Hello and welcome to our live coverage from stage 5 of the Giro d'Italia.
We're in La Spezia, where Davide Formolo won a dramatic stage 4 and today we head to Abetone for the first summit finish of this year's race. It promises to be another gripping day of racing with Simon Clarke looking to defend his maglia rosa and the GC contenders hoping to land a few early punches.
The stage starts in around twenty minutes and most of the peloton have signed on. We're without Gianni Meersman (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step and Robert Wagner (Ger) Team LottoNL-Jumbo, with both riders abandoning during yesterday's stage. That leaves us with 191 riders as we set off.
A reminder of where we stand on GC:
1 Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica GreenEdge 11:54:48
2 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica GreenEdge 0:00:10
3 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:17
4 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
5 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:23
6 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team
7 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team 0:00:29
8 Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team 0:00:31
9 Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
10 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 0:00:37
Yesterday we saw Aru launch an attack on the final climb and he was matched by Porte and Contador but Uran was unable to follow. He's lost time as a result and finds himself out of GC. Today's climb could suit him though and his first priority will be to make sure he keeps pace with his main podium rivals. He can't afford too many more mistakes this early in the race.
At 152km today's stage is relatively short in length but there's few flat section of tarmac and two climbs, the Foce Carpinelli (third cat) at 57km and then the final 17km ascent to the line.
Manzoni (Nippo - Vini Fantini) says:
The peloton are now on the startline and we should be off in the next few minutes. Clarke, in the maglia rosa, is right at the front, all smiles from the Orica rider as you might expect.
We've seen attacks from the gun nearly every stage so far and we shouldn't expect anything different today. A number of teams will not want to wait for the final climb of the day so it just depends on the make up of the break and willingness of the peloton to chase.
The peloton roll out and into the neutralized zone.
Rolling through the neutralized zone at the moment but that will come to a close in the next few minutes.
And we're now officially racing but the peloton are still together despite a few opportunist moves off the front of the bunch.
142km remaining from 152km
10km into the stage and attacks are coming right and left at the moment but nothing is able to stick.
136km remaining from 152km
And we now have a move that looks to have created a gap over the main field with Axel Domont ( Ag2r La Mondiale ) , Serghei Ţvetcov ( Androni Sidermec ) , Silvan Dillier ( BMC ) , Sylvain Chavanel ( IAM ) and Jan Polanc ( Lampre Merida ) going clear.
The leaders have opened a two minute advantage over the peloton, who looking willing to let this move go clear. There's no real GC threat for the main contenders to worry about so we could see the break move out to over five minutes.
Back in the bunch and there's no real chase at the moment. Orica have one rider on the front and Tinkoff and Astana are close to the head of the peloton but they're just keeping out of trouble for now.
It's now up to four minutes between the peloton and the break. Clarke is near the front but he'll not be concerned with the situation just yet and will be happy to see other teams take control. Should Clarke falter today, the Australian team has Chaves waiting in the wings. He could potentially move into the race lead, although that could of course be a tall order given the likely shake-up we'll see on the final climb.
117km remaining from 152km
Already 35km into the race and the situation is relatively settled in that we have a break of six riders up the road in Axel Domont (Ag2r La Mondiale), Serghei Tvetcov (Androni Sidermec), Silvan Dillier (BMC), Sylvain Chavanel (IAM) e Jan Polanc (Lampre Merida) and the bunch nearly five minutes in arrears.
One rider who could certainly make an impact later in the race is Australia's Richie Porte. He matched Aru and Contador yesterday and is inside the top ten. He knows the climb to the finish well, having lived in Toscana before moving to Monaco. We caught up with him yesterday to get his impressions on the climb and how the stage could play out. You can watch the video here.
@Etixx_QuickStep Wed, 13th May 2015 12:53:52
Alessandro Malaguti (Nippo - Vini Fantini) is between the peloton and the break. He's four minutes down on the leads and a minute ahead of the main field. It wont be long before he sits up and waits as there's no point in pursuing with this course of action.
Away from the Giro, it's been confirmed that Fabian Cancellara will make his return to racing later this month in Norway. He missed most of the spring classics after a fall in E3 Harelbeke. You can read more on the Swiss rider's return, just here.
107km remaining from 152km
Back at the Giro and the break are heading towards Casolo in Lunigiana and after that they'll hit the first climb of the day. They currently have 5'45 over the peloton.
In the break, Polanc, is the highest placed rider in GC but he's all the way down in 58th place, 19;19 down on Clarke's magalia rosa. Almost 50km of the stage has been covered as we close in on the first climb of the day.
Chaves, in the white jersey, is near the front of the peloton along with Clarke. The Colombian though could move into pink today if he can hold the leaders on the stage, and Clarke slips out of contention. It would make a remarkable race for the Australian WorldTour team who have had three leaders and two stage wins already in the race.
102km remaining from 152km
Malaguti is soldiering on but he's lost more ground on the break. The five leaders are 9'05 clear of the peloton with 50km covered.
The leaders are close to the top of the first climb of the day. The bunch at just over eight minutes down at this moment in time.
The five leaders will need to hold most of that advantage at the foot of the final climb if they're to stand any chance of winning the stage.
86km remaining from 152km
Just under 90km remaining in the stage as Orica put a number of men on the front of the peloton.
@Cyclingnewsfeed Wed, 13th May 2015 13:47:07
@Cyclingnewsfeed Wed, 13th May 2015 13:37:05
The five leaders continue to share the workload at the front of the race as Luke Durbridge sets the pace for Simon Clarke and Orica GreenEdge. Just behind the Australian WorldTour team sit Astana and Tinkoff Saxo.
74km remaining from 152km
The gap between the peloton and the break is at just over nine minutes as Durbridge continues to set the pace for the Orica-led peloton. The conditions are almost perfect with few clouds in the sky and not much wind out there for now.
Sky have also moved towards the front of the peloton to join Sky and Astana. No view of Etixx though but no doubt Uran is where he needs to be at this point.
@stephenfarrand Wed, 13th May 2015 14:05:14
An interesting development as the break move out to 11 minutes clear of the peloton as the bunch go through the feedzone. 66km to go and the break have a serious chance of victory now.
@Cyclingnewsfeed Wed, 13th May 2015 14:09:39
Dillier drops back to the team car to have a word with his BMC DS, Piva. The BMC rider quickly moves back to his companions though as the gap drops to 10/18 to the peloton. Still Orica doing all the work on the front of the race.
The rolling terrain continues as the five leader start an uncategorised climb. The gap is holding between 10 and 11 minutes as back in the bunch a number of domestiques drift back to their team cars to pick up supplies and instructions.
Under two hours of racing left as the break pass through another small village, the advantage at 10'50. If they can hold that lead at the foot of the final climb they stand a great chance of deciding the stage win. The bunch are still taking on food so the chase has eased off in the last few minutes.
BMC directeur sportif Valerio Piva spoke to Italian television during the stage about Silvan Dilier’s hopes of winning the stage thanks to being part of the break of the day.
“With the gap at 11 minutes, I think the break might make it to the finish. At the moment they’ve let the break go but the teams going for the GC could start working soon.
"Dilier’s not a climber but he’s riding well. Chavanel is a threat because he’s a good rider. We’ll see what happens.”
Tvetcov almost loses it on a descent but just about holds it together. He, however, needs to come to a stop before he can start again. He just got it all wrong as he took a corner.
Alberto Contador lined-up at the start in La Spezia on his own and hinted he and his Tinkoff-Saxo team would prefer a quiet day.
“We’ll see what happens. There are several teams that have reasons to control the race. Perhaps we’ll take things easy. I’m well placed overall and so can race tranquillo. The climb to Abetone doesn’t really suit me because I like steeper climbs but we’ll see what happens.”
Fabio Aru spoke to Italian television before the start.
“My teammates were great and gave their all. I didn’t do anything in comparison.”
“I think there’ll be a big battle on Abetone. We’ve had a hard start to the Giro and today is going to spectacular too.”
Will you attack?
Savio leans out of the window to assist his rider in the break, who has a bit of a problem with his shoes. He may need to stop and change.
@friebos Wed, 13th May 2015 14:40:29
45km remaining from 152km
The Androni rider has made it back to the break, so we're back up to five riders in the lead. Still no sign of the GC riders at the front of the bunch though, with all the work being tapped out by Orica GreenEdge.
@Cyclingnewsfeed Wed, 13th May 2015 14:41:20
Tinkoff have put themselves just behind Orica as we head into the final 40km of the stage. The final 17km of the stage is all uphill.
The pace and tension begins to rise at the front of the race with Tinkoff, Sky and Astana gathering closer and closer to the tailend of the Orica train.
That pressure has taken a minute off the break's lead and the gap is down to 9'30 with 33km to go.
Contador has changed bikes. Not sure if that's planned or not but he's on a new bike. No real panic and he's chasing back through the team cars.
Tinkoff riders drop back and help their team leader back to the front of the action.
31km to go and the gap is holding at ten minutes. The break have a real chance of taking the stage honours today. They'll climb to the finish from the south side today with pitches up to 11 per cent. It levels out before the top before one last kick.
With Uran reportedly suffering from a cold since the start of the race all eyes will be on him and his team, which is already down to seven men in the race.
Cunego's team move to the front of the peloton, along with FDJ. Cunego won this race back in 2004 but has really fallen down the pecking order as GC rider in recent times. With the stage probably going to the break, this is brave move from his team.
We're around 10km from the bottom of the climb as Astana start to come back into play and move to the front of the peloton.
Luis Leon Sanchez is setting the pace for Aru's team but Orica still have a couple of men near the front too. It's starting to hot up with the break at nine minutes.
Hesjedal is right at the back of the peloton, not where he wants or should be at this point in the race, unless he's thinking about losing time and switching his aim into taking a stage later in the race.
Chavanel has a few words with the break before taking a turn on the front. The climb is less than 8km away but the gradient has already kicked up gently.
The Frenchman is probably the favourite from the break, perhaps on reputation alone, as Viviani drops back to the Team Sky car for a few more bottles and a chat with Cioni.
The pace at the front of the bunch has eased slightly as the riders set themselves for the final climb. Positioning will be crucial once the peloton hit the lower slopes up to Abetone.
Beppe Martinelli spoke briefly to Italian television as the finish approached.
“The break seems to set to fight for victory with the lead they have but I expect we’ll see some attacks from the overall contenders. The climb is not hard and so I don’t think we’ll see any big gaps. The Giro d’Italia will be decided during the third week.”
“Fabio is not yet at his best but he’s pretty good. He didn’t take long to recover from his problems before Trentino.”
21km remaining from 152km
A minute off the break's advantage in no time at all. It's down to eight minutes.
CCC, FDJ and IAM are near the front but just behind the frontline sit Team Sky, Astana and Tinkoff Saxo, Porte out of the saddle and with his jersey unzipped already.
Huge injection of pace from FDJ and riders at the back of the bunch are going to start to struggle.
But here come Tinkoff Saxo with all their team and Contador neatly tucked in behind his train.
The gradient continues to rise gently as we move closer to the foot of the final climb. The first major shake-up is expected today and the GC riders all near the front of the race.
Now the gap is down to seven minutes. If it's down to five minutes by the time the break hit the climb then it's advantage to the peloton.
Orica are doing the last bit of work they can as they try and position Clarke and Chaves where they need to be. Riders are starting to fall back from the peloton though.
17km remaining from 152km
And the climb starts for the break at 6;23. This could be really close but the peloton will not ease up between now and the finish.
Nieve has been forced to stop for a mechanical.
Under six minutes for the leaders with 15km to go.
Orica move up for one more long tern. How much do they have in the tank though? They hit a short descent before the climb begins.
Another twenty seconds off the leaders' advantage with Chaves on Clarke's wheel. Tinkoff are trying to take control for Contador though.
A few of the sprinters are being distanced from the back of the peloton.
Chavanel has attacked from the break and Tvetcov has been dropped straight away. Chavanel has been caught by the rest of the break though. So we now have four leaders in the break.
@Cyclingnewsfeed Wed, 13th May 2015 15:37:51
The gap is down to 4'49 with 12km to go.
And Chavanel tries once more and this time , using a bigger gear, he has created a gap.
No sign of Sky or Astana yet at the front of the peloton. Dillier does manage to match Chavanel so we have two leaders now.
And Domont makes it back and attacks straight away.
The Frenchman has blown though and it's Dillier who attacks next. Chavanel leads the chase.
The BMC rider has 4'12 over the peloton with 11.4km to go.
Astana and Tinkoff look pretty organised near the front of the peloton but no sign of Sky or Etixx at this point of the race, they're a little further back.
10km remaining from 152km
Polanc has now attacked Chavanel but the Frenchman can hold the pace and we have three leaders again: Chavanel, Polanc and Dillier with 4'03 over the peloton with 10.6km to go.
And the Lampre rider attacks this time. This looks like a decent move.
There are still around 80 riders in the peloton with 10km to go until we hit the summit, the first one of this year's Giro d'Italia.
Astana and Tinkoff are going toe-to-toe on the front of the peloton with Aru and Contador almost next to each other.
The pace is steady rather than electric and Polanc is extending his advantage to 4'18. Porte doesn't have too many teammates with him, it has to be said.
Polanc has a team car with him, so he's pulling out a lead now to twenty seconds on Chavanel and Dillier.
Chavanel has dropped the BMC rider though and is starting to try an close in on the Lampre rider.
The IAM rider jumps out of the saddle and it's Rosa who attacks for Astana but he's matched by the experience of Ivan Basso. The move shut down.
Pirazzi has attacked and he's gone clear though.
Chavanel is 28 seconds down on Polanc meanwhile.
And there's another attack from Astana and this time it's Landa who has gone clear. Tinkoff don't react.
7km remaining from 152km
7km to go and Contador's men must set the pace now. Landa is about to catch Pirazzi. Porte is all alone at the moment. Clarke is with the leading group too.
So of significance we have Polanc, then Chavanel , then Pirazzi and Landa, then the peloton.
Chaves and Clarke are both in the GC group but Porte is all alone. Uran, Contador and Aru are all there.
It's Tinkoff setting the pace with Basso and Pirazzi and Landa are brought back with 6.5km to go.
Uran is towards the back of the GC group. He will want to move up, if he can.
The maglia rosa group are about to hit the hardest part of the climb with Basso doing all the work.
Polanc still looks good for the stage win though, a gap of 3;49 on the peloton.
Pirazzi goes again. Basso simply shrugs and continues his work. Rogers on his wheel.
And Astana now move up.
Pirazzi caught again. Copy and paste for the next two weeks.
5km remaining from 152km
Just a shade over 5km left of the stage as Astana set the pace for the maglia rosa group, which is down to around 40 riders. Betancur is about to be dropped and Clarke has been let go too. We'll have a new race leader at the end of the day.
5km to go for the lone leader from Lampre. Clarke is trying to come back though, a huge effort from the Australian.
The maglia rosa has lost 30 seconds as Tiralongo sets a furious pace for Aru.
Four Astana riders right on the front of the bunch.
And Contador attacks!
Aru in trouble?
Contador is about to be caught by Porte and then Aru. Three leaders.
And now Porte attacks.
He's matched by Contador and Aru. Where is Uran?
And Aru has attacked but Porte matches him and so does Contador.
Landa has caught the trio so the pace settles.
This means Contador is the virtual leader on the road.
It's Movistar who are leading the chase behind the three main race favourites.
Landa is doing the work for Aru now. Will Contador and Porte try another attack?
Polanc has two minutes with 2km to go.
The Contador group have a minute over the chase. That's a huge gap with Landa still setting the pace.
Landa, Aru, Porte and then Contador.
1.5km go to for the lone leader but bonus seconds could be crucial today.
Contador is out the saddle now, is he going to attack again?
Uran and Chaves are a minute down on the Contador and Aru group.
Landa still leads the GC favourites. He's done a huge amount of work as Hesjedal attacks from the chase group.
Landa is starting to crack as Polanc takes the stage.
A fine win for the Lampre rider.
700m for the Contador group let.
Chavanel will take 6 seconds on the line.
Contador and Aru attack
Aru takes third and some time on Contador but it looks like the Spaniard will take the maglia rosa at the end of the stage.
Aru just had a bit more of a kick on the line and finished ahead of Contador and Porte. Chavanel hung on for second place on the stage. Polanc took the win.
It means Contador now leads the race by just two seconds ahead of Aru.
Clarke has just finished around four minutes down, his short reign in pink over.
1 Jan Polanc (Slo) Lampre-Merida 4:09:18
2 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling 0:01:31
3 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team
4 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
5 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky
6 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:01:44
7 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:01:53
8 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Team Katusha
9 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team
10 Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) BMC Racing Team
Uran lost 28 seconds on his main GC rivals. We'll have the new GC up next.
General classification after stage 5
1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 16:06:54
2 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:02
3 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 0:00:20
Polanc now on the podium after his stage win as Contador and Aru warm down. The Spaniard will be heading to the podium in a few minutes though in order to pick up the maglia rosa.
General classification after stage 5
1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 16:06:54
2 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:02
3 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 0:00:20
4 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:22
5 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:28
6 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica GreenEdge 0:00:37
7 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team 0:00:56
8 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:01:01
9 Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:01:15
10 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 0:01:18
Contador on the podium and in pink points to his jersey before enjoying his champagne moment.
@Etixx_QuickStep Wed, 13th May 2015 16:30:20
You can find our report, photos and report right here.
Thanks for joining us today. We'll have full reactions and analysis from the stage a little later. Meanwhile, tune in tomorrow for stage 6 of the Giro d'Italia.
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