Giro, Avila sprints to 11th in crash-marred day
On cards, the 6th stage of the Giro d’Italia was arguably the easiest of those included in the first week of the Corsa Rosa. Instead, the almost pan-flat route from Mola di Bari to Margherita di Savoia (170 km) caused plenty of difficulties for several teams, with a number of crashes happened in the final part of the race.
Team Colombia’s Edwin Avila did a good job to move into the top-15 in the mass sprint won by Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) ahead of Elia Viviani (Cannondale) and Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge). El Kalimeno finished 11th despite being unable to rely to any teammate support, as the most of his fellow Team Colombia riders had been either involved or held back by a mass crash happened with 30 km to go. “I was feeling very strong at the end, but it was very hectic out there – Avila said – and I could hardly find a gap to move forward. Actually I thought I had less energy after three days with over 200 km, since it’s the first time I do that in my career, but I had very good legs instead: I could have finished even better, no doubt I will try again.” Italian Luca Paolini held on the pink jersey for the 4th day in a row.
A long break by Australians Cameron Wurf (Cannondale) and Jack Bobridge (Blanco) never really had a chance in a stage clearly destined for a bunch sprint. Nevertheless, the number of crashes into the final 60 km caused plenty of drama in the run-in. Leonardo Duque, Wilson Marentes and Fabio Duarte all went down on the day, only the latter suffering abrasions and a cut on his right knee that was sutured right after the race.
Despite losing time due to the crash, Team Colombia stack together and did an excellent team work to allow leaders Darwin Atapuma and Fabio Duarte to finish comfortably in the bunch, with the same time of Mark Cavendish.
General Manager Claudio Corti was glad his team managed escape such a day almost unscathed: “We thought this stage could prove tricky due to the wind, but we never expected so many crashes to happen. Fabio had his knee scratched again, but fortunately everyone managed to finish the race without severe injuries or time losses. It was good to see them work strong as a team to bring everyone back in.”
“Anyway, once again Avila showed his great quality as a sprinter, just shy of a top 10 with a very good effort. I think everybody will learn to know him pretty soon.”
Tomorrow, a very tough route expects the rider in the 7th stage, Marina di Salvo-Pescara of 177 km: a medium mountain stage with four categorized climbs and almost no flat sections will call attackers to the fore ahead of Saturday’s time trial test.
Photo: Edwin Avila did a good job, grazing the top-10 in Giro d’Italia stage 7