Giro 2018 Stage 5: Battaglin bags a biggy, Dennis still in pink

Another day in beautiful Sicily with the tifosi, another tricky undulating stage with a punchy finish which everyone was hoping would be as exciting as yesterday’s. And.It.Was. Enrico Battaglin (LottoNL-Jumbo) used his disappointment with yesterday’s third-place to fuel his sprint victory today, surging strongly across the line ahead of Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida) and Jose Goncalves (Katusha-Alpecin). Pretty much all the GC contenders, including race leader Rohan Dennis (BMC), finished safely in the peloton except for Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) who ran off the road into the long grass in the last 5km and lost 42 seconds.

Riders of the Race

Today, there are two lucky recipients of this honour. First up best young rider, Max Schachmann (Quick-Step Floors) who was caught up in a multiple pile-up 14km from the finish. This was a not dissimilar scenario to yesterday, when he crashed on a corner 2km from the finish (summit finish, so no 3km rule), re-mounted, gave chase and limited his losses to retain the jersey. Today the 24-year-old German, and former runner-up in Under-23 World ITT Championship, fought back magnificently to finish 4th on the stage and move up a place on GC. Post-race, he said:

I think yesterday was my fault. I wouldn’t say it was bad luck it was just my fault. Today was really bad luck because I saw that corner, I saw the bunch going really fast. I anticipated it but they really crashed so immediately that I didn’t make it. My left leg was stuck in 10 bikes so I lost 30 seconds. The team were really great. They made it a Quick-Step train. I was so angry, I just thought I would go full in the final. I fought to get back to the front but I made a mistake in the final. I had really good legs today.

The second year neo-pro is having a sterling 2018, including a victory in Catalunya, 2nd overall in Classic de L’Ardeche and 8th in Fleche Wallonne. Don’t be surprised if he bags a stage victory in his maiden grand tour. This is one rider firmly on VeloVoices’ radar.

Understandably, my second award goes to the stage winner Enrico Battaglin, who was probably the strongest man on the final climb yesterday and bitterly disappointed to finish third. Today he went two places better. He and teammates George Bennett and Bert-Jan Lindeman were well-placed at the head of the peloton with 3km to go. Under the flamme rouge, Diego Ulissi (UAE Emirates) launched an abortive attack, countered by Visconti,  but the race winner was hot on his heels and charged across the line ahead of the competition. Goncalves rounded out the podium.

This was the 28-year-old Italian’s third Giro stage win, the last one was in 2014 and in truth it’s been slim pickins’ for him since leaving Bardiani but now that he’s re-found his mojo … he too is feeling tranquillo.

The Giro is always lucky for me. I have always done a really good race. At this moment, I am really happy with what I’ve done with this stage. Now, I want to live day by day and we will see what I can do in Rome.

Tweet of the Day

GC favourites roundup

Not much change on GC, aside from the time lost by Superman Lopez, there’s been a bit of light re-shuffling:-

2 Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) +1 sec

3 Simon Yates (Mitchelton Scott) +17 secs

7 Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain Merida) +28secs

9 Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) +34secs

11 Carlos Betancur (Movistar) +35secs

12 Davide Formolo (BORA-hansgrohe) +37secs

14 Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton Scott) +47secs

18 Michael Woods (EF Drapac) +53secs

20 Chris Froome (Sky) +55secs

23 Fabio Aru (UAE-Emirates) +57secs

29 Louis Meintjes (Dimension Data)+1:15

39 Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) +1:57⇓ [do you think we can mark him off the list as favourite now? – ed]

Stage results

1 Enrico Battaglin (LottoNL-Jumbo) 4:06:33

2 Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida) same time

3 Jose Goncalves (Katusha-Alpecin) s/t

4 Max Schachmann (Quick-Step Floors) s/t

5 Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) s/t

GC Top 5

1 Rohan Dennis (BMC) 14:23:08

2 Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) +0:01

3 Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) +0:17

4 Tim Wellens (Lotto Fix All)+0:19

5  Pello Bilbao (Astana) +0:25

All the jerseys

Embed from Getty Images

Leader’s jersey: Rohan Dennis (BMC)

Points jersey: Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors)

KOM jersey: Enrico Barbin (Bardiani CSF)

Best young rider: Max Schachmann (Quick-Step Floors)

For full review of the stage, go to Cycling News  

Header Image: Stage Winner Enrico Battaglin © Bettini Photo

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