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Giro d'Italia

Giro d’Italia stage 5: Kaden Groves wins rain-soaked stage, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish crash

Crashes galore as Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish among the many fallers on wet roads.

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Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) won a rain-soaked stage 5 of the Giro d’Italia into Salerno as Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) survived a scare after he crashed when a dog ran into the peloton.

It was a crash-marred finale to the fifth stage with riders slipping out on wet roads, and Mark Cavendish (Astana-Qazaqstan) fell as he crossed the line, coming down hard. The Manxman clipped the wheel of the rider in front of him in the sprint, which caused him to collide with another rider before falling.

Former pink jersey wearer Evenepoel, who had crashed earlier in the day, hit the deck again in the final two kilometers of the stage. However, he avoided losing any time.

In the sprint, Groves was the first rider to launch his sprint and remained in the lead all the way until the line. Jonathan Milan (Bahrain-Victorious) put up a strong challenge but had to settle for second with Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) in third.

“I surprised myself today. Everything was going well, but I crashed at 7km to go. I put my chain back on fast enough but it wasn’t very clean. Luckily I was good enough to be in position behind DSM and I had the legs to win. It’s a dream. This is a race I’ve been focusing on since November, December. After two thirds this week, they delivered me to the win,” Kroves said after the stage.

A slow day, punctuated by drama

After picking up the pink jersey on Tuesday’s stage, Andreas Leknessund had the honor of wearing the pink jersey. However, he had to cover it up as rain hammered down on the peloton, causing slick roads.

In stark contrast to the previous day’s stage, there was little resistance to letting the breakaway get up the road and four riders went up the road almost as soon as the flag dropped. Thomas Champion (Cofidis), Samuele Zoccarato (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè), Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), and Stefano Gandin (Team Corratec-Selle Italia) quickly built up a lead over a peloton that was looking for a relatively calm day out.

After mopping up nine points on the first of two third-category climbs, maglia azzurra wearer Pinot dropped out of the breakaway group and waited for the peloton to come to him. He had secured himself in the jersey of the mountains classification leader.

While all of this was going on, there was some unexpected drama in the bunch as a loose dog ran into the peloton. It was the second day in a row that a dog could be seen running near the bunch and it caused several members of the Soudal Quick-Step team to fall, including Evenepoel.

The world champion, who had been wearing the pink jersey until Tuesday, took some time to remount but he was soon back on his bike. The slow pace of the peloton meant that there was no panic in the chase and he was able to ease back into the bunch.

Evenepoel’s fall was the main drama of the day until the bunch rolled into the final kilometers for the sprint. The breakaway had been able to get little more than two minutes on the pack behind and was eventually caught with just over six kilometers to go.

The catch was slightly hampered by a fall near the front of the bunch on the final bend of the whole race that caught out several riders, including sprinter Fernando Gaviria (Movistar) and the pink jersey Leknessund.

Another crash with two kilometers to go saw Evenepoel on the ground again, but he would not lose any time due to the three-kilometer rule.

In the sprint, Groves powered through to take his first win of the Giro d’Italia.

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