On a long, hard, undulating stage along the coast of the Tyrrhenian sea, Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) unleashed a monster power surge on the final uphill ramp to today’s finish, leaving the other sprinters trailing in his wake to take the fifth stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia. Arnaud Demare (FDJ) and Sonny Cobrelli (Bardiani) came in second and third respectively. Race leader Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) finished safely in the bunch to retain the maglia rosa.
Rider of the Race
Well, it has to be today’s stage winner, the Gorilla! Goodness knows how many watts Greipel put out in that dash for the line but it was probably enough to power the Blackpool illuminations. I remember Greipel’s former coach telling me that it took four people to hold down the stationary bike when Greipel undertook a Vo2 test – now I understand why.
Despite many pundits claiming today’s stage would be one for the puncheurs, the bunch was pretty much all together as it swung onto its final 6km circuit of Benevento. The two Lottos – NL Jumbo and Soudal – worked hard to set up their respective sprinters but their trains were disrupted on the final sharp left-hander, 1,200m before the finish, when Katusha’s Rein Taaramae crashed. In the resulting confusion, the Italians swamped the front of the bunch hoping to take a second consecutive victory but, as they approached the home stretch, Greipel saw an opening and powered past them all.
This was his fourth Giro stage win, equalling his compatriot Marcel Kittel (Etixx-Quick Step) who didn’t feature today, having been distanced at the 6km mark. Greipel has now won a stage in every grand tour he’s started since the 2008 Giro d’Italia. Seconds after the stage finish, Greipel said:
It was a really hard chase to bring back the four breakaway riders. Luckily other teams helped but I owe a big thanks to my team. They are a big part of this success. Before the start, I said it would be a nice finish for me and it really was. I was behind the crash [involving Rein Taaramae] but I found my way through and launched my sprint when I saw a gap with 300 metres to go. I hesitated a bit, then I gave it everything. I’m really happy.
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) and best young rider Bob Jungels (Etixx-Quick Step) finished four seconds ahead of the other GC contenders. It might not be much but who knows how this race is going to pan out and every second really does count!
Tomorrow should see a further shake out of the GC contenders as stage six features the race’s first summit finish. It’ll be a fast and furious 157km from Ponte to Roccaraso, which concludes with a 17km ascent (average gradient 4.8%). The first part is quite steep then it levels out only to finish with a final testing kilometre at 7%. We’ll see who brought their climbing legs!
1. Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) 5:40:35
2. Arnaud Demare (FDJ) same time
3. Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani) s/t
4. Bob Jungels (Etixx-Quick Step) s/t
5. Moreno Hofland (LottoNL- Jumbo) s/t
1. Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) 19.40:48
2. Bob Jungels (Etixx-Quick Step) +0.16
3. Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) +0.20
4. Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) +0.24
5. Georg Preidler (Giant Alpecin) +0.26
All the jerseys
Leader’s jersey: Tom Dumoulin (Giant Alpecin)
Point’s jersey: Marcel Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep)
KOM jersey: Damiano Cunego (Nippo-Vini Fantini)
Best young rider: Bob Jungels (Etixx-Quick Step)
For full review of the stage, go to CyclingNews
Header image: ©Getty Images/Tim de Waele