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Giro d'Italia 2019: Roglic hands pink jersey to Valerio Conti as Fausto Masnada wins Stage 6 from break

Joe Robinson
16 May 2019

Breakaway beats peloton as Conti takes pink and Masnada takes stage in good day for Italy

Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) ceded control of the pink jersey to UAE-Team Emirates rider Valerio Conti as Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec's Fausto Masnada took the first Grand Tour stage of his career on Stage 6 of the Giro d'Italia.

Masnada proved himself to be the strongest member of the day's large breakaway, making the race-winning attack on the ascent of the Coppa Casarinelle around 20km from the line.

Conti was the only member of the breakaway strong enough to hold Masnada's wheel, riding into the final with his compatriot. 

Masnada won the stage in a two-up sprint with Conti, who settled for the overall race lead, but this could have been an agreement decided betweent the riders ahead of the finish.

It proved a day for the Italians with Masnada taking the home country's first stage and Androni's first Giro stage win since 2012.

As for Conti, he is the first Italian to wear the pink of the Giro since Vincenzo Nibali won the race back in 2016.

Giro d'Italia 2019 Stage 6: How it happened

After the biblical rain, race neutralisation and Tom Dumoulin's abandonment of the previous day, Stage 6 was begging for order to be restored to the Giro d'Italia.

Starting in Cassano, the peloton travelled 238km east to San Giovanni Rotondo on what would be the second-longest stage of the race. It would also be the first road stage too tough for the sprinters to contest thanks to its uphill finish and category 2 climb just 18km from the line.

On paper, it also looked too benign to trouble the General Classification contenders meaning it had a whiff of a breakaway day before it had even got going.

And so it proved to be with a strong group of 12 making the day's break. A mixture of teams and rider styles, it was certainly strong enough to reach the line ahead of the peloton and with Jumbo-Visma likely happy to concede Primoz Roglic's pink jersey, it was almost certain to happen.

Within the break, Valerio Conti of UAE-Team Emirates was best placed to take the leader's jersey, provided he could finish in the lead group, while young Valentin Madouas of Groupama-FDJ was among the riders likely to fancy their chances of a win.

If the certainty of the break was not already enough, an unfortunate spill for Roglic early in the day made even more of a banker.

The Slovakian was fine to continue but ripped the right side of his bibshorts causing what look liked quite a sore cut.

For yet another day the rain fell on the Giro peloton but much gentler than before. It caused an easy tempo in the peloton which allowed the break to establish a comfortable gap. The stage finished in sunshine.

With less than 40km left to race the break still had almost five minutes to play with.

The first rider in the break to blink was Androni's Masnada. On the Coppa Casarinelle climb, the Italian took off from his break compatriots bringing only Conti with him.

The gap was 30 seconds before long as Masnada cranked a big gear and Conti followed. The rest of the break was not willing to chase properly and seemed to be throwing their chances of Giro stage glory away.

The duo forged a healthy lead of 35 seconds which was almost brought to an abrupt end by a stray dog in the middle of the road. Luckily, both riders got past unscathed.

That proved the only danger for the duo who eventually rode to the line together, Masnada taking the stage, Conti taking pink.