Chicchi Wins Stage 6 of the Tour of Missouri
Resembling the stride of the Pony Express horse and rider depicted on a bronze statue at the finish line, Italian Francesco Chicchi (Liquigas) powered his way to the victory at Stage 6 in St. Joseph, Mo. Chicchi finished the 110.3-mile (177.5 km) stage in a time of 3 hours, 41 minutes, 41 seconds, nosing out Norway's Thor Hushovd (Cervelo TestTeam) and Argentina's Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Colavita/Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light), who finished second and third, respectively. Race leader David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream) finished in the pack, but retained the Missouri Tourism Leader's Jersey.
"Of course, I love racing in the states. Everything's bigger. Big open roads and everything's wider. I love it," said Chicchi, a former World Under-23 Road Race champion (2002) who won the final stage of the Tour of Missouri last year, received a special Pony Express statue from St. Joseph Mayor Ken Shearin.
Stage 6, presented by Wind Capital Group, began at 1:00 pm in Chillicothe, situated in the rolling hills of northern Missouri and home to the first bread slicing machine, making it the "Home of Sliced Bread". Just past the first Edward Jones Sprint Line in Gallatin and close to 60 miles into the road race, Great Britain's Jeremy Hunt (Cervelo TestTeam) launched a solo attack, which lasted for 30 miles.
Garmin-Slipstream stayed at the front of the peloton all day, reeling in a number of attacks to protect the yellow jersey on Zabriskie's shoulders. A number of unsuccessful attacks took place along the rolling, tree-lined roadways, including a tough surge up a three-mile Michelob Ultra KOM climb on the outskirts of St. Joseph, home of the famous horseback mail service in the 1800's. For his solo breakaway early in Stage 6, Hunt was awarded the Drury Hotels Most Aggressive Rider Jersey.
The other award jerseys remained the same: Hushovd with the Edward Jones Sprint Jersey, Dario Cataldo (QuickStep) of Italy with the 180 Energy/Icelandic Glacial Water Best Young Rider jersey, and Moises Aldape (Team Type I) of Mexico with the Michelob Ultra KOM jersey.
There were no changes to the G.C. today. Zabriskie retains a 30-second lead in the general classification (G.C.) in front of Gustav Larsson (Saxo Bank) and a 44-second lead over Tom Zirbel (Bissell Pro Cycling). Levi Leiphimer (Team Astana) is in 6th overall in the G.C., 1'14" behind the race leader.