This is a wavy stage in the first part at the foot of the Etna running across a number of towns with the usual road furniture obstacles. After the Alcantara Valley and Taormina, the course becomes flat along the coast and the final part features a circuit in Messina. A field sprint is to be expected.
Stage 5: Gaviria sprints to second victory
Fernando Gaviria collected his second stage win of the Giro d’Italia with a ferocious sprint in Messina, Italy to cross the line first in stage 5. His Quick-Step Floors team also kept the pink leader’s jersey after the mostly flat 159-kilometer race. Luxembourg’s Bob Jungels leads the overall.
Jakub Mareczko (Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia) sprinted to second place on the day. Bora-Hansgrohe’s Sam Bennett was third. “I’m happy with two victories, the legs are now responding the way we wanted,” said Gaviria, who has also taken the sprinter’s jersey. “We wanted to take some points because we were down a few. We wanted to take this jersey, we managed to get the points we needed and we did it in the best way.”
Top 10, stage 5
- 1. Fernando GAVIRIA RENDON, QUICK – STEP FLOORS, in 3:40:11
- 2. Jakub MARECZKO, WILIER TRIESTINA, at :00
- 3. Sam BENNETT, BORA – HANSGROHE, at :00
- 4. André GREIPEL, LOTTO SOUDAL, at :00
- 5. Phil BAUHAUS, TEAM SUNWEB, at :00
- 6. Kristian SBARAGLI, TEAM DIMENSION DATA, at :00
- 7. Ryan GIBBONS, TEAM DIMENSION DATA, at :00
- 8. Roberto FERRARI, UAE ABU DHABI, at :00
- 9. Jasper STUYVEN, TREK – SEGAFREDO, at :00
- 10. Enrico BATTAGLIN, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, at :00
- 1. Bob JUNGELS, QUICK – STEP FLOORS, in 23:22:07
- 2. Geraint THOMAS, TEAM SKY, at :06
- 3. Adam YATES, ORICA – SCOTT, at :10
- 4. Domenico POZZOVIVO, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at :10
- 5. Vincenzo NIBALI, BAHRAIN – MERIDA, at :10
- 6. Nairo QUINTANA, MOVISTAR TEAM, at :10
- 7. Tom DUMOULIN, TEAM SUNWEB, at :10
- 8. Bauke MOLLEMA, TREK – SEGAFREDO, at :10
- 9. Tejay VAN GARDEREN, BMC RACING TEAM, at :10
- 10. Andrey AMADOR BIKKAZAKOVA, MOVISTAR TEAM, at :10
Evgeny Shalunov (Rusvelo) and Maciej Paterski (CCC Sprandi-Polkowice) were the day’s two breakaway riders. The duo was caught with about 15 kilometers remaining. This 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia affords precious few chances for sprinters, so the peloton was eager to snuff out the escape.
Stage 5 finished with two short laps around Messina’s city center, including a huge roundabout that strung out the peloton as it made the 180-degree turn. On the first time through, Bahrain-Merida’s Luka Pibernik mistakenly thought he was racing for the finish. He saluted as he crossed the line as thousands of puzzled fans looked on. Pibernik, 23, quickly realized his embarrassing gaffe before being swallowed up by the peloton as they began the final circuit.
Bahrain-Merida team leader and defending Giro champion Vincenzo Nibali later explained what had confused his young teammate.
“The battery on his radio earpiece ran out. We tried calling him back to tell him, but he couldn’t hear us. But he’s young, things like that can happen,” said Nibali.
In the actual sprint for the finish, Lotto-Soudal and Bora-Hansgrohe jostled for position in the final 500 meters.
With Bora on the front for Bennett, Quick-Step expertly scooted up the left side of the bunch, placing Gaviria’s lead-out man Max Richese at the front, with his Colombian sprinter just behind. Bennett launched his sprint slightly early, and Gaviria was able to pounce in the closing 100 meters to win by a bike length. Bennett faded, opening the door for Mareczko to snatch second place.
“Rudi [Selig] did an awesome lead-out, he gave everything for me today,” said Bennett. “After being ill, I am so happy the team trusts me and this gives me so much confidence.”
Thursday’s stage 6 might be a less-nervous affair for race leader Jungels as it will be a rolling 206-kilometer route to Terme Luigiane that may favor a breakaway.
“It went perfectly today; it was really really dangerous, and a pretty crazy final to be honest,” said Jungels who went on to criticize fans for pushing too close to the roadway. “I’m super happy that Fernando [Gaviria] took the victory but it cost me a lot of nerves.”