Welcome to our stage 6 Baby Giro diary episode. Six stages in, four to go, and still plenty of challenges ahead for our diarists to negotiate.
Stage 6 from Bonferraro di Sorga to San Pellegrino Terme was the longest stage of the race at 177 kilometres. The first 144 of those were flat, until the peloton hit the 6% gradient, category 2 Selvino climb. From there it was a fairly technical, fast descent for 16 kilometres before flattening out to the finish.
The racing itself was a fairly straightforward affair. It began at a furious pace, with an average exceeding 51 kilometres an hour for the first two hours, as numerous riders attempted to get away. Eventually, a break of 13 formed that included Trinity Racing’s Ben Turner, but it was relatively short-lived. Asbjorn Hellemose from the Vc Mendrisio struck out on the climb, cresting the peak alone, but he was swept up by a select group of just 20 riders – including the main GC men – on the descent. As they approached the finish, Swiss Racing Academy’s Alois Charrin punched clear to win the stage, with the rest of the lead group crossing the line just a few metres after.
Both our diarist Tom Gloag and his roommate Ben Healy were in that front group, protecting their respective GC challenges. But Ben Turner slipped out of contention, finishing 8 and a half minutes back. Harrison, meanwhile, was 38th, a minute and 20 seconds behind Charrin.
On the GC, Tom remains in 4th, Ben Healy is in 8th, Harrison jumps up to 32nd, while Ben Turner is now in 38th. Daan Hoeks continues to be Holdsworth-Zappi’s best GC man in 50th overall.
Tomorrow could see much more movement in the general classification. Finishing in Lago di Campo Moro, the stage culminates in a monstrous 28.8 kilometre climb. The opening part is shallow and rolling, but the meat of the climb from Lanzada to about 2 kilometres to go is 12.2 kilometres at 7.6% gradient, and that’s where the real test lies.
As Josephy Doherty said in our race preview, “we’ve had some long climbs and some steep grades so far, but at this length and altitude, the best will rise to the top” and “if you have a bad day here, it’s race over … as there will be nowhere to hide.”
We have dispatches from Tom and Harrison in today’s episode. Tom is in chipper mood once again. He asks roommate Ben Healy for additional ‘insight’ too – if you can call it that. And a really thoughtful entry from Harrison, who tried hard to get into the break. He’s keen to test himself on stage 7, so it will be interesting to see how he fares.
Show sponsored by Continental Tyres.
Featured photo: Giro d’Italia Giovani Under-23