McEwen wins stage; Pollack takes overall lead

FORLI, Italy -- Australia's Robbie McEwen edged Germany's Olaf Pollack in a group sprint Friday to win the sixth stage of the Giro d'Italia for his third triumph in six days.

Pollack took the overall leader's pink jersey from T-Mobile
teammate Sergiy Honchar, capitalizing on a 12-second bonus awarded
to the runner-up. Pollack leads Honchar by two seconds, with Jens
Voigt and Michael Rogers eight seconds back.

McEwen, who rides with the Davitamon-Lotto team, completed the
longest Giro stage -- a 143-mile flat course from Busseto to Forli --
in 5 hours, 24 minutes, 13 seconds. Tomas Vaitkus of Lithuania and
Leonardo Duque of Colombia placed third and fourth, in the same
time as the winner.

McEwen looked unbeatable in the sprints in the absence of top rival Alessandro Petacchi, who withdrew after breaking his left
kneecap in a crash during the third leg.

"I'm apparently the best sprinter left in the race," said
McEwen, who has 11 Giro stage wins overall. "But my wins are
difficult anyway because everybody is racing against me at the

The best Giro climbers -- Gilberto Simoni, Ivan Basso and Damiano Cunego -- were expected to do well in Saturday's seventh leg from Cesena to Saltara, which includes several hilly sections.

Basso, runner-up to Lance Armstrong in last year's Tour de
France, enters Saturday's stage 13 seconds behind Pollack. Cunego,
the Giro winner in 2004, trails by 1:19.

The 21-stage race ends May 28 in Milan.