong top ten.


Wellens won by 1:19 in the end with Fuglsang and Zakarin pipping Dumoulin for the bonus seconds. It was quite a stellar top ten, while Nibali finished 17th in a group with Mikel Landa 1:43 down on Wellens and 21 seconds behind Dumoulin.


The main pack of favourites come home in dribs and drabs about 15 seconds later... confirmation of the time differences coming up.


It's all about those bonus seconds now as the chasers do battle at the finish... and it's Fuglsang who takes them ahead of Zakarin and Dumoulin - 1:20 down on the winner.


Victory for Tom Wellens of Lotto-Soudal! And the Belgian stops in his steps after crossing the line before picking his bike up above his head. Bravo!


This will be the seventh win of Wellens' career but by far the biggest. Behind, the Dumoulin group have caught the chasing duo.


Under the flamme rouge goes Tim Wellens and the road is about to rise to the finish - but he's got over two minutes to play with so the victory is practically in the bag.


Dumoulin has been joined by Pozzovivo and Zakarin. They have Fuglsang and Siutsou in their sights...


Nibali is reeled in after Sky lead the chase through Landa. And then Dumoulin puts in a huge dig in pink!


SHARK ATTACK: Nibali dances on the pedals just as Bisolti is being caught by the pack. He opens up a small gap.


Wellens is back in time trialling mode as he hits one of the flatter sections before the final kick up to the finish.


Ah, there's Zhupa - he's caught Didier. But Bisolti is only a bit further up the road. Wellens is looking good for the win but he'll have no time to ease up - he has 3:10 over the chasing duo with the pack a further 30 seconds back. Dumoulin is now back in pink in the virtual standings.


Didier has cracked and been dropped by Bisolti. We've had no sighting of Zhupa for a while so he's presumably been swallowed by the pack - or will soon be caught by Fuglsang and Siutsou. It's worth adding that Siutsou is currently second in the virtual standings - a few seconds ahead of Dumolin and 12 down on Fuglsang.


Fuglsang is the virtual pink jersey: the Dane started the day 35 seconds down on Dumoulin and is currently riding 46 seconds clear of the main pack.


So far so good for Wellens, who could win his maiden Grand Tour stage a few days after his 25th birthday.


Scrap that - it's Movistar who have now come to the front of the pack.


We're onto that flat section between the two halves of the climb. Didier has been caught by Bisolti but they're not making any in-roads on lone leader Wellens. The Belgian has 4:10 on Fuglsang and Siutsou and 4:45 on the Giant/Astana-led pack of main favourites.


Lopez's attack came to nothing but his former Sky colleague, Kanstantin Siutsou of Dimension Data, has managed to bridge the gap.


Now Giant-Alpecin have taken things up on the front with two men alongside Tom Dumoulin, the race leader. Wellens has 45 seconds on Didier, 4:30 on Fuglsang and 4:55 on the pack.


The pace is very high and Astana have managed to really thin out the peloton. Damiano Cunego, the blue jersey, is one of the many riders who have been dropped. The gap is down to 4:40 for lone leader Tim Wellens - just as Astana send a man up the road in Jakob Fuglsang. Sky reply by sending David Lopez in pursuit. This is shaping up nicely.


It's a staircase of a climb this one, rising to a maximum gradient of 12% on this first ramp before flattening out for a few kilometres ahead of the second half. It flattens out near the top once again ahead of the final 1km which is at 7%.


Astana are driving the pace back in the peloton for their man Vincenzo Nibali, but all eyes are on Wellens who is time trialling his way up this climb with his arms nonchalantly resting on the bars.


And now Wellens has a pop! The Belgian zips clear provoking a response by Didier, but he can't close the gap. The two initial escapees, Zhupa and Bisolti, have no answer.


ATTACK: The first dig comes from the rangy Luxembourgeois Laurent Didier of Trek-Segafredo. Zhupa manages to close the gap, soon joined by Wellens and then Bisolti.


Pim Ligthart has been dropped by this leading group having buried himself for his Lotto-Soudal team-mate Tim Wellens.


The leaders are onto the final climb to Roccaraso (17km at 4.7%). They have 6:30 to play with.


The leaders are passing through the town of Castel di Sangro where the second intermediate sprint is located. Ian Boswell of Team Sky almost came a cropper when riding into the grass verge. Lampre-Merida are back on the front and the gap is seven minutes.


CRASH: Matteo Tosatto, the Italian veteran at Tinkoff, has hit the deck and needs mechanical assistance. It's all a bit scrappy at the moment in the peloton, with riders losing attention and being caught out.


The five leaders are over the uncategorised climb and are dropping down to the intermediate sprint. The acceleration by Orica-GreenEdge has seen the gap come down to 7:20 but it looks to be too little too late for the Australian team - certainly in terms of procuring a stage win.


Marcel Kittel, the red jersey, has been dropped by the pack and is riding with two Etixx team-mates. Elia Viviani is there for Team Sky too. Both men will be thinking more about tomorrow's finish in Foligno, which could be a sprint.


CRASH: Francesco Bongiorno (Bardiani-CSF) touches wheels and hits the deck towards the back of the pack.


Now Orica-GreenEdge have taken up the tempo-setting on the front of the pack, paving the way for their man Estaban Chaves. The Colombian is currently 11th on GC some 37 seconds behind Dumoulin. He won two stages in the Vuelta too, so this kind of finish wuill suit him well.


The five leaders have 8:45 over the pack with that final climb to the finish coming right up. They're on the unategorised climb ahead of the intermediate sprint and riding 5km ahead of the peloton. The road will then drop before the second intermediate sprint ahead of the final climb to the finish.


It's looking increasingly like the winner today will come from one of these five guys... or am I getting a bit carried away with myself? Perhaps once the GC favourites and big teams throw down the hammer, it will come tumbling down.


This sums up how easy the peloton are taking things right now...


The gap is now up to seven minutes for the peloton after the pace slowed in the peloton after the pink jersey, Tom Dumoulin, dropped back to his Giant-Alpecin team car. So it's starting to look good for one of these riders. I reckon Wellens is a good bet - especially seeing that he has a team-mate in Pim Ligthart there with him.


They're combining well in the break but you sense that they'll be pretty zonked by the time the final climb comes along. It's all relaxed and bunched up back in the peloton, who still trail the leaders by just under six minutes.


Giant-Alpecin are back on the front - perhaps because of that Valverde development. The Spaniard has three Movistar team-mates with him but they're only just rejoining the back of the pack, which is travelling very fast. In spite of this, the five-man break have increased their lead to 5:55.


Another big favourite for today's stage is Alejandro Valverde, but the Spanish veteran has just picked up a puncture and is undergoing a very lengthy wheel change with his Movistar mechanics.


The Lampre-Merida team of Tuesday's winner Diego Ulissi have come to the front of the peloton to set the tempo. Ulissi has been tipped for glory in this stage too, so perhaps they're setting the balls in motion...


CRASH: Italy's Valerio Agnoli (Astana) and Alexey Tsatevich (Katusha) touch wheels and crumple in a heap. They exchange a few choice words before getting on their way.


The two groups have joined and so we do indeed have five riders out ahead: Tim Wellens and Pim Ligthart (both Lotto Soudal), Laurent Didier (Trek-Segafredo), Eugert Zhupa (Wilier-Southeast) and Alessandro Bisolti (Nippo-Vini Fantini). So it's a Belgian, a Dutchman, a Luxemberger, an Algerian and an Italian. They have five minutes.


It looks like we'll have a five-man leading group soon because Wellens, Ligthart and Didier are closing in on Zhupa and Bisolti. The peloton is give minutes back now. Wellens is the danger man - he's a tidy climber.


We're halfway through the stage and the riders have passed through the feedzone at the turning to Campitello Matese, where Benat Inxhausti - then of Movistar - dropped Sebastien Reichenbach to solo to victory last year. The two leaders have 1:55 over the chasing trio and 4:10 over the peloton.


ATTACK: Lotto Soudal pair Tim Wellens and Pim Ligthart are clearly fed up with the sluggish pace in the peloton and bound clear of the pack, taking Laurent Didier (Trek-Segafredo) with them. None are a threat on GC and they are granted their time in the sun.


No signs of that rain now at all - besides a few unzipped jackets flapping in the wind. The sun is out and the sky blue. Those two leaders have managed to extend their lead to three minutes again. Kolobnev will be kicking himself for not staying out a bit longer!


Andre Greipel, yesterday's winner, must have edged ahead on the descent because he's just been reabsorbed into the peloton while taking down an energy gel.


Movistar are on the front but they're not setting a huge tempo. There's a bit of indecision because no one really knows who is here in this main pack, and who isn't. It's certainly not a full peloton, so there could be something gained by increasing the tempo, but then again, perhaps that wouldn't be the sporting thing to do...


Zhupa, who's doing his best Marcel Kittel impression by donning a red rain jacket, has been rejoined by Bisolti so we have two men out in front with 45 seconds to play with.


The sun's out now although the roads are still very wet. Kolobnev has just been caught by the pack. Zhupa is 50 seconds clear and Bisolti somewhere between. They've completed the descent and are now riding the flat section ahead of the feedzone.


Zhupa is riding solo on the front now - he's certainly the most comfortable of the three leaders on this slippery downhill. In fact, Kolobnev and Bisolti may well have been caught by the Movistar-peloton. The whole pack has really strung out and it will be interesting to see if the front pushes on once they hit the valley, or if it all regroups as a question of etiquette.


Movistar have reined it in a bit - it's really that dicey, this descent. Joaquim Jose Rojas is on the front of the pack, which has reduced the gap to just 1:15 on the three escapees on this slow-motion descent.


Bisolti got 15 points for crossing the summit, which put him in thr virtual lead of the blue jersey by one point for all of four minutes until his team-mate Cunego picked up four points for fourth place and moved back into the hot seat by three points...


Movistar have taken up the chase on the front of the peloton, very much throwing caution to the wind on what looks like a very slippery descent in this weather.


It's pretty wet out there which is why the helicopters have had trouble relaying the TV images. The three leaders are currently taking this descent very gingerly, with Zhupa about 50 metres ahead of his two fellow escapees.


The three leaders have crested the summit of the Cat.2 Bocca delle Selva and it was Alessandro Bisolti who took the points ahead of Alexandr Kolobnev and Eugert Zhupa. Bisolti's Nippo-Vini Fantini team-mate Damiano Cunego led the peloton over 4:11 in arrears to consolidate his lead at the top of the blue jersey mountains classification, ahead of climbing livewire Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani-CSF).


Giant-Alpecin are still controlling the pack as the three leaders approach the summit of this first climb of the day.


The final rider in this break is the experienced Russian Alexandr Kolobnev of Gazprom-Rusvelo, who is riding his forth Giro and 12th Grand Tour in total. His best ever Grand Tour finish came in his first ever one - the 2005 Giro, which he finished 21st. He's never won a stage on the Giro, Tour or Vuelta, but he had four pro wins to his name including stage three of Paris-Nice in 2007.


Italian Alessandro Bisolti is riding his third Giro d'Italia, having finished 74th in his debut in 2010 (for Colnago-CSF) and 49th last year for Nippo-Vini Fantini. The 31-year-old has no professional wins to his name.


Let's take a closer look at this break, starting with the only Algerian in the race - Eugert Zhupa. The 26-year-old is riding his second Giro d'Italia after finishing 157th in his debut Grand Tour last season. Zhupa's only pro win was the Algerian national time trial championships in 2015.


The gap is still around the 6:50 mark for the three leaders, who are a few kilometres away from the summit of this first climb.


As for Sean Kelly, Rob's co-commentator in the Eurosport box, he thinks the win will go to a fellow Irishman: Nicolas Roche of Team Sky.


I spoke to Eurosport commentator Rob Hatch this morning and asked him for a prediction for the win today... His answer? The Shark - Vincenzo Nibali, of Astana.


There are currently no images of the race because the relay helicopter cannot get close enough to the camera on the ground owing to the bad weather...


Giant-Alpecin are on the front of the pack doing their duty for the maglia rosa. The rain that marred the start has gone but it's pretty blustery at the finish and all the fans seem pretty well wrapped up so it must still be quite cold in the ski resort of Roccaraso.


We're on the lower slopes of the Cat.2 Bocca della Selva climb (18.3km at 5.4%). The gap is 6:40 for the three leaders.


The gap has ballooned to six minutes now for the three leaders while the camera focuses on maglia rosa Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) taking it easy near the front of the peloton. Can the big Dutchman hold onto the race lead today or will he see his pink tunic torn from his broad shoulders by one of the other race favourites?


The peloton is riding pretty slowly in a block, with a wall or four or five riders on the front. A few riders kicked clear half-heartedly to mop up the remaining intermediate sprint points but so far there's really no concern in the pack. None of the leading trio are a threat on GC, with Kolobnev the best-placed on GC almost eight minutes down on Tom Dumoulin in 76th place.


Right, so the three riders who have broken clear are Alexandr Kolobnev (Gazprom), Alessandro Bisolti (Nippo) and Eugert Zhupa (Wilier-Southeast). The gap is 2:45 for the break. They have just passed through the intermediate sprint and it was the Russian Kolobnev who took the spoils. Here's the break in action...


There's a blue jersey up for grabs today. Italian veteran Damiano Cunego (Nippo) currently wears the maglia azzura after notching 14pts over the past two Cat.3 climbs of the race.


Those five riders never opened up more than 15-odd seconds and were easily reeled in by the pack before three other riders managed to edge clear.


BREAK: We have five riders currently rolling along ahead of the peloton. They are Artem Ovechkin (Gazprom), Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre-Merida), Giacomo Berlato (Nippo), Marco Coledan (Trek-Segafredo), Daniel Martinez (Wilier-Southeast).


The live TV images are starting early today so we should have pictures ahead of the intermediate sprint which precedes the first climb. At the moment, Maarten Tjallingii and Daniel Oss are tied at the top of the intermediate sprint standings with two apiece, while Tjallingii trails both Arnaud Demare (86) and Marcel Kittel (106) in the red jersey points classification.


We could well see a shake up in the overall standings tonight with all the sprinters and rouleurs dropping down the standings and the main GC riders coming to the fore. The climbs aren't huge but the stage is short and that always encourages attacking riding and big time gaps. Today we should see the likes of Vincenzo Nibali, Alejandro Valverde, Mikel Landa and Rafal Majka either underline their credentials or make the headlines for the wrong reasons...


193 riders rolled out of Ponte to get this sixth stage under way. Here's what they have in store: two second-category climbs, each preceded by an intermediate sprint...


And it's wet at the start today in Ponte - although, for now, it's cleared at the finish at the ski resport of Roccaraso.


Luxembourg's Bob Jungels (Giant-Alpecin) took fourth place and slashed his deficit to race leader Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) by four seconds thanks to a split on the front of the pack. Dutchman Dumoulin, the maglia rosa, now leads Jungels by 16 seconds at the top of the standings with Tuesday's stage 4 winner Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) in third a further four seconds back. GC riders Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) were placed at the back of the leading group and were able to steal four precious seconds back from their pink jersey rivals thanks to a split between the top fourteen riders and the rest of the main pack.


Yesterday, German veteran Andre Greipel won a tough uphill sprint in Benevento by a country mile to open up his account in a lumpy fifth stage of the Giro d'Italia. Greipel, the powerful 33-year-old sprinter from Lotto-Soudal, launched his drive to the line early on the final punchy flagstone ramp, spotting a gap and never looking back as he roared to the fourth Giro stage scalp of his career. Frenchman Arnaud Demare (FDJ) won the distant battle for second ahead of Italy's Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF) after the red jersey and pre-stage favourite Marcel Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep) was dropped on the challenging finish circuit at the end of the 233-kilometre stage from Praia a Mare.


Hello and welcome to live coverage of stage six of the Giro d'Italia - and it's the first uphill mountain finish of the race in a short and sharp 157km stage from Ponte to Roccaraso that should see the big GC favourites come out and play.