At 238-kilometers long, today’s stage was one of the longest of this year’s Corsa Rosa and with the parcours potentially suited to a strong breakaway, it was no surprise to see riders fighting to make it into the right move.
CCC Team was active from the moment the flag dropped, sending riders up the road as part of the various early attacks before a group of 13 riders, including Antunes, was able to go clear after around 50 kilometers of nervous racing.
The breakaway was working well together and at the halfway point, Antunes and his fellow escapees were over five minutes ahead of the peloton, being led by race leader at the start of the day, Primož Roglič’s Team Jumbo – Visma teammates, and the gap continued to grow, peaking at 6 minutes 30 seconds.
Despite the leaders’ advantage falling, the gap was still sitting at over five minutes by the time they reached the foot of the day’s only cateorized climb, the Coppa Casarinelle, which topped out with less than 20 kilometers to go.
On the category two ascent, it was clear that the stage would be won from one of the riders in the breakaway and, as a result, the attacks began with Fausto Masnada (Androni Giocattoli – Sidermec) and Valerio Conti (UAE-Team Emirates) making a decisive move which eventually saw them take first and second place respectively.
Antunes was digging deep in the third group on the road with 10 kilometers to go and, with a top ten finish up for grabs, the Portuguese rider continued to show his strength on the rolling roads that led to San Giovanni Rotondo.
One final push on the uphill drag to the line saw Antunes finish tenth, 57 seconds behind the winner, and this effort also saw him move up into sixth overall after a shake-up for the General Classification saw Conti move into the pink jersey.
Víctor de la Parte, who started the day in 11th overall, finished with the Maglia Rosa group around seven minutes and 20 seconds back and now sits just outside the top twenty alongside many of the GC favorites.
Unfortunately, Laurens ten Dam was forced to abandon the Giro d’Italia in the opening kilometers of stage six after experiencing some pain in his ribs following a crash on stage two. An update from CCC Team doctor, Dr. Giovanni Ruffini is provided below.
Quotes From the Finish Line
“It was a hard and long day out at the front of the race but I am happy with how I felt today. There was a big fight to make it into the breakaway and we were all trying at the beginning. Once the group of 13 riders formed, we were all working well together because we knew there was a big possiblity that the breakaway would go all the way today.”
“When Masnada and Conti attacked on the climb, I tried to follow them but it was hard at the end of a really long stage. I was able to stick with the second chasing group though and fought for a top ten finish. This is my first Grand Tour and I wasn’t sure about my form coming into it so, I can take a lot of positive away from this result.”
“It great to be sitting in sixth on the General Classification and with Víctor also still in a good postion, I think we can feel good about our position overall at the moment.”
Sports Director, Gabriele Missaglia:
“I am happy with Amaro’s performance today. It was a long and hard stage but he did a great job in the breakaway all day. We knew we needed to have someone in there so we were trying right from the beginning of the stage and thankfully our efforts paid off. Amaro was looking good and although he wasn’t able to go with the winning move, we can take a lot of positives out of his effort today. He now sits sixth on the General Classification and with de la Parte still sitting with a time similar to the other overall favorites we now have two guys in a good position overall.”
CCC Team doctor, Dr. Giovanni Ruffini:
“Laurens was involved in a crash on stage two of the Giro d’Italia and hit his chest on his handlebars. X-Rays taken immediately after the stage showed no sign of fractures and so, both Laurens and the team decided that he would continue racing. However, over the last few days Laurens has been feeling some pain in his ribs and so today, the precautionary decision was made for him to stop racing in order to recover fully and ensure no further injury.”
Stage 6: Cassino > San Giovanni Rotondo (238km)
Top 3: 1. Fausto Masnada (Androni Giocattoli – Sidermec) 2. Valerio Conti (UAE-Team Emirates) 3. José Joaquiíín Rojas (Movistar Team)
CCC Team Top 3: 10. Amaro Antunes 45. Víctor de la Parte 65. Łukasz Owsian