Wellens took advantage of a moment of calm after a brief storm in the bunch to get himself up to the breakaway halfway through the 157km journey from Ponte to Roccaraso, where such names as Fausto Coppi, Bernard Hinault, and Moreno Argentin have celebrated in the past.
The Belgian made his move on the early slopes of the 17km final climb, countering an attack from Laurent Didier (Trek-Segafredo) – who was also part of the bridge to the break – before tucking his arms over his handelbars as if the long second-category ascent were a time trial.
“I wanted to go from the beginning but I didn’t succeed. Then they [the break] didn’t go very fast, and we could come back with Pim Ligthart, who had the idea to jump to the front,” said Wellens, who also revealed race leader Dumoulin had encouraged him to attack, content to let the break contest stage honours
Follow the Stage 6 Results with Cycling News.