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Matthews extends lead amid crashes

ESPN staff
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Michael Matthews gets his reward for winning Stage Six © Getty Images
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Michael Matthews avoided a late crash to win stage six of the Giro D'Italia and extend his lead to 21 seconds.

The 23-year-old Australian was followed in by countryman Cadel Evans - who is now his closest rival in the general classification.

Joaquim Rodriguez fell in the crash and recovered to finish the stage, but the Spaniard was forced to quit with broken ribs and a broken thumb.

"It hurts to leave the Giro, but there is no other option," he said. "The crashes were bad for all of us. The road was very slippery and we were going 60 kilometres an hour. Just touching your breaks was enough to crash. But that is a risk we always take."

Fellow Katusha riders Giampaolo Caruso and Angel Vicioso were also forced to retire. Vicosio broke his right leg, while the 33-year-old Caruso was taken to hospital for X-rays, which revealed no fractures but severe cuts and bruises.

The crash came in the final 10km as the field picked up pace before a group of riders went down attempting to negotiate a roundabout on wet roads.

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