On a finishing stretch rendered treacherous with torrential rain, Pascal Ackermann (BORA-hansgrohe) surfed the spray of Fernando Gaviria‘s (UAE Emirates) wheel, the latter his unwitting poisson-pilote, allowing Ackermann to smoke everyone to land his second victory in stage 5 of the 2019 Giro d’Italia. Gaviria was (a very close) runner-up with a distant Arnaud Demare (Groupama – FDJ) rounding out the podium. There were no changes on GC as all the contenders crossed the line safely together after their race had been neutralised. Race leader Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) has added a pink “waterproof” jacket to his rosy coloured swag.
After three successive stages over 200km, the riders were probably looking forward to today’s front-loaded 140km downhill romp to the coast, until they saw the weather forecast. Those of you who ride know that there’s no such thing as waterproof cycling wear. If it rains, like it rained today, you’re going to get wet, and cold. So that 140km probably felt a lot, lot longer.Embed from Getty Images
Given the wet conditions, race organisers decided/were persuaded that GC timings would be taken on the first passage over the finish line in Terracina with 9km to go. That meant the overall contenders could sit up, take no risks in the closing kilometres and leave the sprinters to get on with it.
Sunweb’s Louis Vervaeke was the last man standing from today’s sextet of escapees but he too was back in the pack with 22km to go. There was standing water all over the tricky finishing circuit, which had some precarious twists and turns, but at least it was just the sprinters’ trains fighting it out. As the riders splashed their way through the spray to the line, stage winner Pascal Ackermann was third wheel behind his lead-out man and one from FDJ, Ackermann sneaked a glance over his shoulder to see Fernando Gaviria opening up his sprint. Ackermann got onto Gaviria’s wheel before surging past him on the left and snatching it on the line. Although the big German turned pro with Bora in 2017, it wasn’t until last year that he started winning races. But once started, he’s hardly stopped. Nine wins last year, and this is his fifth in 2019. He’s rapidly becoming one of the top sprinters in the world. Those Bora boys are on fire!
Rider of the Race – Fresh Face
To be honest, there aren’t many contenders today for this prestigious award, other than the stage winner. However, if you cast your eyes down the result for today’s stage, you’ll see 22-year-old Italian Matteo Moschetti in 5th place. A second year neo-pro at Trek Segafredo, the youngster racked up some impressive results last year on his WorldTour debut. This year he finished runner-up to Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) on the Hatta Dam stage of the Tour of UAE. He’s now firmly on the VeloVoices radar and we’ll be keeping an eye out for him.Embed from Getty Images
News from the Sick Bay
The two riders who came off worst in yesterday’s crash-marred finale are now both out of the Giro. Firstly, Dani Navarro who the team reports spent a comfortable overnight in hospital – that’ll be the morphine – won’t be back on his bike for a while.
Then Giro contender Tom Dumoulin, who you’ll recall got a bloodied knee and lost over 4 minutes yesterday, bravely started today but it wasn’t to be.
We’re sending healing thoughts and wishing both riders a speedy recovery.
GC contender Vincenzo Nibali has lost teammate, Kristijan Koren from his Giro team, as he did not start today’s stage after being named in the blood doping ring uncovered by Operation Aderlass, leading to a provisional suspension by the UCI. Also suspended are Bahrain-Merida director Borut Bozic, who rode for the team last year, plus UAE Emirates’ Kristijan Durasek and former pro Alessandro Petacchi. This story has plenty of legs, expect it to run and run.
And, finally …
There hasn’t been as much as a 35sec difference on GC between the maglia rosa and the second-placed rider since 1995 when Tony Rominger had a 51sec lead over Maurizio Fondriest.
Stage results – top 5Embed from Getty Images
1 Pascal Ackermann (BORA – hansgrohe) 3:27:05
2 Fernando Gaviria (UAE Emirates) same time
3 Arnaud Demare (Groupama – FDJ) s/t
4 Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) s/t
5 Matteo Moschetti (Trek – Segafredo) s/t
General Classification – top 10Embed from Getty Images
1 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo – Visma) 19:46:25
2 Simon Yates (Mitchelton – Scott) +0:35
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) +0:39
4 Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) +0:44
5 Diego Ulissi (UAE Emirates) +0:44
6 Rafal Majka (BORA – hansgrohe) +0:49
7 Bauke Mollema (Trek – Segafredo) +0:55
8 Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Merida) +0:56
9 Bob Jungels (Deceuninck – Quick Step) +1:02
10 Davide Formolo (BORA – hansgrohe) +1:06
All the Jerseys
Maglia rosa – Primoz Roglic (Jumbo – Visma)
Maglia blanca – Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana)
Maglia azzurra – Giulio Ciccone (Trek – Segafredo)
Maglia ciclamino – Pascal Ackermann (BORA – hansgrohe)
For full stage review and race results, go to cyclingnews.