GIRO Stg 6: Petacchi Sings “Winning In The Rain”!
Another notch on the major stage race belt for serial winner Alessandro Petacchi today, as the riders surfed through a pretty nasty downpour to the finish in Valmontone.
It was warm enough early on as the riders headed towards Italy’s Lazio region, but the heavens opened in the latter stages leaving the tifosi huddled under umbrellas, and the podium girls wishing for water-proof mascara!
Petacchi’s Fassa Bortolo train derailed yesterday, but there was no hassle for the winning machine today. The blue-and-white boys kept things under control – almost. A last-ditch escape bid by Igor Astarloa was swallowed up within sight of the line after the World Champ had jumped for home just a couple of kilometres out.
Astarloa gambled on being able to take a couple of tricky bends on wet roads faster than the peloton and it looked like he may have hung on, but he got dragged back frustratingly close to the line.
Petacchi got his usual chaffeur-driven lift to the finish and comfortably rounded things off, with Olaf Pollack just leaving things too late – same happened yesterday when Robbie McEwen held off the German.
It looked for a while as if the field were going to take fewer risks in the rain, but as the line drew closer they just couldn’t help themselves, and upped the pace.
Hitting the line, the almost inevitable happened – Domina Vacanze riders Andrus Aug and Andris Nauduzs seemed to touch wheels with Aug thumping heavily to the deck. He was stretchered away, and looked in pretty beaten-up shape – a much heavier crash than the one that felled Cipollini the other day.
Speaking of Re Leone, he survived again today, and livened things up by attacking (yes, you did read that correctly!!) and then getting dropped. The latter act required almost his entire team to pull him back to the peloton.
Breakaway heroes on the day were Fortunato Baliani (Ceramiche Panaria) and Marco Fertonani (Phonak) who tried and failed to catch him. Baliani stayed clear until 18 kms to go.
Gilberto Simoni kept the Maglia Rosa with no problems today. Saeco produced another well-controlled performance to keep him out of harm’s way.
At least when Petacchi let the champagne fly, no one really minded too much because they were already soaked.
Rider Comments Complied by Michele Tomasi
Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo): “My team again did a wonderful job, and althought Velo left me early, I went away with a vengeance because I wanted this victory”.
Crescenzo D’Amore (Acqua&Sapone): “I have trouble breathing, and with days like today, with rain, I suffer more than usual. Still now I’m not able to breathe correctly. Anyway my team is doing everyday good work, and we really want to get a victory before the end of this Giro”.
Gilberto Simoni (Saeco): “Tomorrow it will be another hard day, and my team will have a big responsibility, but…I don’t wanna tell you our strategy. It will be a secret..”
Franco Pellizzotti (Alessio): “Tomorrow I hope to be with the best, as I’m feeling fine until now. I came here for improve my performance, and it means arrive in the top 5”.
Eddy Mazzoleni (Saeco): “Usually I stay ahead to not risk anything and so sometimes like yesterday and today I also play my card at the sprint. But of course I came here to help Simoni in the hills, and that’s my job”.
Giro d’ Italia Stage 6 Results
Spoleto – Valmontone 164 kms
1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 4hrs 00’ 55”
2 Olaf Pollack (Ger) Gerolsteiner
3 Alejandro Albert Borrajo (Arg) Ceramiche Panaria
4 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Saeco
5 Andris Nauduzs (Lat) Domina Vacanze
6 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Acqua & Sapone
7 Andrus Aug (Est) Domina Vacanze
8 Alexandre Usov (Blr) Phonak
9 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Domo
10 Michael Albasini (Swi) Phonak All at same time
Overall Classification after Stage 6
1 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saeco 27hrs 35’ 30”
2 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Saeco + 13”
3 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago + 21”
4 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi + 29”
5 Gerhard Trampusch (Aut) Acqua & Sapone + 41”
6 Giuliano Figueras (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria + 45”
7 Dario David Cioni (Ita) Fassa Bortolo + 52”
8 Serguei Gontchar (Ukr) De Nardi + 58”
9 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Vini Caldirola + 1’ 05”
10 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Saeco + 1’ 06”