This article originally appeared on VeloNews.com
Arnaud Demaré won stage 6 of the 2020 Giro d’Italia coming across the line at the end of a long, uphill drag to the finish. Wearing his country’s national champion’s colors, the French rider surprised Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Michael Matthews (Mitchelton-Scott) in the final 300 meters, seemingly to come from nowhere, navigating through traffic and a series of turns that disrupted his competition. Demaré also won stage 4 of this year’s Giro in a photo-finish. This is Demaré’s 73rd professional win, and with this one, he slots into the lead of the sprinter’s competition, 39 points ahead of Sagan. 188-kilometer stage was rather controlled over the first 150 km, with a four-man break of Filippo Zana (Bardiani–CSF–Faizanè), Jimmy Whelen (EF Pro Cycling), Mattia Bais (Androni Giocattoli Sidermec), Marco Frapporti (Vini Zabù–KTM) gaining nearly 10 minutes advantage before the peloton reacted. At 35km to go, race leader João Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) in the main group appeared to have some difficulty with his race radio, when he nearly touched wheels with another rider. Up in the break, Frapporti attacked his breakaway foursome but this lasted all of 2km. At this point, the break stopped working together, and the attacks were on. Whelen escaped from the front of the break, and got as much as one minute on the peloton, taking the only climbing points of the day at 25km to go. Jumbo-Visma and Bora-Hansgrohe went to the front and drove the pace until they caught the EF Pro Cycling rider with 13.5km to go, on a long, gradual and shallow uphill pitch. With Elia Viviani distanced from the other sprinters at the front, other sprinters’ teams kept the pace high to prevent him from getting back into a threatening position. As the main group came over this rise, world champion time trialists Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) and Tony Martin (Jumbo-Visma) went to the front and put nearly everyone in trouble, driving a very hard pace. Ganna, the largest rider in the peloton, spent another day in the KOM jersey. In the closing 4km, local hero Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) came to the font, towing Sagan who was surfing wheels from 20th position to 6th. Almeida, looking to stay safe in the leader’s jersey, also came to the front. The final kilometer was punctuated by a series of left and right 90-degree turns. This appeared to disrupt Sagan who was still on Nibali’s wheel in the closing 400 meters. The Bora-Hansgrohe sprint specialist appeared to be in perfect position in the last half-kilometer but had to slow to make the final turn, dropping him back by a handful of places. This opportunity was seized by Demaré who rocketed out of the turn and away from Sagan and Matthews for the stage win.