TERME LUIGIANE, Italy — Silvan Dillier won from an early breakaway to take the sixth stage of the Giro d’Italia and his first Grand Tour victory on Thursday, while Toronto’s Mike Woods finished a strong fifth.
Bob Jungels retained the overall lead.
Dillier began his sprint with 150 metres to go on the climb to the finish and the BMC Racing rider had the power to hold off Jasper Stuyven, who banged his bars in anger and frustration as he crossed the line half a wheel behind the Swiss cyclist.
Lukas Postlberger, who won the opening stage, was third, 12 seconds behind the front two at the end of the 217-kilometre (135-mile) route from Reggio Calabria to Terme Luigiane as the race moved to mainland Italy.
“Basically, the stage started pretty bad for me. I had a flat at kilometre zero and then I chased back and I got in the breakaway,” Dillier said.
“In the end it was hard to stay away. To beat Jasper Stuyven in a sprint like this is crazy, I still can’t believe this. For sure it’s the biggest victory so far for me. I can’t describe it. It’s fantastic.”
The trio was part of a five-man breakaway shortly after the start and swiftly built a lead of nearly nine minutes on the peloton.
Stuyven’s Trek-Segafredo teammate, Mads Pedersen, was the first to drop off, and shortly afterward Simone Andreetta as the front three pulled away with less than six kilometres remaining.
Andreetta finished 26 seconds behind Dillier, with Woods leading the general classification contenders over the line 13 seconds later.
Woods’ finish moved him up to 21st in the overall classification.
Svein Tuft of Langley, B.C., was 104th on Thursday and moved up to 142nd overall.
Jungels, of Luxembourg, maintained his six-second advantage over Geraint Thomas of Wales. Fellow Briton Adam Yates remained four seconds further back, with most of the overall favourites.
“For us it was a perfect situation with the breakaway gone,” Jungels said. “We were hoping the breakaway would go until the end so the bonuses were gone. I just had to keep an eye on my opponents, so it worked out in the end.”
The seventh stage on Friday is a mainly flat 224-kilometre (139-mile) route from Castrovillari to Alberobello, with an undulating final 40 kilometres.
The Giro ends on May 28.