Overall leader Michael Matthews claimed his first individual victory on the sixth stage of the Giro d’Italia on Thursday, but the race was marred by a crash which forced overall contender Joaquim Rodriguez and two Katusha teammates to withdraw.
The incident occurred on the wet road approaching the final climb and involved many cyclists, but the Katusha riders were the most seriously affected.
Rodriguez made it to the finish, 7 minutes, 43 seconds behind Matthews, while Movistar’s Nairo Quintana fell 2:08 behind the overall leader.
Rodriguez was diagnosed with a broken rib and left thumb, teammate Angel Vicioso had his right femur broken in three places and was being transported to Rome for surgery, while Giampaolo Caruso had large bruises.
“It hurts to leave the Giro, but there is no other option,” said Rodriguez, who already had two broken ribs from the Amstel Gold race. “The road was very slippery and we were going 60kph. Just touching your brakes was enough to crash... After the crash I got back on my bike immediately, more full of aggression and determination, but after a while I clearly felt what the problem was, as I could not breathe anymore.”
Rigoberto Uran, the Colombian Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider who was third overall, explained that the crash happened right in front of the peloton.
“All of the GC [general classification] guys went down or were held up, except [Cadel] Evans,” Uran said. “Fortunately, I only have a few scratches and a contusion on my left side, the elbow and hip specifically. Fortunately, it is nothing serious.”
Matthews won from a four-man breakaway, coming up the inside of Evans’ wheel to take victory on the Giro’s longest stage, a 257km route which ended in a climb up to Montecassino.
“I still can’t believe what happened,” Matthews said. “The team put me in a perfect position for the climb. We controlled the break and then it was up to me to defend the jersey. I didn’t think I’d be able to win the stage, too.”
“I’ve got to thank the team, they were incredible,” he said. “I was lucky to have Luke Durbridge in front of me, he did an awesome job. I wouldn’t be here without him on the climb.”
Tim Wellens was second and Evans third. Matteo Rabottini was the last of the escapees to cross the line, 49 seconds ahead of the chasing peloton.
Matthews was to wear the maglia rosa for a fifth day yesterday, with the Australian extending his lead to 21 seconds.
BMC Racing’s Evans moved into second place, gaining a lot of time on his rivals for the overall prize. Uran was third.
The sixth stage was to be the second longest, but it had to be extended by 10km to take a detour around a landslide.
With the route so lengthy, the peloton was content to let a breakaway group of 11 extend their lead to 14 minutes, before reeling it in with 12km remaining, just before the crash.
The crash split the peloton. A group of eight riders got away and moved quickly up the start of the 8.5km climb to the finish.
Daniel Oss, Steve Morabito, Luke Durbridge and Ivan Santaromita were dropped from the leading group, before Evans led the sprint over the final kilometer.
Yesterday’s seventh stage of 21 was another lengthy leg, with two categorized climbs along the 211km route from Frosinone to Foligno, Italy.
WEEKEND MATCHES: While Tatung FC made good on their chances early on, Taiwan Steel rallied to win the game 2-3 and move to the top with Taichung Futuro Sunday’s action saw Taichung Futuro, Taipower FC and Taiwan Steel tied for first place on 30 points in the Taiwan Football Premier League, while Hang Yuan FC picked up a point to take the No. 4 spot on 25 points after holding Taipower to a scoreless draw. In Taoyuan, Tatung FC hosted Taiwan Steel. It was an exciting matchup, as the visitors rallied from 2-0 down to take the game with three goals. Tatung made good on their chances early on. Honduran midfielder Elias Argueta opened the account 15 minutes into the game with a low shot from the right. Three minutes
Ronnie O’Sullivan delivered a scathing attack on the next generation of snooker players after he made the quarter-finals of the World Snooker Championship on Sunday, ending Chinese star Ding Junhui’s world championship dream. The mercurial 44-year-old Englishman won an enthralling high-quality second-round encounter 13-10 to set up a quarter-final clash with three-time champion Mark Williams. When asked by the BBC whether he thought he would remain at the top of the game for this long, the Briton, who turned professional in 1992, said the poor quality of younger players had secured his position and that something drastic would have to happen
Max Verstappen informed his Red Bull team that he would not be driving “like a grandma” in Formula One’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on Sunday — and he was as good as his word. The Dutch 22-year-old seized his opportunity at Silverstone, ending dominant Mercedes’ run of four successive wins this season and moving up to second place overall, 30 points behind leader Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen’s confidence shone through early on, after slotting into third place behind the two Mercedes, when he was told by race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase to take care of his tires. “Mate, this is the only chance of being
FULL GAME: Henry Sosa pitched nine innings for the Guardians, allowing only six hits all night, while the Monkeys’ offense were also shut out of their game Outfielder Lin An-ko carried a big bat this week — before his Uni-President Lions ran into the Fubon Guardians last night — blasting four home runs, including a grand slam as his side won four games in a row and moved into second on the CPBL table. However, the Lions could not sustain their super-charged offense for the whole week, as they were shut out 4-0 by the Guardians in New Taipei City. Fubon’s rookie catcher, Jhang Jin-de, took a page from Lin’s playbook. With two men on, Jhang smacked a three-run homer in the sixth inning. Henry Sosa of the Dominican Republic