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Giro d'Italia 2018: Stage 5


Welcome to our full live coverage of stage 5 of the Giro d'Italia, another rolling day with a punchy finale. 



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Giro d'Italia 2018 hub page Giro d'Italia 2018: Race preview
Giro d'Italia 2018: Start list
Podcast: Giro preview

Stage 4: Wellens wins in uphill sprint

Not just Etna: The Giro d'Italia gets serious in Sicily





Hello there and welcome back to the Cyclingnews live race centre for more from the Giro d'Italia. It's stage 5 today, and the second of three stages on the island of Sicily.


While Mount Etna - the first summit finish of the 2018 Giro - awaits tomorrow, today's 153km outing from Agrigento to Santa Ninfa mimics yesterday's stage 4, with constantly undulating roads and a punchy finale. 

The riders and teams have all arrived in Agrigento and the last of them are signing on for the stage. The race gets underway at 13.30 local time. 



Agrigento and its storied Valley of Temples have a long association with big-time cycling, having hosted the World Championships in 1994, as well as the Grande Partenza of the 1999 Giro. Santa Ninfa, on the other hand, makes its debut as a stage town, as the Giro visits the province of Trapani for the first time to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the devastating Valle del Belice earthquake of 1968, which killed 231 people.

So writes our very own Barry Ryan in his preview of this Sicilian chapter of the Giro. He describes this as 'a stage of two halves', with the finale likely to take the pure sprinters out of the equation. Here's the link you need for the full thing.


Italian television are saying the start of this stage as been delayed by 10 minutes due to an accident out on the route. 


Before we get going, here's a reminder of the overall standings after four stages


1 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 14:23:08
2 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:01
3 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:17
4 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Fix All 0:00:19
5 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:25
6 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:28
7 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
8 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:34
9 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:35
10 Carlos Betancur (Col) Movistar Team


And they're off. After a short delay, the riders have rolled out of Agrigento and are making their way through the neutralised section. Racing proper will be underway in around 10 minutes. 

Interestingly, Chris Froome was warming up ahead of today's stage, riding out along the course and then back again ahead of the start.


The Tour de France and Vuelta a España champion has had a disappointing start to this Giro, losing significant time in the stage 1 time trial after a recon crash, and then losing more time on yesterday's uphill final kilometre. We spoke to him after yesterday's stage and he still seemed optimistic. Here's what he had to say


We're underway


The flag drops and the riders begin to race. 


And of course the attacks come quickly, with Ryan Mullen escaping with a rider each from Wilier and Androni. He has a Trek-Segafredo teammate chasing behind and is understandably keen to wait for him. 


Those four riders quickly open a gap and there's no response in the peloton. This looks like our break of the day. 


The four breakaway riders are:


Ryan Mullen (Trek-Segafredo)

Laurent Didier (Trek-Segafredo)

Eugert Zhupa (Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia)

Andrea Vendrame (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec)


The quartet have opened a lead of over two minutes already, and that is set to grow and grow. BMC have the responsibility of controlling the pace in the peloton, with the pink jersey on the shoulders of Rohan Dennis, but also those teams interested in the stage win will have to contribute, too. 


Our top story today doesn't concern the Giro, or at least not directly. Alberto Contador is a two-time winner of the corsa rosa and we have an exclusive interview with him. It's a special one, as Alasdair Fotheringham travelled to Pinto to visit Contador at home, the Spaniard having moved back to his hometown in retirement after living in Switzerland during his career. 


Alasdair finds a typical sleepy Spanish town, and a Contador who is embracing his new life and - as he says (and as I think Ronan Keating also says) - 'living each day as if it's the last'. Here's the full interview, complete with photos. 


Alberto Contador: It’s time to enjoy life 100 per cent


BMC are indeed on the front of the peloton, but Tom Dumoulin's Sunweb henchmen are massed right behind. The 2017 champion is second overall, a solitary second off Dennis' lead. 


No rest for the wicked. Jempy Drucker, who did a lot of work yesterday, is the rider BMC have sent to the front of the peloton here. Behind him are three from Sunweb, five from Sky, and then Mitchelton-Scott and UAE. 

UAE, of course, really took on yesterday's stage, causing splits in the peloton before sending Valerio Conti away in the finale. In the end, though, Diego Ulissi was nowhere to be seen on a finale that suited him on paper. Can he do something today? 


Lotto Soudal are another team who we could see contribute today, as they did yesterday ahead of Tim Wellens' fine victory. 


Away from the Giro again, and we also have a story on Nacer Bouhanni today. The Frenchman has had a poor start to the season that has sparked altercations between him and the Cofidis staff. Bouhanni is currently at the 4 Jours de Dunkerque, seeking his first win of 2018.


CN Editor Daniel Benson spoke to Cofidis manager Cedric Vasseur to get the low-down, and he told us Bouhanni's Tour de France spot is at risk. "I want him to show us mental and physical improvements... it would be the worst situation for us if we took a leader to the Tour who had gone through six months of a bad season." 


Full story: Bouhanni racing to save his Tour de France spot


@giroditalia: Sicilia #Giro101

Wed, 9th May 2018 12:16:33


123km remaining from 153km

Our four leaders have opened up a lead of 5:30 after 30km of racing. 


Lotto Soudal have put a rider on the front of the peloton and the gap has fallen to 5 minutes. 


Lotto FIX ALL, sorry (the Belgian team have changed their name for the Giro). I need to write that out 100 times. I'll have the hang of it by the end of the three weeks...


We're now in Grand Tour season, but don't let the spring classics drift too far to the back of your memory. They're the subject of our first ever film, 'The Holy Week'.


Our team were granted exclusive behind-the-scenes access, from the team buses to behind the podiums, and even the massage tables, to tell the story of the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. 


You can buy or rent the film here


114km remaining from 153km

The peloton keeps its foot on the gas and the gap falls to 4:25. 

Here's a first shot of our breakaway quartet



106km remaining from 153km

The gap between break and bunch continues to fall thanks to Lotto Fix All's (nailed it) Sander Armee, with Sunweb, UAE and Bahrain also up there. BMC enjoying a back seat now and they won't be complaining about that. 


3:35 is the gap. 


Today is the seventh anniversary of the death of Wouter Weylandt. The Belgian tragically died on stage 3 of the 2011 Giro after crashing on the descent of the Passo del Bocco near Genoa. 


Weylandt was dossard number 108, and the number has never been used since in the Giro. At the start this morning, the 108 space on the signature board was filled with the words Sempre con noi - 'Always with us'. 


Remembering Wouter Weylandt at the Giro d'Italia


100km remaining from 153km

Into the final 100km now and the gap has stabilised at 3:35. 

A reminder of the stage profile. We're still on those gently undulating but relatively easy roads, but things will start to get a bit trickier once through the feed zone (that's the red 'R') in about 20km time. 



87km remaining from 153km

Mullen, Didier, Zhupa, and Vendrame plough on together, with a lead of 3:10. They're on an uphill drag and so are the peloton now, with many taking advantage of the relaxed pace to stop for a nature break. 


Unlike Chris Froome, Tom Dumoulin was solid yesterday, finishing with most of the GC contenders. However, the Dutchman didn't see it so much as another potentially complicated day down, but more an opportunity lost. Here's his reaction. 


Dumoulin: I should have shown more courage



We're two hours into stage 5 and only 70km have been covered. That, it doesn't take a calculator to work out, is an average speed of 35km/h, which is some way below the lowest predicted speed on the timetable. 


It looks like Froome has had a mechanical problem. He's back in the cars with two teammates. No stress for the Sky rider at this point. 


Irish champion Mullen has been the main workhorse in this breakaway. The 23-year-old is a time trial specialist but finished a disappointing 62nd in the opening-day time trial in Jerusalem. Trek were keen on this break, putting two riders in there, but they haven't been allowed much leeway from the powers that be in the peloton. 


Lotto Fix All are massed on the front of the peloton with pretty much a full team. But here come Sky down the middle, led by Salvatore Puccio, and that's because we're passing by his hometown of Menfi. Puccio's name is printed on banners and chalked onto the tarmac as the tifosi pay tribute. 




Feed zone


The riders grab their musettes and lunch is served. I've already had a salad, the benefits of which were probably negated by the subsequent caramel cupcake. If I'm telling you about my lunch, it must be a pretty sleepy day out there. A stage of two halves, I think Barry Ryan said, so things should start to liven up once this food has been digested. 


Here's Mullen in his rightful place on the front of the break



Guy Niv has abandoned the race


The 24-year-old has made history in becoming the first Israeli rider to start a Grand Tour, though it's a honour he shares with his teammate and namesake Guy Sagiv. Both played an important part for their team, the Israel Cycling Academy, as the Giro started in Israel last weekend. Unfortunately, Niv has been suffering with a stomach virus and has climbed off his bike now. Shout out for Pat Malach's story on the 'Two Guys'...


Giro d'Italia: 'Two Guys' made the cut, now on to Rome


Niv is the second rider to abandon this Giro after Bardiani-CSF sprinter Andrea Guardini pulled out through illness yesterday. The race is now three riders light, with Kanstantsin Siutsou failing to start after crashing in his recon of the stage 1 time trial.


65km remaining from 153km

The breakaway are on the first of three fourth-category climbs on today's stage. It's positioned at Santa Margherita di Belice, and is 2.8km long with an average gradient of 4.3 per cent.


Mullen takes maximum points at the top of the climb, but only by virtue of being on the front as they crossed the line. There was no contest for the points. 


The climb is shortly followed by the first of two intermediate sprints. It's marginally more keenly contested than the KOM, but not fiercely so. Vendrame takes maximum points ahead of Zhupa. 


As the peloton approaches the sprint, we get a first sighting of Elia Viviani, winner of two stages so far and wearer of the maglia ciclamino. The Italian makes a relaxed dart forward to make sure he mops up what's left and extend his lead in the points classification. 


The riders are now heading down what looks like a highly enjoyable gentle descent. After around 8km, they'll be heading uphill again on the second climb of the day, this time a longer but steadier drag to Partanna. 


Weirdly, here are FDJ at the front of the peloton, leading them down this descent. Thibaut Pinot, of course, is their leader for the general classification. 


50km remaining from 153km

As the four breakaway riders pass under the 50km to go banner, they have a lead of a similarly round number - 2:30


These first two days in Sicily seemed, on paper, to represent a real headache for whoever was defending the maglia rosa. No such issues for Rohan Dennis and BMC, however - not so far, anyway. After keeping the break at hand yesterday and guiding Dennis safely into the final kilometre, the boys in black and red have enjoyed a relaxed day so far, as other teams - mostly Lotto Fix All - have taken responsibility and made sure no danger came of this relatively unthreatening four-rider break. 


Speaking of Dennis, he'd love to hold pink all the way to Rome, but his 'Grand Tour project' is a long-term vision, and at the very least he wants to treat this as a learning experience. Here's what he had to say after yesterday's stage, his first successful defence of a Grand Tour leader's jersey. 


Dennis: I need to try to learn from this Giro d'Italia


The riders are climbing again, up to Partanna. It's a 9.2km climb at an average of 3.7 per cent. 


A slight increase in the third hour of racing, with the average speed creeping up to 36km/h. 


More Sicilian scenery



41km remaining from 153km

The breakaway riders come into town and to the top of the climb. Once again, the KOM points are not contested, and once again it's Mullen who takes them by virtue of being on the front at the right time. 

The peloton crest the climb 2:08 in arrears. Dennis was up towards the front there, just taking care through the narrow streets. Danger had been signalled when AG2R's Francois Bidard came down on one of the tight bends. 


37km remaining from 153km

The gap ducks under the 2-minute mark now as BMC line things out on this descent. 


Steve Morabito and Laurens Ten Dam, domestiques for Pinot and Dumoulin respectively, slip out on one of the corners. They're both ok and up and carrying on. 


That crash and the increase in pace has caused a split in the peloton. Nothing major for now but the race is coming to life now. 


30km remaining from 153km

Inside the final 30km and the riders are back on the flat. There's the second intermediate sprint coming up ahead of the third and final climb, which tops out some 20km from the line. It's far from straightforward thereafter, however, with another uncategorised rise, followed by a downhill, and then that punchy final 2km. 


Meanwhile the four breakaway riders - Mullen, Didier, Zhupa, Vendrame - have seen their advantage creep back up. 2:15 is the latest gap. 

Predictions please


Who's going to win today? It's a similar finish to yesterday, though not quite as punishing. Tim Wellens was the winner 24 hours ago, with Michael Woods second and Enrico Battaglin third. Will those riders be in the mix again? Will any GC riders strike out (with Dumoulin calling yesterday a missed opportunity)? Could Sam Bennett, who surprised everyone yesterday, do something here?


Let me know your thoughts via Twitter @paddyfletch


25km remaining from 153km

The breakaway men come into Poggioreale for the second intermediate sprint, and the road's tilting uphill already. Vendrame once again takes maximum points (and three somewhat meaningless bonus seconds), though it's less a sprint and more a casual roll-through. 




Laurent Didier, whose teammate Mullen has done the lion's share of the work in the break, springs clear and attempts to go it alone. 


No attempt from Viviani for the one remaining bonus second this time at the intermediate sprint. Lotto Fix All lead the bunch as the gap comes down to 1:50. 


Vendrame and Zhupa succeed in making it across to Didier. Mullen, though, quite understandably, is done for the day. 


@paddyfletch Bennett 1st, Modolo 2nd if a sprint. Wellens if a late attack. Woods going for it again would be cool!

@Cycling_Crazy Wed, 9th May 2018 15:06:16

@paddyfletch revenge for Stybar today

@TomBowk Wed, 9th May 2018 15:07:57

I take that back. Mullen has come back into it as the pace drops at the front. The Irishman, it seems, has more to give. 


Attack from Vendrame now. Zhupa leads the pursuit with Didier on the wheel. Mullen is dropped once more. 


We're now in Grand Tour season, but don't let the spring classics drift too far to the back of your memory. They're the subject of our first ever film, 'The Holy Week'.



Our team were granted exclusive behind-the-scenes access, from the team buses to behind the podiums, and even the massage tables, to tell the story of the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.



You can buy or rent the film here.


The attacks in the break will inject some pace but the breakdown in collaboration will only hurt their collective effort. The gap has fallen to 1:30, which is manageable for the peloton with just over 20km to go. 


Vendrame is still out on his own and he hits the top of the Poggioreale climb with 20km to go. 


Team Sky take it up now, taking over from Lotto. It's Vasil Kiryienka on the front for the British squad as Mullen is swept up. 


@paddyfletch Rusty Woods will get it right this time!

@KeikoKFlores Wed, 9th May 2018 15:13:59

Vendrame has his arms folded over his bars as he enjoys this short descent, but the road will soon be rising again. A reminder of the stage profile. We're nearly into the final 15km. 



Lotto Fix All re-establish themselves on the nose of the peloton. One minute is the gap to Vendrame. 


A Sunweb rider, possibly Ten Dam, launches a bidon at the Shimano neutral service car. Not quite sure what the driver had done to annoy him. 


The game is up for Didier and Zhupa after 140km off the front. They're caught by the peloton with 15km to go. 

A solid effort here from Vendrame. While his companions have all been swallowed up, he's still one minute clear out front. 




It's a big one. Lots of riders held up here, though not too many on the deck. 


Max Schachmann is held up for a second day in a row but is up and running again. Jan Hirt and riders from Movistar and AG2R are still down. 


The crash happened on a bend about half-way down the peloton. Most of the GC riders will have been positioned up towards the front and therefore out of trouble. Any disruption in the peloton will only favour Vendrame. 


Pozzovivo off the back!


The Italian is in fine form and has made a brilliant start to this Giro, but there's panic here as he was one of the riders held up in that crash. He has two Bahrain-Merida teammates now with him to help him back. Make that three. 


Bahrain succeed in dragging Pozzovivo back to the peloton. Panic over. 


11km remaining from 153km

Meanwhile, with the road rising again, Vendrame's lead is shaved to 35 seconds. 


Jarlinson Pantano and Elia Viviani are two more riders caught up in that crash who won't be playing any part in this finale. 


10km remaining from 153km

10km to go now and the writing is on the wall for Vendrame. He has just 20 seconds in hand. 


The road is tipping down once more and this is where Vendrame can stem the tide. 


Mitchelton-Scott have taken it up now on the front of the peloton. 


White jersey @MaxSchachmann has returned to the pack after an impressive chase following the incident which delayed…

@quickstepteam Wed, 9th May 2018 15:34:16

We're coming towards the final 5km, and here's what they look like



Problem for Miguel Angel Lopez!


Mechanical for the Astana leader? No, it's a crash! The Colombian has veered into grass at the side of the road. That could hardly have come at a worse time, with the peloton rapidly advancing on this downhill run to the final 2km. 


4km remaining from 153km

10 seconds now for Vendrame

Where are Lopez's teammates? He's in the wind chasing alone here. 


Bahrain take it up now with 3km to go. The pace is really high here. 


Sky are also up there shepherding Froome. 


And now Astana drop two riders back for Lopez. It's Lutsenko and Luis Leon Sanchez. 


Lotto Soudal dominated the final few kilometres yesterday and here they are back on the front. 


2km remaining from 153km

Into the final 2km and the road now heads uphill!


Bak lifts the pace for Lotto


Pozzovivo is up there, as is Yates and Woods. Dennis is some way down. 


Mitchelton drilling it here. Froome in trouble again. 

It's coming back together now as the gradient eases. 


1km remaining from 153km

Under the flamme rouge and there's an attack from Ulissi. 


Pozzovivo tracks it


Ulissi swings over


Pozzovivo on the front, looking round


Aru comes through now. More looking round. 


Big right-hander here...


Attack from Visconti. Battaglin on the wheel

Battaglin comes round...


And Battaglin wins!


Enrico Battaglin (LottoNL-Jumbo) wins stage 5 of the Giro d'Italia


Here comes Lopez now, led by Sanchez. He loses 42 seconds. A huge blow, and the Giro goes from bad to worse for the Colombian. 


Battaglin, a winner of stages in the Giro in 2013 and 2014, seems back to his best. He showed his form yesterday and delivered today in convincing fashion. 


Top 10


1 Enrico Battaglin (Ita) LottoNL-Jumbo 4:06:33
2 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
3 José Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-Alpecin
4 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors
5 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott
6 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
7 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
8 Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Katusha-Alpecin
9 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
10 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe


Visconti tried to get the jump and led through the final bend, but Battaglin was already onto him, and after a short spell in the slipstream, the Italian came round and made it look easy in the end. Some bike lengths behind, Goncalves and Schachmann were engaged in a battle with third place, the former nicking it on the line after an unnecessary glance over the shoulder from the German. 


Dennis finished safely up there to last another day in pink. 


General classification after stage 5

1 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 18:29:41
2 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:01
3 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:17
4 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Fix All 0:00:19
5 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:25
6 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:28
7 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
8 José Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-Alpecin 0:00:32
9 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:34
10 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:35


Let's hear from our stage winner


"The finish was a bit different to yesterday. Yesterday was really a powerful sprint on a really steep climb. Today was a steep climb but at 2km to go, and I had a little bit of time to rest and recover and do a really good sprint.


"For me, the Giro is always lucky for me. I have always done a really good race. I’m really happy and I hope to continue the Giro in this way. At this moment, I am really happy with what I’ve done with this stage. Now, I want to live day by day and we will see what I can do in Rome."

We await reaction from Lopez. The Colombian crashed in his recon of the stage 1 time trial and produced a disappointing display, and this latest crash leaves him almost two minutes down after five stages. 


@giroditalia: Bravo Enrico! #Giro101

Wed, 9th May 2018 15:58:35


Here's our report page


Giro d'Italia: Battaglin wins stage 5 in Santa Ninfa



@giroditalia Wed, 9th May 2018 16:09:21


Here's a brief word from race leader Rohan Dennis. 


"To be honest today was quite simple compared to yesterday. I stayed calm and I wasn’t too nervous. I knew that it was quite a wide road. We’re looking forward to tomorrow, that’s the big test."


Here's runner-up and local lad Visconti


"I can't be totally happy. A home victory would have been like a dream. But I see the glass as half full, because I did not expect to have such legs and I helped Domenico to get back to the peloton too - an effort that then you pay for at the finish."

Full results and plenty of photos can now be found in our report page


Giro d'Italia: Battaglin wins stage 5 in Santa Ninfa


This is what lies ahead tomorrow. The small matter of Mount Etna...



Here's our collection of snap reactions from the protagonists on stage 5

Giro d'Italia: Stage 5 finish line quotes



That's it for our live coverage today. Thanks for joining us, and stay tuned to over the coming hours for all the stories and reaction from the race. We'll see you back here tomorrow for live coverage of stage 6 and the first summit finish of this 2018 Giro d'Italia. Ciao. 


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