Giro d’Italia 2021: Stage 5 – Ewan takes chaotic stage; Landa crashes out

Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) launched from a LONG way back to grab victory on a messy Stage 5 of the 2021 Giro d’Italia. The Aussie pocket rocket zoomed past his rivals like a hot knife through butter, condemning Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka Assos) to yet another second place with Cofidis’ Elia Viviani rounding out the podium. Alessandro De Marchi (Israel Start Up Nation) retains the pink jersey but a chaotic, crash-marred finale saw UAE-Emirates’ Joe Dombrowski lose over 8 minutes, Pavel Sivakov (INEOS-Grenadiers) trail in 13 minutes down and later withdraw, and Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) unable to finish the stage at all.

The Sprint Finish

Just when I was beginning to wonder if Caleb Ewan would be able to take a stage, out he pops with a classic pocket rocket victory. The Aussie speedster used all his manoeuvrability to weave through the chaos and keep himself in contention, but when he found his gap, he FLEW. There are few who have that top end speed, and today it all played perfectly for the pocket rocket.

The overhead shot shows Nizzolo‘s charge on the left, he really must of thought he had his elusive win. Ewan is almost out of shot, tucked in on the left hand barrier, but once he found his space – ZOWIE!!!!

Let’s hear from the victor.

Tim Merlier (Alpecin Fenix) lost the maglia ciclamino to Giacomo Nizzolo after a twitchy moment on the run to the line.

The Chaos

The pan-flat profile always marked this stage as one for the sprinters, however one look at the roadbook showed the risk of a high speed, highly technical and supremely sketchy final 15km. Unfortunately it also ended the race hopes for many GC riders. No cycling fan likes to watch and report on this.

Pavel Sivakov (INEOS-Grenadiers) hit the tarmac after tangling with a tree when a peloton, intent on using every inch of road, left him with no room to manoeuvre.

The young rider got back on his bike but it was a slow and painful ride to the finish over thirteen minutes behind the stage winner. He was taken straight to hospital and the team later announced he would withdraw from the race

A larger crash around a traffic island in the last 5km involved many riders and a race marshall. King of the Mountains and yesterday’s stage winner Joe Dombrowski was able to remount and finish but was taken straight to hospital after the stage. All this on his birthday too – a shit day of #unluck.

The same crash left Mikel Landa unable to finish the stage and was taken straight to hospital. The sight of the four teammates who had waited for him riding to the finish without the Basque was heart-breaking.


Conversations around stage finishes like this, how a race can manage the expectations and safety of both GC contenders and sprinters will rumble on again. Both of these crashes happened outside the 3km rule, that is in place on sprint stages and the riders involved all lost time, and worse. There is surely a case to be made for extending that arbitrary boundary.

Perhaps wherever a race organiser places that boundary, there will always be stress in the lead up to it. Here’s what race leader Alessandro De Marchi has to say. [Aside…I LOVE that #CapsNotHat]

Final word from King Kelly about the madness of the run to the line. I can’t imagine having that amount of instructions shouted at me.


Stage 5 Top 5

1 Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) 4:07:01

2 Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka Assos) same time

3 Elia Viviani (Cofidis) s/t

4 Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) s/t

5 Fernando Gaviria (UAE-Team Emirates) s/t

GC Top 10

1 Alessandro De Marchi (Israel Start Up Nation) 17:57:45

2 Louis Veraeke (Alpecin-Fenix) +0:42

3 Nelson Oliviera (Movistar) +0:48

4 Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ) +1:00

5 Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) +1:15

6 Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana) +1:24

7 Remco Evenepoel (QuickStep) +1:28

8 Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-Nippo) +1:37

9 Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo) +1:38

10 Egan Bernal (INEOS-Grenadiers) +1.39

All the jerseys

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