Giro D'Italia 2020: Arnaud Demare Doubles Up to Deny Peter Sagan Once Again
If his first win was by a matter of millimetres, Arnaud Demare doubled up on Thursday 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.
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.
It was a finish that was not thought to suit the 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.
Still without a victory since last year's Tour de France, Bora-Hansgrohe's Sagan struggled to eighth place to concede the maglia ciclamino to Demare, who now holds a 39-point gap over the former triple world champion.
Portugal's Joao Almeida (Deceuninck Quick-Step) survived a scare to retain the maglia rosa, the youngster being send to the ground after a collision with another rider with 36km remaining of the 188km stage when he stopped to attend to a problem with his race radio.
Almeida retained his 43-second lead over Spain's Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren) in the general classification, with Dutchman Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) still third a further five seconds back.
All the action from GIRO D'ITALIA Stage 7 - Matera - Brindisi willbe LIVE on Eurosport and Eurosport HD from 4:30 PM IST onward on October 8, 2020.