McEwen Wins Stage 6 of Giro; Bettini Retakes Maglia Rosa
Robbie McEwen (Davitamon) has won Stage 6 of the Giro d?Italia. McEwen bested Jaan Kirsipuu (Credit Agricole) and Volodymyr Bileka (Discovery Channel) in a bunch sprint to win the 153-km run from Viterbo to Marina Di Grosseto in 3:37:17. Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) earned enough seconds to take the maglia rosa from Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas).
From the beginning, the racing was aggressive, but Quick Step kept control of the situation until the Intergiro at 64 km. Bettini won the Intergiro sprint and the 0:06 bonus that put him back in the maglia rosa. Juan Cobo (Saunier Duval) then attacked. The Spaniard forged a 1:30 lead before Fassa Bortolo began to chase.
Jos Rujano (Selle Italia), Dmitri Muravyev (Credit Agricole), Thierry Marichal (Cofidis), Thorwald Veneberg (Rabobank), and Sascha Urweider (Phonak) counterattacked. Muravyev and Rujano returned to the bunch. Cobo, however, waited for the others, who caught him at 95 km. The escapees led the Fassa Bortolo-led peloton by 1:00.
The bunch kept the break on a short leash and reeled it in with 18 km left. As the field started the first of three finishing circuits, a crash occurred. The field split into three groups, and Julian Dean (Credit Agricole) abandoned with a badly broken humerus. At the beginning of the second lap, La Francaise des Jeux led the lead group, but the second group merged with it. With four km remaining, Fassa Bortolo took over at the front, but the Italian squad?s hopes went out the window when Matteo Tosatto and Alessandro Petacchi crashed. Davitamon assumed command and shepherded McEwen to victory.
In the overall, Bettini leads Di Luca by 0:03 and Luca Mazzanti (Panaria) by 0:28. Stage 7 could change this state of affairs. The 211-km run from Grosseto to Pistoia will feature a steep, narrow, 4.5-km ascent to Salita di Sammomme (194 km), followed by a steep descent to the finish. Who will prevail? Di Luca? Bettini? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!