CONTADOR UPDATE: The Spaniard was unable to put on his pink jersey on the podium because of an apparent injury to his left arm. He is going to hospital for a check up. Very disturbing news... Check tonight's report for more.
Montecatini Terme - Castiglione della Pescaia
Giro d'Italia - 14 May 2015
Giro d'Italia – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 18:55 on 14 May 2015. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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No change in the overall classification, with Contador still 2 seconds ahead of Aru and 20 seconds clear of Porte.
The crash looked to have been caused by a Vini Fantini rider - Daniele Colli - catching the hand or camera lens of a spectator. The rider's arm is horribly twisted - it looks like his shoulder has been dislocated and the limb is bent back in itself. Very nasty.
Contador manages to finish the stage ok. It looks like he didn't come down too heavily in that crash and he has no apparent cuts. Relief for the Spaniard.
Griepel beat out six Italians for the win, with Pelucchi taking second ahead of Modolo, Belletti, Nizzolo, Petacchi and Viviani.
Pink jersey Alberto Contador was one of the riders who came down in that crash...
VICTORY FOR ANDRE GREIPEL!
Greg Henderson leads out the sprint for Greipel... Matthews is thre too... and there's a big crash behind!
Hofland being pulled up to the front - and narrowly avoids a spill...
It looks like Viviani has pulled up...
It's all Lotto SOudal now on the front for their man Andre Greipel, the big favourite today. Salvatore Puccio is the only Sky rider left for red jersey Elia Viviani.
A collective sigh of relief as the pack breaks the 3-to-go barrier - any crashes now and the time losses will not count.
It looks like most of those tailed off riders have managed to fight back on as the peloton bunches up once again. Lampre and Giant Alpecin are priming themselves, as are Lotto Soudal.
Team Sky are on the left hand side of the road now, working for their men Elia Viviani and Richie Porte. It's the elegant pedaleur de charme Vasil Kiryienka setting the tempo.
Pink jersey Alberto Contador is riding on second wheel, just behind Matteo Tossato, the birthday boy. Basso and Kreuziger are there too. Tinkoff-Saxo really bossing it out there. They know the race won't be won here, but it could be lost so they must stay alert.
Now Etixx-QuickStep come to the front through Tom Boonen and Fabio Sabatini. Tinkoff are right in the mix too, with Astana, Katusha and GreenEdge.
Yes, lots of riders are being tailed off: it's bunched up at the front, with a long single-lane of strugglers stretching back in its wake. Game on. Any rider back there will lose time for sure.
The break are caught as Sky, Tinkoff-Saxo and Astana move to the front. And there are more momentary splits as the pack approaches the coast.
Just 17 seconds now for the five escapees as they pass the 15-to-go banner. The carrots are cooked and it will go into bunch sprint mode.
The gaps are opening up on the back of the peloton as Tinkoff-Saxo and Lotto-Soudal combine on the front. A bit of drama at the business end of today's otherwise rather routine transitional stage.
Crosswinds! That explains why all the GC teams have hit the front, because the peloton is stretching out now. Some riders are struggling to hold on. The gap is below one minute now - it's tumbled down over the past 10km.
The gap drops below the two-minute mark for the first time. There's a little headwind at the moment, so the pace isn't hard - which will be very welcome after the fast and furious tempo of the last few days. Moreno Hofland even suggested prior to today's stage that that pace was "not normal", which is unfortuntate wording. Or perhaps intentional, who knows.
With the race passing a quite large open mine, the gap deops to 2:20 with Cheng Ji, the Chinese break swallower-upper from Giant-Alpecin, setting the tempo on the front of the peloton. Perhaps Luka Mezgec is feeling good today...
Well, it is contested, but only by Marco Bandiera, who dances clear with purpose to take the spoils. Some other names to throw into the mix today: Sacha Modolo of Lampre-Merida and Heinrich Haussler of IAM Cycling, who is currently torwards the back of the pack. The Australian national champion was involved in two crashes in the closing moments of stage 2 so he will have a point to prove.
We have the intermediate TV sprint at Ribolla coming up - not that it will be contested by these five leaders, who have combined well so far. Their advantage is down to 3:11, the name of a rather rubbish American nu-rock-rap-crossover band.
The gap is still 3:20 for the five leaders - Poland's Rutkiewicx, Romanian Grosu and Italians Maragoni, Malaguti and Bandiera.
Now Trek and LottoNL-Jumbo come to the front to lend a hand. They have Giacomo Nizzolo and Moreno Hofland respectively. Greipel, who launched his sprint too early in stage two, looks to have suffered a bit in the heat today - at one point he was even cooling his hands with water from a chilled bidon.
If 32-year-old Griepel wins today then it will be the first stage win for a mature rider since the start of the race. So far, we've had individual wins for Viviani (26), Matthews (24), Formolo (22) and Polanc (23).
The Lotto-Soudal team of Andre Greipel have come to the front of the pack to lead the chase, with pink jersey Alberto Contador's Tinkoff-Saxo team tucked in just behind.
You have to feel for these five riders, whose long break will surely end completely fruitless besides a fair bit of TV time - especially for Nippo-Vini Fantini, who have two riders clear. The gap is 3:30 now.
Eurosport spoke to Andre Greipel this morning - the German sprinter who is one of the favourites for the victory today: "Yesterday wasn't too bad but the two days before were pretty tough so everyone was happy that we took things easy on the final climb [to Abetone]. I don't think the wind will be that much to have an effect today." The final part of his answer came with regards to reports that the winds may be as quick as 25mph coming off the Tuscan coast later on.
The dense tree cover will be giving the riders some welcome shade in the fierce heat of the late Italian spring. The peloton seem to have eased off a little, with the five leaders said to be riding with a six-minute advantage now. This seems unlikely. And yes, there is it, the host broadcaster has corrected the time: it's 3:50 again.
Fabio Aru is in the white jersey as best young rider today. Colombia's Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) was leading this competition until Aru went on the offensive yesterday alongside Contador and Porte.
The lead has dropped below the four-minute mark for the first time as the peloton carves it was uphill through a forest. Greipel's German national champions jersey is unzipped to reveal a white hairless torso and his wedding ring hanging from a necklace around his neck.
The road is still heading uphill on this tough uncategorised section. 4:15 is the gap for the five leaders.
The gap has stabilised at just over four minutes as the peloton passes through the feedzone at Larderello. This one going very much according to the script.
Petacchi is another potential winner today. Sure, he's well past his prime - but the veteran managed to finish fourth the other day in stage two. There's also Slovenia's Luka Mezgec, who has had a quiet season for Giant-Alpecin, but is a past Giro stage winner and so no flat-track mug.
Happy birthday to Tinkoff-Saxo's Matteo Tossato, a key domestique for Alberto Contador. The Italian is 41 years old today - the same age as the race's oldest pair of legs, Alessandro Petacchi of Southeast.
The peloton pass over the climb around 4:45 down on the five leaders. Ivan Basso, the Italian veteran now riding at Tinkoff-Saxo, crosses the line in pole position.
Malaguti takes 3 points atop the Cat.4 climb at Pomarance ahead of Bandiera (2) and Marangoni (1). That's the only categorised climb, but the road is pretty undulating for the next 30-odd kilometres - and actually heads much higher - before the flat run into the finish.
It's another hot day in central Italy, with Marco Bandiera riding with his jersey completely unzipped up this climb. The gap is 4:35. None of these riders can pick up enough points to snare the blue king of the mountains jersey today. Jan Polanc, yesterday's winner, currently leads that competition on 15 points.
With 100km remaining, the gap is down to 4:35 for the five leaders as they head towards the foot of the only categorised climb on today's route.
A reminder of the five leaders: Marek Rutkiewicz (CCC Sprandi), Eduard Grosu (Nippo-Vini Fantini), Marco Bandiera (Androni), Alessandro Malaguti (Nippo-Vini-Fantini) and Alan Marangoni (Cannondale Garmin).
There's no threat from these escapees with regards to the general classification: Marangoni is the best placed rider, 56:06 down on Alberto Contador.
Eurosport pundit Juan Antonio Flecha is tipping Andre Greipel for the win today. "He's the only one on my list."
Eurosport also talked to Michael Matthews this morning. The Orica-GreenEdge rider won stage three of the race, plus was one of three Australians from GreenEdge to wear the pink jersey before Contador took over the lead yesterday. "I'll be there giving it a go today, mixing it up with the fast guys - but I'm not going to put any pressure on myself." The 24-year-old also admitted that his team were on cloud nine after their stellar start to the race: "It's been unreal, really. Yesterday we had a meeting and it got very emotional in the team bus."
The gap is still over five minutes for the five leaders as they head towards the first climb in this hilly middle segment of the stage.
This morning at the start, Richie Porte spoke to Eurosport about the race so far. Our roving reporter suggested Sky has been very discreet yesterday, with the exception of the Australian. "I still had guys there yesterday," Porte said. "Mikel [Nieve] had problems but I expect him and [Leo] Konig to be there in the high mountains. But so far, it's going really well for the first week." Although he, Aru and Contador are only separated by 22 seconds, Porte feels that Colombian Uran cannot be discluded yet. "Rigoberto's only a minute back on me so I expect we haven't seen the last of him."
Today we could see the likes of Andre Greipel, Fabio Felline, Elia Viviani, Michael Matthews, Giacomo Nizzolo, Juan Jose Lobato, Moreno Hofland and Matteo Pelucchi battle it out for the sprint win. Remember, the current leader in the red jersey points standings is Team Sky's Viviani on 53 points, with Marco Frapporti (Androni) second on 40 and Moreno Hofland (LottoNL-Jumbo) third on 35.
With two riders in the break today, Nippo-Vini Fantini clearly mean business. Nice to see Alessandro Malaguti in the mix: the Italian rode large parts of yesterday's stage in between the break and the peloton in a vain effort to bridge the gap. Today, he learned his lesson and combined with two others. Many legs make light work...
The gap has increased to five minutes now for the five leaders. They will find it tough going to stay out today, mind. Yes, there are those climbs at the midway point - but after two successful breaks, the teams of the main sprinters will surely combine to bring the race back together ahead of a fast finish.
The two groups come together to form a break of five riders. And this will be the day's break, with the gap already over two minutes back to the peloton. After three tough days in the hills, you sense that there are some weary legs out there.
Three riders are trying to bridge across: Marco Bandiera (Androni), Alessandro Malaguti (Nippo-Vini Fantini) and Alan Marangoni (Cannondale Garmin).
An early break by two riders: Marek Rutkiewicz (CCC Sprandi) and Eduard Michael Grosu (Nippo-Vini Fantini).
No withdrawals to note today with 190 riders rolling out of Montecatini Terme for the official start early this afternoon.
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) moved into the race lead by two slender seconds ahead of Fabio Aru (Astana). Richie Porte is a further 18 seconds back for Team Sky. Contador's team-mate Roman Kreuziger is fourth at 22 seconds and Astana's Dario Cataldo fifth at 28. Another troubled day for Rigoberto Uran saw the Colombian from Etixx-QuickStep drop to 12th place at 1:22.
Yesterday's first mountaintop finish whittled down the race favourites to just three as Alberto Contador, Richie Porte and Fabio Aru all attacked on the final climb to Abetone. It wasn't enough to catch Slovenian youngster, Jan Polanc of Lampre-Merida, who netted a fine solo win, or to pass French veteran Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling) for second place. But Aru's last ditch attack in the final kilometre won the Italian four vital bonus seconds for third place ahead of his GC rivals.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of stage 6 of the Giro d'Italia - a 183km ride through Tuscany from Montecatini Terme to coastal town of Castiglione della Pescaia in the province of Grosseto. There's a lumpy segment in the middle, which includes one Cat.4 climb, but otherwise it's a flat affair that should give the sprinters a chance to shine after two three tricky days of undulating terrain.