Mader clinches rain-lashed stage six of Giro d’Italia, Valter takes overall race lead - GulfToday

Mader clinches rain-lashed stage six of Giro d’Italia, Valter takes overall race lead

Gino Mader

Team Bahrain rider Gino Mader celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the sixth stage of the Giro d’Italia on Thursday. Agence France-Presse

Ascoli Piceno: Swiss rider Gino Mader won a rain-lashed sixth stage of the Giro d’Italia on Thursday as Hungarian Attila Valter took the overall race lead.

Mader of the Bahrain Victorious team climbed to victory in Ascoli Piceno, 12 seconds ahead of Colombian Egan Bernal of Ineos after the 160km run from Grotte di Frasassi.

Ireland’s Daniel Martin of Israel Start-Up Nation and Remco Evenepoel of Deceuninck were just behind with the same time as Bernal, the 2019 Tour de France winner.

“Yesterday was such a sad day with us losing Mikel Landa,” said Mader, whose team-mate, and one of the race favourites, crashed out of the race and faces surgery.

Basque rider Landa, 31, who finished third in the 2015 Giro, broke his collarbone in a fall on Wednesday.

“We decided to ride in his honour today. I managed to do this only because Matej Mohoric was so strong,” added Mader.

“In the finale I was scared to be caught like in Paris-Nice but it’s a beautiful win in the end.”

Valter of Groupama leads Evenepoel by 11 seconds in the overall standings after the first summit finish of this year’s race in the Apennines.

Valter said: “I knew that I had climbing legs at this Giro. But I had to hold on to the biggest riders on the climb. I was very motivated to do it.”

Britain’s Hugh Carthy and Simon Yates suffered on the the final climb to San Giacomo, finishing nearly 30sec off the pace.

American star rider Joe Dombrowski withdrew before the stage suffering from concussion after the pile-up on Wednesday which also claimed Landa.

“Unfortunately today I won’t be able to start the Giro,” Dombrowski, sporting a badly bruised left eye, said in a video posted on social media before the start of the sixth stage.

“We did the concussion protocol last night and followed up again this morning and I didn’t pass that, so with the doctors and the team we decided it was not safe for me to start today.”

“Obviously I’m really disappointed,” continued Dombrowski, who won the fourth stage.

“It was a really dangerous final yesterday,” he explained.

“I just wanted to take the risk to be in front so there was no time gaps because I felt today was a really unique opportunity that maybe I could take the pink jersey.

“It’s not so often you have an opportunity like that.”

Friday’s seventh stage runs between Notaresco and Termoli with a possible sprint finish at the end of the 181km.

Dumoulin returns to professional racing: Former Giro d’Italia winner Tom Dumoulin will return from a four-month career break in June eyeing the Olympic Games later this year, his Jumbo-Visma team said on Thursday.

Dutch rider Dumoulin, 30, who won the Giro in 2017, stepped away from the sport in January and will race in the Tour de Suisse which from June 6-13.

“The rider of Team Jumbo-Visma has made this decision together with all the team as he has recently found the joy in cycling again,” Jumbo said.

“After the Swiss stage race, the former world time trial champion will also appear at the start of the Dutch time trial and road championships. Dumoulin also has the ambition to go to the Olympic Games in Tokyo,” they added.

Cycling events at the re-scheduled Olympics start on July 24 with the men’s road race, six days after the final stage of this year’s Tour de France.

The world cycling championships begin on Sept.19 in Flanders, Belgium.

Dumoulin said in January winning the Giro and coming second in the 2018 race and the Tour in the same year had made him “Tom Dumoulin the great Dutch cyclist” and had been struggling “with the pressure that comes with it, the expectations”.

He said at the time that attending team training camps last winter he could not “flick the switch” and decided that “stumbling on, ending up 12th in the Tour and fifth in the Olympics would not help”.

Agence France-Presse

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