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Wellens & Dumoulin Fire Up First Mountains

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May 12, 2016 – Belgian’s Tim Wellens enjoyed a red letter day on the Giro d’Italia on Thursday with his maiden Grand Tour stage win as Tom Dumoulin held onto the leader’s pink jersey.

AFP/Yuzuru Sunada

RELATED: Greipel Rumbles the Jungle at the Giro in Stage 5

The 25-year-old Wellens broke early and powered up the final 18 kilometre climb to Roccaraso to come home alone after the 157km sixth stage. On the 2016 Giro’s first gentle taste of mountain air Dumoulin held off challengers for his pink jersey, finishing fourth.

Looking in good shape the Dutch rider took a fistful of seconds off some of the main contenders for outright victory like Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali, and Spanish duo Mikel Landa and Alejandro Valverde. Astana’s Jakob Fuglsang got closest to Wellens, the Danish rider reaching the race’s first summit finish in second, 1min19sec behind, with Russian Ilnur Zakarin on his rear wheel in third. In the overall standings Dumoulin now leads Fuglsang by 26sec, with Valverde 41s away and Nibali 47.

Wellens made his stage-winning move 15km out, when he slipped free from his companions in the breakaway, first Eugert Zhupa and Alessandro Bisolti and then Laurent Didier and Pim Ligthart. One of the rising stars of Belgian cycling Wellens was giving himself the perfect present to mark his birthday on Tuesday.

Up to this point he had come in second twice in stages on his first Giro in 2014, won last year’s Grand Prix de Montreal, and claimed the closing stage in this year’s Paris-Nice.

He celebrated his career high by picking up his bike and waving it over his head. Friday’s seventh stage is a 211km ride from Sulmona to Foligno favouring the sprinters despite a second category climb.

Final kilometers of Stage 6

Results Stage 6:
1. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal 4:40:05
2. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:01:19
3. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha
4. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:01:22
5. Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Dimension Data 0:01:24
6. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
7. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge 0:01:29
8. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:01:33
9. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff Team
10. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:36

General Classification:
1. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin 24:22:15
2. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:00:26
3. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha 0:00:28
4. Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx – Quick-Step 0:00:35
5. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 0:00:38
6. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:41
7. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre – Merida
8. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge 0:00:44
9. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:47
10. Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Dimension Data 0:00:49