The Tour Take | GIRO D'ITALIA Stage 5
1st – Enrico Battaglin
2nd – Giovanni Visconti
3rd – Jose Goncalves
At 153km, this was the Giro’s second shortest stage, and it was taken at a pretty leisurely pace. Most Stanley Street Social readers could have kept up with the bunch, which was averaging around 35km/h on fairly flat roads for the first two hours. The second half of the stage contained three more category 4 climbs, and some rolling roads before an uphill finish. Again, a kilometre-long punchy climb was present in the finale, but that topped out with 1km to go for a flat-ish sprint to the line.
There was no change to any of the jersey wearers – Dennis in pink, Viviani in magenta, Barbin in blue, and Schachmann in white.
The break went away with little fuss today; Trek Segafredo sent Ryan Mullen and Laurent Didier up the road, while Eugene Zhupa and Andrea Vendrame joined them. The break got a max gap of five and a half minutes, and rode pretty well until the last categorised climb with 20km to go when they started attacking each other – Vendrame lasted the longest and stayed away until 2.5km to go.
The Winning move
Again we saw a significant crash in the run-in; a split formed with 14km to go as a large crash brought down around 20 riders, and blocked the path of about 50 more. It thinned the bunch, but didn’t really affect any big names; Schachmann and Pozzovivo were caught behind, but both made it back in into the front for the finale.
The final climb was hit at full pace, but we crested the climb with a group of 50 riders. Diego Ulissi attacked with 1km to go, but Domenico Pozzovivo shadowed him, and the UAE man sat up.
Bahrain Merida suddenly had a presence on the front of the peloton with Giovanni Visconti and Pozzovivo looking lively. Visconti attacked as the line rose slightly to the line, and Enrico Battaglin was the only one able to follow. Battaglin came around Visconti with 150 to go, and took the third Giro stage win of his career.
The GC Movers and Shakers
The crash at 14km to go didn’t hugely affect any of the big names – Pozzovivo was caught behind it but managed to get back into the peloton, as the pace wasn’t sriracha-level of hot yet (maybe just kind of medium-beef-madrasi-from-your-local-curry-house hot at that point).
M. A. Lopez had a mildly entertaining calamity with 6km to go; as the peloton went around a corner, the Colombian kept straight and rode into a field for no apparent reason. He ended up losing 41 seconds to the main group; we’re on stage 5 and that’s the third time he’s lost a fair chunk of time already. Nearly two minutes back already, his potential GC campaign is looking shaky.
Simon Yates finished 5th – he’s turned up really ready to race, and he’s the clear favourite for Etna on stage 6.
14th – Rohan Dennis
36th – Ben O’Connor
43rd – Jack Haig
61st - Zak Dempster
64th – Adam Hansen
137th- Mitch Docker
164th- Chris Hamilton
After a fairly vanilla opening to the giro’s racing, we finally should see fireworks, with the race ascending Mt Etna to finish Stage 6. It’s a new side of the Sicilian volcano; usually it finishes at Rifugo Sapienza, but we’re taking a different route to an observatory.
At 14.1km long and averaging 6.6%, its difficult enough without factoring in that the bunch climbs for a long time before the official start of the climb. It’s essentially a climb of 40km at a 4% average, including a short descent in the middle. The hardest part comes near the top, as it averages 8% from 5km to go until the flame rouge, and there’s a max of 15% hidden in there.
There aren’t any other categorised climbs on the stage - Etna’s the sole feature of the 164km long stage 6.
The first proper GC battle of the race, I think we’ll see the stage winner come from that group as someone looks to make a mark. It’s hard to tell who’s in good form as we haven’t had a real climb yet, but Simon Yates is clearly on song. Raid your kids’ piggy banks and throw the lot on him. Pushed for another pick, you’d take a look at Thibaut Pinot; he was on great form at Tour of the Alps so you’d say he’s probably going to be one of the better riders through the early part of the Giro.