Giro d’Italia: Stage 5

After a drama filled finale where Landa crashed out of the Giro, stage 5 of the Italian Grand Tour saw the sprinters race through the streets of Cattolica side by side with Aussie Caleb Ewan winning the race to the line. Alessandro De Marchi continues to lead overall

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Giro d’Italia: Stage 5

On a pan flat parcour where the only challenges were the city streets full of road furniture, stage 5 saw two riders (Filippo Tagliani and Umberto Marengo) escape early before being caught halfway through the stage. Three more riders (Pellaud, Gougeard & Gabburo) went clear and they stayed away until the race came into the finish seaside city of Cattolica.

Photo Giro d’Italia Website

The much talked about road furniture in the final kilometres caused havoc with Sivakov crashing and then later being withdrawn from the race because of an injured shoulder. There was much worse for Mikel Landa who left the race in an ambulance after a high speed crash into a center of the road piece of road furniture along with yesterday’s stage winner and birthday boy Joe Dombrowski (he got back on the bike). Note – Mikel Landa broke his collarbone and several ribs & will stay in hospital overnight.

The race continued full speed to the finish where Giacomo Nizzolo and Caleb Ewan battled it out for the win with the Australian Eewan getting the verdict.

Photo Giro d’Italia Website

Caleb Ewan after his 4th win at the Giro and 36th stage victory for Australian riders: “Yeah, it was a relief, you know?,” he said afterwards. “I’m always used to winning in all three, and the first stage didn’t go good at all, so, you know, there was a lot of pressure on me and the teamn to do a good job today, and they… you know?, I think they outperformed themselves, they were so good today, without them I couldn’t have been so fresh in the finish, I got a good line into all the corners in the last 20 km, and, yeah, I think I showed that I had the best legs in the final.

I don’t know what happened there [in the incident with Tim Merlier]. I think there were a few guys coming back through the bunch maybe and there were a few twitchy moments, but, er, yeah, he didn’t stall me too much and I was still able to get out, so it was nothing. The goal to start with was one [stage win], so I’ve done that, and I think you know me, I’m pretty hungry to win as much as I can, so maybe this is good confidence for the team and myself going forward and, you know, in the next few sprint stages it’ll show.”

Alessandro De Marchi, the Maglia Rosa (pink jersey), “The day started in the best way, quite relaxed, quite easy, and then I think it became a really crazy circus. The road was really difficult and technical, maybe even too dangerous in my opinion, so we really found in the last 70km there was a lot of stress. I hope that the guys who crashed at 3 km to go are fine. I think when you have a jersey like this one, you need to try everything you can, so tomorrow the goal will be to keep this jersey and at the same time to help also Dan, so it’s going to be a hard one, I hope less stressful than today, and that’s it.”

Giacomo Nizzolo (2nd) The Team Qhubeka ASSOS sprinter said “today the final was quite technical and I think I did a good sprint but yet again came up again against somebody just stronger than me on the day, hopefully the victory will come the next time. As a team we did great today, we had a good plan, and we tried to make it happen. In the finale, I asked the guys just to stay around me as I knew that in the corners I could take care of myself and everybody did exactly what I asked. I’m really proud of them and with this attitude we can really look forward to the next sprint. This sort of result speaks to the teamwork in our camp and the great spirit we have in wanting to fight for one another. I want to thank all of the fans of the team for their support. I really hope to give them a stage victory the next time.”

Peter Sagan: “As expected, it was a day for the pure sprinters with quite technical and tricky final kilometres. The team did again an excellent job, Felix and Daniel were brilliant in the last kilometre. I was in a good position and had a strong pace when I was getting ready for the final push but the rider in front of me slowed down, so I didn’t have the best speed in the final meters.”

Andrea Pasqualon: (7th) “On paper you would think that this was an easy stage but the final was certainly that easy. In the last fifteen kilometers there were many roundabouts and a few dangerous turns. On our right side there was also a bit of wind but not enough to cause any trouble. We did a good job with the team all day long. We stayed together well and moved up to the front with seven kilometres to go. The last two kilometres I was working for Riccardo Minali, we stayed close to each other. My intention was to put him in perfect position for the last 500 meters. But when I kept him out of the wind 1,5 kilometre from the end, he lost me. I was in Peter Sagan’s wheel when Valerio Piva shouted in my ear that I had to sprint myself. But at that moment I had already lost most of my energy riding in the wind during the preparation of the sprint. I did my best, but against such strong sprinters you need your legs to be fresh.”

Dylan Groenewegen: “I made a few mistakes in the final. That’s why I was trailing behind. My form is good and I am getting more and more rhythm. Those mistakes will disappear and then I will go for it again.”

David Dekker (Groenewegen’s leadout man) “We lost each other in the last kilometres”, David Dekker added. “The final was very hectic and dangerous with many roundabouts, sharp turns and lots of crashes. As a result we were too scattered to be able to do a good lead-out. That is mainly due to a lack of experience. It is the first time for Edoardo and me, on the one hand, and Dylan and Jos, on the other, that we ride together.”

Tim Merlier, stage 2 winner saw his chances in Cattolica fall due to a dropped chain problem. “The sprint was perfect, it couldn’t be better. I said to myself, ‘It’s going to be okay, it’s going to be okay.’ The moment Cofidis passed, I wanted to go to the right. Ewan defended his place and my chain flew off. Then it was over. A shame, because it was there. It was really there.”

Thursday: Key Stage – Stage 6, Grotte di Frasassi – Ascoli Piceno (San Giacomo), 160 km
Running almost entirely through the inland, across the Apennines, the stage is demanding in both course and profile. The route takes in several ascents, including two categorised climbs. The main obstacles along the course are the ones typically found in urban areas. The final climb is approx. 15 km long. The final kilometers are entirely uphill. Past Ascoli Piceno, the route rises steadily at around 5% up to Colle San Marco, and continues with slightly higher gradients all the way to the finish, on tarmac.

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