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Giro Stg 6: McEwen Delivers 1-2-KO!

This time last year, Fassa Bortolo could do nothing wrong. Today, though, it was a real screw-up as the Silver Train spectacularly derailed themselves. And the Davitamon-Lotto squad were in the right place at the right time to profit.

Fassa haven’t got too many excuses either today. There were 3 finishing circuits of 6kms today, and on the third they blew it. Barreling along at full-tilt, they overshot a corner, and smeared themselves all over the roadside. No asphalt ballet for Petacchi today, but his chances was toast after that. You’d have thought a squad as well-drilled as Fassa would have noted any corners likely to cause a problem, and just throttled back a touch, but ……

With Fassa out of the picture, Davitamon-Lotto were in the box seat, and even McEwen looked surprised to find himself up front …. with teammates! As a pre-emptive strike, Henk Vogels launched himself with 1 km to go. The Aussie veteran was powering away, and after his injury nightmare of the last couple of seasons, most observers were willing him to stay clear.

Paride Grillo took it upon himself to chase, but he was using all his energy giving McEwen a free ride to the finish, and yet another Aussie stage win was on the board once McEwen swept past in the final 50 metres for the win. A perfect 1-2, with knockout blow for good measure.

There was plenty of action earlier on, as the riders faced a slightly cooler day than yesterday, on a lumpy course. Paolo Bettini put more of his frustration to good use by getting in an early break and taking the Intergiro sprint – the 6-second bonus put him back in pink, so he and Di Luca will be swapping jerseys tonight.

Heading into the end of week 1, and the distances and speeds are starting to take a toll. There were a few abandons today – Julian Dean out after a fall, Marlon Perez will register a DNF. Ex-mountains king Freddy Gonzalez didn’t start, and with the Fassa calamity, there were a lot of stragglers soft-pedalling to the line.

Rider Comments – Compiled by Michele Tomasi
• Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto): “After Fassa’s crash, my team went ahead and then in the finale, Vogels went away. Unluckily at 300 metres to go I knew he couldn’t win and so I gave it everything. This victory is for my whole team but I was really wanted Vogels to win. The victory is also for him”.

• Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo): “We were going well, but then Ongarato was too long. I don’t know exactly what happened, but at the end I couldn’t sprint. The train got off the rails…I was really wishing to do well in Toscana. I hope to get a revenge on Ravenna”.

• Paride Grillo (Ceramiche Panaria-Navigare): “They were too nervous and they crashed. I’m sorry for Petacchi, but more for myself and I was behind him. I finished 8th but it could be better”.

• Marco Velo (Fassa Bortolo): “It’s not possible to do a finale in this way. We were like in a criterium and it’s really dangerous! We’re not very lucky. Bruseghin was too fast in that corner and we all crash”.

• Gianpaolo Caruso (Liberty Seguros): “4 kilometres to go we almost kill ourselves, there was so much danger and the organization should do something to avoid it, they cannot put these finals. To us it has been OK and now it is necessary to see how we go tomorrow and on the ITT to analyze the race. At the present time I see very well Simoni and Cunego, but also I see Scarponi is better and better. I do not say it alone, the whole world in the pack starts bearing him in mind. The first days I was lacking a bit of competition rythm, but already I feel much better. I wait to be well when the mountains comes. My dream is to win a stage “.

• Stefano Garzelli (Liquigas-Bianchi): “Tomorrow we must keep an eye on Simoni cause he likes to surprise everyone when everyone is not expecting him, in strange stages. Me and Cioni will be ahead, and if for example anyone tries to go away, he could follow at first and I could save myself for the final sprint. In this first week we got a lot of stress, and it’s not been easy. But…we still have 2 weeks to go…”

Giro d’Italia Stage 6 Provisional Result Viterbo – Marina di Grosseto 153 kms

1 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto 3hrs 37’ 17”
2 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Credit Agricole
3 Volodymir Bileka (Ukr) Discovery Channel
4 Isaac Galvez (Spa) Illes Balears
5 Henk Vogels (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto
6 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Cofidis
7 Thomas Ziegler (Ger) Gerolsteiner
8 Paride Grillo (Ita) Ceramica Panaria
9 Markus Fothen (Ger) Gerolsteiner
10 Olaf Pollack (Ger) T-Mobile All same time

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 6 – Provisional
1 Paolo Bettini (Ita) QuickStep-Innergetic 29hrs 58’ 09”
2 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi + 3”
3 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Ceramica-Panaria + 31”
4 Dario David Cioni (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi + 34”
5 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Caffita + 36”
6 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi + 42”
7 Mauricio Ardila (Col) Davitamon-Lotto + 43”
8 Michele Scarponi Ita) Liberty-Seguros + 47”
9 Mirko Celestino (Ta) Domina Vacanze + 52”
10 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Lampre-Caffita same

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