Italian Matteo Priamo, riding for the CSF team, broke away to win the sixth stage of the Tour of Italy in Peschici on Thursday.
Priamo's compatriot Giovanni Visconti, who rides for Quick Step, took the leader's pink jersey.
“Having the maglia rosa is a dream!” a happy Visconti said in Peschini. “Everything was planned from this morning. I felt good and was looking to get into the break. On the final climb, I felt confident that I could get six seconds, even though Russ was always on my wheels, but in the last meters, I started to go like hell.
“I would like to keep the jersey until the time trial (in stage 10) and then we’ll see,” Visconti said. "I’m not so bad in time trials. Last year, I was 13th in the final time trial, so who knows. To win a stage in the maglia rosa would be the ultimate.”
Priamo built up a decisive lead over the final run-in of the 231km stage after a breakaway of more than 160km. Spaniard Alan Perez took second place, eight seconds adrift, as he struggled with the final climb to the finishing line. The main peloton, which included overnight leader Franco Pellizotti, crossed the line 11 minutes off the pace.
The breakaway came at the 53km mark at the initiative of Estonian Rene Mandri, Germany's Paul Martens and Perez. Mandri later fell and had to be taken to hospital where he was diagnosed as having suffered a cracked vertebra, broken rib and pneumothorax.
Nine other riders, including Priamo, reeled in the trio, at one point building up a lead of almost 16 minutes over the main peloton. Priamo, followed by Perez, attacked 12km from the finish and held his nerve to record the most important milestone of his professional cycling career which started in 2006.
Friday's seventh stage sees the riders tackle a mountainous 180km run between Vasto and Pescostanzo.
For full results, report and photos, visit Cyclingnews.com.
© AFP & BikeRadar 2008