Mads Pedersen masterfully executed his sprint, securing victory in the Giro d’Italia’s sixth stage in Napoli on Thursday. In an unexpected twist, the final two breakaway riders were overtaken just 200m from the finish line.
Pedersen, representing Trek-Segafredo, has now triumphed in all three Grand Tours. This Giro win supplements his victory at the Tour de France last July and his three wins at the Vuelta a España.
“I’m pretty happy,” Pedersen admitted. “It’s what we came for so it’s nice to have a victory now. It was a tough day for the team and it’s nice to pay them back with this victory. [It is a] good day.”
Nonetheless, the real drama of the day wasn’t his victory, but rather the crushing disappointment faced by the last two breakaway riders, Alessandro De Marchi (Jayco AlUla) and Simon Clarke (Israel-Premier Tech), who were caught just before the 200m mark.
After dropping their fellow escapees – Charlie Quarterman (Corratec-Selle Italia), Alexandre Delettre (Cofidis) and Francesco Gavazzi (EOLO-Kometa) – on the day’s final ranked climb, the Picco Sant’Angelo, De Marchi and Clarke seemed set to clinch the win.
The main pack was unable to establish a cohesive chase along the winding Amalfi coast roads, resulting in the leading duo maintaining their lead until the very end.
Despite their promising position within the final kilometre, De Marchi and Clarke were overtaken with the finish line tantalizingly close.
“It was pretty close in the end. It wasn’t easy to catch them,” Pedersen reflected. “For a long time they have two minutes and we had to use basically everyone. And it wasn’t only us – all the sprinters had to use all the guys they had available. It was really not easy to catch them.
Naples embraces the Giro, the Giro embraces Naples 💗
Napoli abbraccia il Giro, il Giro abbraccia Napoli 💗#Giro #GirodItalia pic.twitter.com/F5VxTNCzZB
— Giro d'Italia (@giroditalia) May 11, 2023
“What was it – 300 metres to go we caught them? I feel sorry for those guys because they did really, really well, but I’m happy I could take the win.”
Fernando Gaviria (Movistar) initiated the final sprint, but Pedersen expertly followed and then surpassed him. Jonathan Milan (Bahrain-Victorious) followed in second, with Pascal Ackermann (UAE Team Emirates) in third. Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck), the winner of stage 5, finished fourth.
“It was pretty tough,” Pedersen noted. “I wanted to open a long sprint because we had to catch these guys. But luckily for me Gaviria did it before and I had someone in front to try to catch. He did a really strong sprint and it was not easy.”
Less crashes marked stage six compared to stage five, though drama remained. Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) and Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers), both major players in the general classification, faced mechanical issues within the final 15km, but were able to rejoin the bunch.
In another blow, Mark Cavendish (Astana-Qazaqstan) crashed for the second consecutive day, ruling him out of the final sprint.
GIRO D’ITALIA 2023 STAGE SIX RESULTS (NAPOLI TO NAPOLI):
- Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo, in 3-44-45
- Jonathan Milan (Ita) Bahrain-Victorious
- Pascal Ackermann (Deu) UAE Team Emirates
- Kaden Groves (Aus) Alpecin-Deceuninck
- Fernando Gaviria (Col) Movistar
- Michael Matthews (Aus) Jayco-AIUla
- Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) EOLO-Kometa
- Marius Mayrhofer (Deu) DSM
- Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Intermarché-Circus-Wanty
- Simone Velasco (Ita) Astana-Qazaqstan, all at same time
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE SIX
- Andreas Leknessund (Nor) DSM, in 22-50-48
- Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step, +28s
- Aurelien Paret-Peintre (Fra) AG2R Citroën, +30s
- Joao Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates, +1-00
- Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, +1-12
- Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, +1-26
- Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Bora-Hansgrohe, same time
- Tom Skuijns (Lat) Trek-Segafredo, +1-29
- Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, +1-30
- Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) Eolo-Kometa, +1-39