CW Live: Giro d'Italia stage six updates; Mark Cavendish crashes again

 Remco Evenepoel after stage five of the Giro d'Italia
Remco Evenepoel after stage five of the Giro d'Italia

Hello and welcome back to Cycling Weekly's live blog. I'm Adam Becket, and I'll be picking through the wreckage of yesterday's Giro d'Italia stage five, where crashes caused chaos throughout the peloton.

Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) won stage five, but the bigger news was that Mark Cavendish (Astana-Qazaqstan), Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) were all involved in crashes.

Today should, should, be another day for the sprinters in Napoli, but anything can happen on the roads of southern Italy, especially as the rain is supposed to keep falling.

You can check out the stage five route in more detail in our Giro route analysis.

Are you planning on tuning into the Giro today? Find out how you can catch all the action in our how to watch guide.

Key updates (BST)

- 09:44 - Remco Evenepoel in for a "difficult" day - Soudal Quick-Step team doctor
- 09:55 - Mark Cavendish: "I don't think there's anything broken"
- 10:26 - Andrea Vendrame to start stage six of the Giro d'Italia despite serious injuries
- 12:26 - Giro d'Italia stage six begins
- 12:59 - Lizzie Deignan to ride the RideLondon Classique
- 15:26 - Grace Brown wins stage three of the Bretagne Ladies Tour

Remco Evenepoel after stage five of the Giro d'Italia
Remco Evenepoel after stage five of the Giro d'Italia

Remco Evenepoel in for a "difficult" day - Soudal Quick-Step team doctor

Remco Evenepoel
Remco Evenepoel

Remco Evenepoel crashed twice on Wednesday's stage five, first after a dog went loose in the peloton, and secondly on a nervy run in to the finish.

Immediately after the stage, Soudal Quick-Step did not comment on any injuries the world champion - and favourite for the race - might have suffered, but the team later gave an update.

“After the first crash, things looked to be good for Remco, which at that moment was a big relief," Toon Cruyt, the team's doctor said. "The problem is that following his second crash he has a lot of pain on his right side and a hematoma with contraction of his muscles and some problems with his sacrum bone.

"Hopefully, with some good massage and osteopathic treatment followed by a good night’s rest things will be better. We will know more Thursday morning, but what’s sure is that stage six will be a difficult one for him."

There is no relaxing for Evenepoel, with Thursday's stage promising more hectic racing. We will all keep our eyes peeled on how the former race leader is going when the stage gets underway.

Mark Cavendish: "I don't think there's anything broken"

Mark Cavendish at the Giro d'Italia 2023
Mark Cavendish at the Giro d'Italia 2023

Mark Cavendish, another victim of a crash on stage five of the Giro, said that he didn't think he had any broken bones in a video message posted late last night.

“I’m back at the hotel now, I’ve had my wounds cleaned up, and my knee’s a little bit sore, but I don’t think there’s anything broken," Cavendish said. "We haven’t checked that out yet, but I don’t have the pain of anything broken."

"Only morale is a little bit… I was in perfect position, I kicked for the sprint, my back wheel was on the white line, and when I kicked it slides the wheel.

“The circumstances after that…it’s sprinting. Alberto has called me. You know, it’s part of sprinting, I just hope everybody else who crashed is OK, I saw some stretchers and that.

“[So] we try again, and congratulations to Kaden Groves, too.”

Andrea Vendrame to start stage six of the Giro d'Italia despite serious injuries

Andrea Vendrame
Andrea Vendrame

Despite being carried away on a stretcher at the end of stage five, Andrea Vendrame will start today's Giro d'Italia stage six, according to his AG2R Citroën team.

"Andrea is suffering from stage 1 acromioclavicular disjunction [a joint injury] in his left shoulder," Dr Cyril Barthomeuf, the team's doctor said. "He also has a deep wound that requires stitches as well as skin abrasions on his left shoulder.”

“We are going to everything we can so that he can be at the start tomorrow,” Didier Jannel, his directeur sportif said.

Good luck to the Italian!

Watch: Cape Epic 2023 documentary

Go inside the Cape Epic, mountain biking's biggest and most brutal stage race, with this new documentary from Giant. The race was won by Matt Beers and Christopher Blevins (Toyota-Specialized-NinetyOne), but there are so many stories to be told out there.

Tom Pidcock and Pauline Ferrand-Prévot help launch Pinarello Dogma XC

Pauline Ferrand-Prévot rides the Pinarello Dogma XC
Pauline Ferrand-Prévot rides the Pinarello Dogma XC

More mountain biking - Pinarello has launched its new Dogma XC, which will be ridden by Ineos Grenadiers multi-discipline stars Tom Pidcock and Pauline Ferrand-Prévot.

You can read more about the Italian brand's first foray into the MTB world from my colleague Joe Baker here.

E-bike sales up across Europe - except for the UK

A family on e-bikes
A family on e-bikes

According to BikeEurope, E-bike sales volumes increased by double digits replacing demand of mechanical bicycles in 2022 across the continent.

However, this growth did not extend to the UK, with the market for 'mechanical' bikes falling by 20%, but also the E-bike market falling by 3.1% too.

BikeEurope wrote that e-bike market share in the UK is only 7.5%, which it says is "not enough" to create the right momentum for e-bike sales to take off.

Remco Evenepoel 'slept well' according to team doctor

Remco Evenepoel
Remco Evenepoel

Good news for Remco Evenepoel fans: not only will the Soudal Quick-Step rider start stage six of the Giro d'Italia as normal, but he slept well and seems ok, according to his team doctor.

“The night has been good. He slept well, with a lot of deep sleep," Toon Cruyt told Sporza this morning. “Remco had a large bruise on the right side of his back and his pelvis was a bit stuck, but after treatment it was a bit better. This morning it was the same, but we will only see on the bike...

"I think most of it has already been ruled out. We've checked the urine and all, that there's definitely nothing wrong with his kidneys. I think there's a slim chance that anything else will come up. If the ride goes well now, there is a good chance that we will no longer be talking about it in two days.”

Now we will wait and see what happens on the bike.

Covid strikes Giro for the first time

Clément Russo
Clément Russo

There were lots of Covid cases in the run up to this year's Giro d'Italia, with Jumbo-Visma seeming to be the most affected, but now the virus has had an impact on the peloton in-race.

Clément Russo of Arkéa Samsic is the first unfortunate victim, with his team confirming the news on social media on Thursday morning. He is the fifth rider to leave the race so far.

Giro d'Italia stage six underway

Andreas Leknessund in the pink jersey
Andreas Leknessund in the pink jersey

After some delays in the neutralised zone - a couple of punctures, and a minor crash for Gianni Moscon (Astana Qazaqstan) and Otto Vergaerde (Trek-Segafredo) - stage six of the Giro d'Italia is finally underway.

It was supposed to be 162km between Napoli and Napoli, but that will be reduced a bit now, thanks to the neutralised zone being extended.

Flag drop! Early attacks are go.

158km to go: The race is on! Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) is one of first men to attack, with gaps already appearing. Only one of these moves will end up sticking though.

The roads around Napoli are known for being - umm - interesting and bumpy, so this might be an interesting one for the riders, especially anyone that came down yesterday.

Küng has already been caught.

154km to go: At the front of the race Alessandro De Marchi (Jayco AlUla) is off the front, while at the back, Salvatore Puccio (Ineos Grenadiers) was briefly off the back.

Meanwhile, if you are wondering what the light blue streamers and balloons on the roadside are all about, Napoli just won Italy's top football league - Serie A - for the first time in 33 years. It's party time in the south.

152km to go: Crash in the peloton. It's Fernando Gaviria (Movistar) who is one of the ones briefly down, along with Jonathan Milan (Bahrain Victorious), the points jersey wearer, and Jay Vine (UAE Team Emirates). Looks like it was the street furniture causing the problem.

Hey all, Tom Thewlis here taking over for an hour.

144km to go: The action has well and truly started and we've got a rather tasty looking breakaway that's managed to get away.

Five riders have a gap of 1-57 on the peloton. Great Britain's Charlie Quarterman is in the mix for Corratec, along with Simon Clarke (Israel- Premier Tech), Alessandro De Marchi (Jayco-AIUla), Alexandre Delettre (Cofidis), Francesco Gavazzi (Eolo-Kometa).

Alessandro Verre (Arkea-Samsic) is trying to chase on.

We caught up with Charlie last week on his rollercoaster ride to the Giro. Great to see him up the road this afternoon.

137km to go: It seems like we're getting quite a few mechanical incidents in the main field at the moment.

Remco Evenepoel's teammate Jan Hirt has just stopped with what looked to be a puncture, although he was straight back on his bike and off up the road again.

The riders will all be breathing a huge sigh of relief that the rain seems to have stayed away today.

134km to go: Jonathan Milan (Bahrain Victorious) has just had his second wheel change of the day.

In the meantime the breakaway's lead has shot up to two and a half minutes.

Lizzie Deignan to race the RideLondon Classique

Lizzie Deignan at Paris-Roubaix
Lizzie Deignan at Paris-Roubaix

Moving away from the Giro for a moment, there's been some rather big news developing over on the RideLondon Classique Twitter page.

The race organisers have announced that Lizzie Deignan will compete in the event in just a fortnight's time.

See more

Back to the Giro!

127km to go: We're getting some incredible views of the Pompeii archaeological ruins from the television pictures.

Looks like Alessandro Verre's moment is over. He's a long way back from the breakaway quintet and is showing no signs of being able to get back on.

Quarterman swept up the first intermediate sprint points of the day, the break are really pushing on today.

123km to go: Kaden Groves looks like he's just beaten Jonathan Milan to the line along with Mads Pedersen in the sprint for the remaining points at the first intermediate sprint of two.

The break have nearly five minutes now.

122km to go: Now that's out of the way, we're approaching the first of two categorised climbs today.

Looks like Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and Michael Matthews (Jayco-AIUla) swept up the remaining points at the intermediate just now.

Even though Groves beat Milan to the line, the Italian still has a lead of a single point.

The break are onto the category two Valico di Chiunzi climb. It's not too technical, with the worst gradient coming in at 10%. They should get over it no problem with the power and experience that's in there.

120km to go: Milan is on 92 points, with Groves on 91 in the fight for the Maglia Ciclamino.

The breakaway are climbing and unfortunately it looks like we might be about to get a bit of rain. De Marchi leads the break up the climb and they all seem to be working really well together.

119km to go: Jonathan Vaughters has just said on TV that there is a television documentary in the pipeline about Rigoberto Urán in Colombia.

118km to go: The breakaway are still taking turns nicely at the front of the race.

Quarterman has just finished his pull and dropped to the back. He's currently sat nicely in De Marchi's wheel, ready to take over again for the Italian.

Trek and Quick-Step seem to be leading the main field back down the road.

117km to go: Doesn't sound great in terms of the weather report at the top of this climb. They've had a small downpour at the top of the pass, the roads are left slightly damp as a result.

Could make for a tricky descent shortly. Fingers crossed everyone stays safe.

117km to go: So far so good for Evenepoel today. We've just had a glimpse of him towards the head of the peloton.

The Quick-Step man looks relatively comfortable after his awful day yesterday.

116km to go: As the Valico di Chiunzi is a second category climb there will be 18 points on offer for the first man over the top in the Maglia Azzura competition.

Frenchman Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) still leads in that competition.  

The breakaway have 5-14, although the DSM led peloton may start to eat into that as the climb progresses.

115km to go: Gavazzi has taken over on the front of the leading group for Eolo-Kometa now.

The Italian seems to be the most comfortable of the five at the moment. Clarke, De Marchi, Quarterman and Delettre are all still locked in here and working hard.

114km to go: One kilometre to the top of this climb for the leaders.

Clarke has just taken over at the front. It makes sense for the five to continue to work together at the moment given how far we've still got to go.

The second climb will be far more decisive in today's stage as we head back towards Napoli.

113km to go: You can really see the damp on the tarmac at the top of this climb.

As the main field approach the top, it looks like Ineos have taken over on the front of the bunch. It will be more to ensure that Tao Geoghegan Hart and Geraint Thomas are nicely positioned if this descent is set to be a tricky one.

Gavazzi has just taken maximum points at the top of that climb in the breakaway. Clarke was second.

112km to go: That little kick at the front from Ineos has shaved 30 seconds off the breakaways lead.

Everyone seems to be pretty nervous as they approach the summit. Not really a surprise after yesterday's drama in the rain!

Pavel Sivakov and Laurens De Plus are leading the bunch towards the top for Ineos.

110km to go: That lift in tempo from Ineos has already caused a handful of the sprinters to drop off the back.

Mark Cavendish is amongst them.

The Manxman won't be too bothered though as he has several of his Astana teammates with him.

Right, hello, Adam Becket back in the saddle here after I just cycled to a coffee roastery to get some beans. Yes, I fit all the cycling stereotypes.

109km to go: The back of the peloton has just made it across to the top of the climb, so there is a real chance for all the dropped sprinters to make it back to the big bunch. Probably.

108km to go: Time to let you know who scored points across the top of the Valico di Chiunzi. Francesco Gavazzi took the maximum, 18, with Simon Clarke taking 8, Alessandro De Marchi 6, Charlie Quarterman 4, Alexandre Delettre 2, and Alessandro Verre 1.

It means no change at the top of the KOM classification, with Thibaut Pinot still in the lead, but Gavazzi has slotted into sixth place. There's one more third category climb to come today, so Pinot's blue jersey is safe.

The break has 3-47 on the peloton. Verre is 2-04 behind, so is in no-man's land.

Amalfi coast
Amalfi coast

93km to go: The peloton are just passing through Amalfi, so the camera is spending a lot of time on the pretty town.

Someone asked me yesterday why the Giro coverage spends so much time away from the race, giving the viewer some interesting, some useless facts. It's nothing to do with Eurosport or GCN, but instead is to do with the host broadcaster - Italian TV station Rai - and the organisers. As you can imagine, one of the reasons host towns want the race to pass through is because of tourism, hence the lingering camera shots.

88km to go: It's all over for Alessandro Verre, as the Arkéa-Samsic man has now been caught by the peloton. An odd effort from the Italian.

81km to go: Mark Cavendish is out the back with three Astana-Qazaqstan teammates. He is two minutes behind the peloton - will be interesting to see if he can make it back.

75km to go: Cavendish and co are now four minutes behind the peloton. Not looking great for the British champion and his stage victory chances - might be something to do with his crash yesterday.

74km to go: Oh! The times on the television were wrong, the gap is more two and a half minutes, which isn't quite game over...

71km to go: The breakaway is closing in on the bottom of Picco Sant'Angelo, the second and final categorised climb of the day. The five riders have just under three minutes on the peloton. DSM, Bahrain Victorious, Trek-Segafredo, and UAE Team Emirates are trying to reel them in.

67km to go: The two 36-year-olds, Alessandro De Marchi of Jayco AlUla and Simon Clarke of Israel-Premier Tech, have pushed off the front of the breakaway on the climb. The pair clearly felt the pace was not high enough in the group of five.

65km to go: The pair of veterans are looking to increase the gap between themselves and the breakaway. Alexandre Delettre is the first rider behind them, with Charlie Quarterman and Francesco Gavazzi further back.

That's the peloton over the top of the climb now too.

Nine points to De Marchi, four to Simon Clarke, with the minor points divided between Delettre and Quarterman - two and one. Thibaut Pinot keeps the blue mountains jersey for another day.

60km to go: The gap is 2-30 between the peloton and the De Marchi/Clarke move. The pair know each other pretty well, having been Israel-Premier Tech teammates last year, and they are looking to squeeze every second they can out of the descent.

In the peloton, Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) is riding third wheel, looking to not get caught up in anything today.

55km to go: There is 1-14 between Clarke/De Marchi and the three other riders from the break, so if anyone from the day's escape is going to win, it will probably be one of the former two.

The crowds are out in this suburb of Napoli, as Clarke takes the maximum points in the intermediate sprint. Not that it really matters to him.

53km to go: Remco Evenepoel is doing a bit of policing work at the front of the bunch, the world champion in his rainbow bands telling the crowd to stay off the roads. Interesting to see, clearly the Belgian does not want any more untoward collisions.

48km to go: Quarterman, Delettre and Gavazzi have now been swallowed up by the peloton. The former gave a nice salute to the TV camera as he was swamped by the riders from DSM, Soudal Quick-Step and DSM.

Giro d'Italia stage six
Giro d'Italia stage six

Here's your full breakaway before it split up earlier, by the way.

39km to go: The pair of escapees still have 2-30 over the peloton. On a normal day you would assume that they would be caught, but this is stage six of a Grand Tour. The peloton looks pretty small really, by the way, well under 100 riders there.

Grace Brown wins stage three of the Bretagne Ladies Tour

Grace Brown
Grace Brown

There is more than the Giro d'Italia going on today - Grace Brown (FDJ-Suez) won stage three of the Bretagne Ladies Tour, which was an individual time trial. The Australian and Commonwealth Games ITT champion put more than 1-09 into Maaike Boogaard over the 19.5km course, to take control of the general classification at the race too. Two more stages to come.

30km to go: The gap still stands at 2-19, so it is not an insignificant chasm to jump for the peloton. It's not quite time to believe for Simon Clarke and Alessandro De Marchi, but it is interesting...

On the English-language commentary, Robbie McEwen says that part of the problem is that teams can't get their riders up to the front to contribute to the chase, thanks to the twisty, narrow roads.

26km to go: Movistar has sent a rider to help the chase after some cajoling from Trek-Segafredo, there's someone from Alpecin-Deceuninck there too. The gap is still at 2-10.

19km to go: Ok, the gap is actually coming down now. 1-34 is the gap inside the last 20km, but it still feels a bit up in the air. Will Clarke and De Marchi hang on?

15km to go: Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) has suffered yet again, suffering a mechanical as the race heads into Napoli. It will be a tough chase for the Slovenian to make it back into the peloton.

He also looks like he might have had a small crash at one point - there's a hole in his shorts.

13km to go: The Italian TV directors are now showing off a palace rather than showing us the actual race... strange decision.

12.5km to go: Roglič is back in the peloton, but he's at the very back. He will hope to move up.

Meanwhile, Clarke and De Marchi are still 1-08 in front, it couldn't happen, could it?

There's a fun little traffic island on a bend which will be fun for the peloton. Watch out.

11.5km to go: Told you the traffic island would catch out someone, and Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) appears to lose his chain on the corner. Hopefully for him, he will make it back into the bunch.

9.5km to go: Under 10km to go, and the gap is under a minute. It will be a hard race all the way to the line for the breakaway and the peloton. It's intriguing.

7.5km to go: There's a gap between the peloton and Geraint Thomas - a barrage has been put in by the commissaires. Heart in mouth stuff for the Welshman. Not what he needed right now.

6.5km to go: Geraint Thomas is back in the peloton, lucky for him. 47 seconds is the gap between the break and the peloton. It's still all to play for.

Mark Cavendish crashes during stage six of the Giro d'Italia

Mark Cavendish
Mark Cavendish

Some sad news to bring you - Mark Cavendish (Astana-Qazaqstan) crashed again at some point during stage six, according to photos on Getty. The British sprinter was out the back quite early on, and was presumed to be chasing back on. We will bring you more information when we get it. The rider down with him is Arne Marit of Intermarché-Circus-Wanty.

2km to go: 24 seconds for the breakaway, will it happen? The peloton are chasing hard.

1km to go:  15 seconds is the gap, it might be heartbreak for the pair. Under the flamme rouge...

Mads Pedersen wins

De Marchi and Clarke were caught with 200m to go. Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) charged from behind Fernando Gaviria (Movistar) to cross the line in first and take his first Giro d'Italia stage win. It means he has victories at all three Grand Tours.

Fernando Gaviria tried to fire from far away, basically as soon as De Marchi and Clarke were caught. He was rounded by Mads Pedersen inside the final 50m, however, with Jonathan Milan (Bahrain-Victorious) in second, followed by Pascal Ackermann (UAE Team Emirates) and Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck).

After all that, it was the final 200m where Simon Clarke and Alessandro De Marchi were caught. The latter really didn't want to lead the former out, and it was game over.

Some good news to follow the sad - Mark Cavendish finished the stage, so we can presume that the British champion is largely OK.

Astana-Qazaqstan has posted a tweet confirming that Mark Cavendish crashed, but did indeed finish the stage.

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