Matera (Italy), Oct 9 (IANS) If his first win was by a matter of millimetres, Arnaud Demare doubled up by a country mile in Matera. Two days after he beat Peter Sagan in a photo finish on the Giro d’Italia, the French champion left the Slovakian for dead before holding off his nearest challenger, the Australian Michael Matthews, by two bike lengths in a thrilling conclusion to Stage 6 in the ongoing Giro D’Italia.
A steep ramp in the final couple of kilometres saw Groupama-FDJ’s Demare drift back and seemingly out of contention, but the 29-year-old fought back before propelling himself out of the final bend to surge past all his rivals to secure his 12th win of a stellar season on Thursday.
It was a finish that was not thought to suit pure sprinters like Demare, with the likes of Elia Viviani (Cofidis) and Fernando Gaviria (UAE-Team Emirates) among those tailed off as the road hit a double-digit gradient on the outskirts of the UNESCO World Heritage City.
But Demare’s form, positioning and belief ensured that his credentials as the sport’s fastest man on two wheels remained intact – and supplied yet more evidence of the folly committed by his team to omit him from their Tour de France squad earlier this autumn.
Team Sunweb’s Matthews took a distant second place ahead of the Italian Fabio Felline (Astana), with Colombia’s Juan Sebastian Molano (UAE-Team Emirates) and Italy’s Davide Cimolai (Israel Start-Up Nation) completing the top five.
The Stage 7 will take place from Matera to Brindisi and will be broadcast on Eurosport network .