x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Ricco lives up to the expectations

Riccardo Ricco grabbed victory on the sixth stage of the Tour de France from Aigurande to Super-Besse last night.

The Italian rider Riccardo Ricco celebrates winning the sixth stage of the Tour de France last night.
The Italian rider Riccardo Ricco celebrates winning the sixth stage of the Tour de France last night.

SUPER-BESSE // Riccardo Ricco lived up to his billing as a future Tour de France winner with victory on the sixth stage of this year's Tour from Aigurande to Super-Besse last night. The Italian Saunier-Duval rider broke clear of a 30-strong leading pack to take the win from Alejandro Valverde in second and Cadel Evans in third. The stage also saw a change in the leader of the Tour, with Luxembourg's Kim Kirchen moving into yellow at the expense of Stefan Schumacher, who crashed in the final kilometre and lost half-a-minute in the process. There was the customary early break by French riders - on this occasion Sylvain Chavanel, Bernoit Vaugrenard and Freddy Bichot - who went clear a few minutes into the day's racing. Bichot was the last of the trio to stay clear but he too was swamped by Valverde's Caisse d'Epargne team on the second major climb of the day up to Super-Besse. Valverde, despite boasting scratches down the entire right side of his body which he said made him look "like I've been fighting with a lion", showed no ill-effects from Wednesday's crash as he geared up for a final sprint to the climb. But he did not have enough to outwit Ricco, who took the biggest win of his career to date. Today's 159km stage sets out from Brioude with two more steep climbs in store. @Email:sports@thenationala.ae