Great Britain’s riders endured a steady day on the sixth stage of the Giro d'Italia as the race hit the mountains.
Miguel Ángel Rubiano (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela) claimed an impressive breakaway victory with Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas and Peter Kennaugh 10:39 back, Ian Stannard was at 15:40 and dual stage winner Mark Cavendish came home inside the time limit alongside Bernhard Eisel and Jeremy Hunt.
Rubiano had gone away early in a big escape group and left what remained of his fellow escapees behind on the brutal ramps of the third category Montegranaro climb, around 40 kilometres from home in the 210km route from Urbino.
He built on his advantage on the run to the finish at Porto Sant'Elpidio, comfortably holding off the four-man chase group to cross the line one minute and 10 seconds ahead of Adriano Malori (Lampre-ISD) and Michal Golas (Omega Pharma-QuickStep).
The 12 seconds bonus for second place proved crucial for Italy's Malori as it put him in the leader's maglia rosa, 15 seconds in front of Golas, with Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) a further two seconds back.
Change of focus
The toughest day of the Giro so far, stage six saw the riders challenged constantly with an undulating parcours.
Ahead of the 20km marker a significant break went clear, 15 riders pushing onwards to build up an advantage of 8:36 before the terrain caused the break to fracture.
The gravel ‘strade bianche’ roads made their third consectutive appearance in the race and the ascent of the second category Passo della Cappella thinned out the bunch significantly.
Among those struggling was Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Barracuda), the leader at the start of the day, who was repeatedly forced to chase back on during the day, finally dropped on the Montegranaro after a gutsy ride.
With a number of big teams represented out front Liquigas-Cannondale took up the pace-setting duties on the front over some tough terrain – the stage profile on paper belying just how difficult the climbs were.
The day also saw a number of high profile abandonments with Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Barracuda) and Thor Hushovd (BMC Racing) leaving the race, the former following a crash.
Stage 6 - Urbino - Porto Sant'Elpidio 207 km
1 Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Col) Androni Giocattoli 5:38:30
2 Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre - ISD 0:01:10
3 Michal Golas (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
104 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:10:39
113 Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Sky Procycling
126 Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Procycling
187 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:33:12
189 Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Sky Procycling
1 Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre - ISD 20:25:28
2 Michal Golas (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:00:15
3 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Barracuda 0:00:17
100 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:09:10
102 Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:09:55
121 Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:15:06
170 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:31:41
193 Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:48:25