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Giro d Italia stage 6 results, speeds in excess of 70 mph , ouch!!

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1600 CEST In the meantime, the two leaders went under the thirty-to-go banner.

Do we still have a race? Katusha joined the chasing machine up front, and with the strong winds blowing in the area not exactly playing into the leader's hands, the peloton might still have a chance. Team managers from both QS and Katusha, just interviewed "on the road", sounded (a little) confident indeed.

1605 CEST AAAAAARGH... Kiriyenka had a flat and had to stop to change his bike. Scarponi is alone off the front now. The aforementioned accident costed the Belarusian at least 28 seconds.


Stage 6 © 2009 Gazzetta dello Sport

 25 kilometres to go - 24 seconds now the difference between Scarponi and Kiryienka. Behind, Katyusha are on the front. Who's their man today? Not Ben Swift, surely?

 Gatto "caught" Bonnafond, but with their gap marching towards a hundred seconds, their only chance is to be chased down by the fast-paced bunch.

Katusha's man for stage honours could well be Pippo Pozzato today. And with the peloton further shrinking the gap to 02'26" at the latest check, the Italian can legitimately harbour some hopes now. Sure this isn't Ben Swift's day ... the Brit just punctured and has to waste his legs in a chase of the field now.

1616 CEST - Surprise, surprise: Vasil Kiryienka put in an extra-effort and managed to make contact with Scarponi again. The two are going to need to work together if they want to hold off the bunch.

The gap has tumbled to just 01'10". The bunch is hungry for a sprint today.

1620 CEST - Katusha and QS apparently take regular turns on the front of the flying pack. Uncertainty reigns in the "who's gonna win today" realm at this point in the stage.

Kiryienka is doing the lion's share of the work up front, desperate to take another stage in the Giro afer last year's fine win on Presolana. Perhaps Scarponi helped the Belarusian catch him by slowing his own pace a little. The Diquigiovanni rider realized that his chances to make it to the finish would be bigger with two men coperating up front.

1624 CEST - 10 to go. The gap is down to 01'40". Gatto and Bonnafond are swallowed by the gruppo, game over for those two brave fugitives.

And Kiriyenka dropped again! Cramps??? Looks like that. As he stretches his right leg, it would appear that way. The Belarusian can't follow the Italian any longer.

The gap is down to 01'22", as Scarponi gets down and aerodynamic into the drops. Diquigiovanni's Directeur Sportif Marco Bellini confirmed that Michele Scarponi was told to wait for Kiriyenka after the Belarusian NOT ONLY punctured once, but also had a mechanical. Too bad that Vasil's cramps messed up everything.

 1626 CEST - Eight to go. Michele Scarponi's lead is getting slimmer and slimmer: 80 seconds at the most recent check. And Team Columbia rushing to the front and giving signs of their will to join the chase are a bad omen for the solo leader.

Kiryienka's cramps are over, but it's gonna be hard for him to nullify the current gap (about twelve seconds) to Scarponi.

1629 CEST - One good news for the frontrunner at last: Katusha gave up the chase apparently. Six to go. The time deficit is marching toward the minute with Kiriyenka still in between at 24". 

The Jesi-born rider has had some problems of late: let's whisper "Puerto". But those are behind him now; instead, just five kilometres separate him from his first ever Grand Tour stage win.

1630 CEST - About five to go. And the gap is back to its growing ways: one minute, eight seconds!!

These roads are narrower than an anorexic supermodel, as the riders jump up onto the pavements just to move up the bunch. Michele's holding on, and with just two Quick Step riders now setting the pace back in the peloton, this isn't much of a surprise.

Kiriyenka is out of contention for stage honours: the gap went up to 36". The peloton stays a minute behind the Italian solo leader.  Barring a catastrophe, Michele Scarponi and the Gianni Savio's Diquigiovanni crew are going to win the stage today.

Kiryienka is only 20 seconds ahead of the bunch; is he going to hold on for second?  Hardly so. the Belarusian still has two looooooong kilometres to cover.

 1636 CEST - Scarponi is already under the flambe rouge. With the pack 55 seconds down, no way he's gonna lose. Vasil Kiriyenka caught by the pack. 500m to go for Scarponi.

There he goes, on the way to victory after staying clear for some 200 kilometres. 5 hours 50 minutes in the saddle, what a long day.

Lance Armstrong dropped by the first part of the group. 

1637 CEST - Michele Scarponiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii is the winner!!!

 Gent-Wevelgem winner and young gun Edvald Boasson Hagen wins the bunch sprint for second place at some 40 seconds. Armstrong comes in about 01'18" behind the winner. Lance lost a further 30 seconds or so to the (other) best overall contenders.

Top Ten Results
1. Scarponi
2. Boasson Hagen 32"
3. Allan Davis
4. Pippo Pozzato
5. Matthew Goos
6. Phillppe Gilbert
7. Enrico Gasparotto
8. Michael Rogers 36"

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