Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) rode away from a break to take the stage 5 win in the 2020 Giro d’Italia.
The biggest and heaviest rider in the peloton dropped all the climbers and GC riders, riding away from what was left of an eight-man break, through light rain and a low cloud cover.
While the 24-year-old Italian won the stage 1 time trial, this is his first mass-start UCI pro road race win.
“We wanted to make up for losing Geraint [Thomas], so it’s a good day for the team,” the smiling Ganna said.
Riding away from Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) and Einer Rubio (Movistar Team) on the final climb, the newly-crowned world champion in the individual time trial handled the slick conditions of rainwater on recently-paved roads over the top of the climb, and following 11-kilometer descent.
Ganna also rode into the lead of the KOM competition.
Ganna was the sole rider remaining from an eight-man break of Salvatore Puccio (Ineos Grenadiers), Jhonatan Restrepo (Androni Giocattoli–Sidermec), Jan Tratnik (Bahrain-McLaren), Carl Fredrik Hagen (Lotto-Soudal), Hector Carretero (Movistar Team), Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates), and Edoardo Zardini (Sottoli-Selle Italia- KTM).
This group was splintered with 35km to go, when Carretero attacked. Ganna responded, with Pucci and Conti coming along for the ride.
From the chasing peloton, De Gendt and Rubio exploded up the road, quickly getting an advantage.
The twosome picked up the remains of the break, and get as much as 65 seconds away from the pink jersey group.
Seeing this attack as a threat, Trek-Segafredo went to the front to protect Vincenzo Nibali, a move which was also joined by Deceuninck-Quick-Step, to protect Almeida’s lead.
The shattered break was caught, one-by-one, by De Gendt and Rubio, and it looked as if the two might ride away to decide the stage win for themselves. But Ganna refused to let them get more than several bike lengths up.
The big Italian clawed his way back to the attackers and sat in with them for just long enough to recover, and let the road flatten out a bit.
When the pace was no longer accelerating away from the main bunch, Ganna went on the attack, and quickly put 100m into De Gendt and Rubio.
As Ganna continued his mission upward, he got nearly a minute advantage as the rain started to fall, and his route was illuminated by the caravan headlights.
Cresting the final climb of the day with 11km left of racing, the big man, four times the world champion in the individual pursuit on the track, went into solo mode.
He descended aggressively, if not safely on the slippery roads, to protect his advantage while his pursuers were absorbed by the peloton some 3km back.
Jostling for the safest lines, Nibali, Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb), Pozzivivo went to the front, joined by the pink leader’s jersey of João Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step).
Riding safely to his second win of this year’s Giro, Ganna looked relieved to be finished the 225km route.
Patrick Conrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) won the field sprint, with Almeida finishing in third, earning an additional four seconds advantage in the general classification from a time bonus.