UAE-Team Emirates received some relief on Thursday as its rider Valerio Conti seized the Giro d’Italia’s pink jersey from Primož Roglič–the Jumbo-Visma rider obviously thinking of the weeks ahead–after the success of a breakaway. On Tuesday the team yanked Juan Molano from the race due to a red flag in the squad’s internal testing, and on Wednesday withdrew Kristijan Durasek from the Tour of California based on findings in Operation Aderlass. Fausto Masnada of Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec earned the stage victory, the first Italian stage winner of the 102nd edition and the first wildcard winner since 2016.

After two wins in the Tour of the Alps and the Giro Stage 6 victory, expect Masnada in a WorldTour jersey next year. Photo: Sirotti

The Course

The sting was in the tail of stage 6, the second longest in the 102nd edition, with a Cat. 2 climb cresting 19 km before the finish line in San Giovanni Rotondo with some rolling terrain in between. The riders would be relieved that they weren’t lashed with rain as on Wednesday.

Primož Roglič Crashes

Canada’s Guillaume Boivin was part of a failed breakaway early. Before the day’s raft of thirteen escapees had even formed, Primož Roglič, Mikel Landa and several others were caught up in a crash. Roglič needed to be cleaned up and needed to chase back on. Meanwhile, Sunweb’s bad luck continued as Robert Power had to abandon, having gone down in the same wreck.

There was plenty of speculation that Roglič would let the pink jersey go on Thursday to alleviate the pressure on him and his team. Midway through the stage the gap to the breakaway was 4:20, but with 100 km to go the thirteen up front had a 6:20 lead.

Breakaway Battle

By the foot of the 14-km, 4.4 percent Cat 2 Coppa Casarinelle climb, it seemed likely that the breakaway, riding a 5:00 gap, would survive. But would one of the fugitives be able to snag the pink jersey? Masnada and Conti powered away from their breakmates.

There was a weird dog moment on the climb for the two leaders.

Masnada and Conti crested 30 seconds ahead of a trio of chasers. Could they survive the roller coaster remaining? The duo beat on with cooperation and held off the chase, with Masnada taking the win and Conti taking the race lead. Masnada recently won two stages of the Tour of the Alps. Conti becomes the first Italian in pink since Vincenzo Nibali in 2016, ahead of new best young rider classification leader Giovani Carboni (Italy/Bardiani-CSF) by 1:41 in the GC.

Boivin led the peloton home over 7:00 later. Roglič, Simon Yates, Nibali and Angel Lopez went from first, second, third and fourth to eleventh, thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth in the overall standings.

Boivin leads the peloton home over seven minutes after Masnada’s celebration. Photo: Sirotti

2019 Giro d’Italia Stage 6
1) Fausto Masnada (Italy/Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) 5:45:01
2) Valerio Conti (Italay/UAE-Team Emirates) +0:04
3) JJ Rojas (Spain/Movistar) +0:37
13) Guillaume Boivin (Canada/Israel Cycling Academy) +7:17

2019 Giro d’Italia GC

1) Valerio Conti (Italay/UAE-Team Emirates) 25:22
2) Giovani Carboni (Italy/Bardiani-CSF) +1:41
3) Nans Peters (France/AG2R) +2:09
144) Guillaume Boivin (Canada/Israel Cycling Academy) +40:07

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