SCALEA: French rider Arnaud Demare claimed his second win in two days with a thrilling sprint finish for stage six of the Giro d’Italia on Thursday.
Demare, riding for Groupama-FDJ, pipped Australian Caleb Ewan in a photo finish on the line after the 192km ride from Palmi to Scalea in the southern Calabria region.
Demare, 30, became the most successful French rider in the race around Italy ahead of legends Jacques Anquetil and Bernard Hinault, who have six each.
Local Italian rider Diego Rosa was the early pacer-setter, leading the flat stage six on his own for much of the race, with all the teams’ respective sprinters getting into position in a packed peloton further back.
Rosa relinquished his lead as the peloton closed the gap, with Ewan and Cavendish both looking in good positions ahead of the final sprint, before Demare came out of nowhere to take his seventh career Giro stage victory in a photo finish.
“It was very tight. I had the feeling that I had won but it was hot so I waited for the photo-finish,” said Demare.
Briton Mark Cavendish, winner last Sunday in Hungary, finished third.
“A win is sometimes decided by very little,” continued Demare. “It’s in my favour today.
“The team has done a tremendous job. I only had 100 metres to overhaul Cavendish.
“I threw my bike on the line and it made the difference. Many people underestimate me but it’s my 86th victory today, my seventh at the Giro d’Italia. It counts. It’s wonderful.” Spaniard Juan Pedro Lopez holds the leader’s pink jersey which the Trek rider grabbed Tuesday on Mount Etna.
“It was all under the control of the sprinters’ teams,” said the Spaniard.
“It will be very different tomorrow but we’re ready with the team to defend the Maglia Rosa.” Friday’s seventh stage is a gruelling 196km ride between Diamante and Potenza including four climbs between the Calabrian coast inland to Basilicata with a summit finish.