Giacomo Nizzolo took second place for an 11th time in the Giro d’Italia sprints but again missed out on victory as Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) produced a late burst of speed to win in Cattolica after the technical and crash-strewn finale of stage 5.
“I’m getting used to the feeling but I did my best and so there’s no regrets, someone was simply faster than me again,” the Qhubeka Assos rider said sportingly afterwards.
Nizzolo avoided the late crash that took out Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) with four kilometres to go, and surfed through the four 90-degree turns in the final three kilometres in the centre of Cattolica.
He was on Tim Merlier’s (Alpecin-Fenix) wheel with a kilometre to go, a little too far back and so opened his sprint early. He hit the front as Elia Viviani (Cofidis) also came through and could see the finish line in front of him, only for Ewan to come up fast and pass him to take the win.
“I think I did a good sprint but there was someone who was stronger than I was,” Nizzolo said.
“We had a good plan in the team and we tried to make it happen. I asked the guys to stay around me so that I didn’t have to fight in the corners.
“I’m sorry for the guys who crashed and hope they’re OK. It was a technical finale, I wouldn’t say it was dangerous.
"I actually like finishes like this, there’s always a risk of crashes but just like there is in any sprint finish. It’s perhaps different and almost safer for whoever is up front and can see the road; the riders behind the sprinters can’t see very much.”
Nizzolo’s only consolation for his 11th second place at the Giro d’Italia was to pull on the cyclamen-coloured points jersey.
He has won the points jersey in 2015 and 2016 and now leads the points classification with a total of 72 points, four better than Viviani, who finished third in the Cattolica sprint, and 14 better than Merlier.
“I’ve been lucky to wear it before when it was red and it’s a symbol of the Giro d’Italia, I’m happy to have it again,” Nizzolo said.
“I’ll wear it with pride during stage 6 and I hope it helps me survive the climb to the finish, then we can try again in the likely sprint in Termoli on stage 7 and maybe finally win a stage."
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