Enrico Battaglin (LottoNL-Jumbo) turned Tuesday's third place in Caltagirone into victory in Santa Ninfa on Wednesday, winning stage 5 of the Giro d'Italia with strong sprint to the line after a steep climb to the final kilometre forced the overall contenders to dig deep yet again.
The Italian was unable to match Tim Wellens on Tuesday, but he had far more power and speed than Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida) on the flat finish after teammate Domenico Pozzovivo tried to split the select peloton on the steep climb. Jose Goncalves (Katusha-Alpecin) was third, Max Schachmann (Quick-Step Floors) was fourth despite a late crash, and Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) was fifth.
Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) finished 15th in the reduced front group of 42 riders and so retained the leader’s maglia rosa. defending champion Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) is second at one second back, with Yates third overall at 17 seconds.
Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) was the big loser of the day. He crashed with five kilometres to go and lost 43 seconds, slipping to 39th overall at a distant 1:57.
Chris Froome (Team Sky) appeared to struggle to hold the wheels on the short, steep climb up to Santa Ninfa, but he finished 33rd in the same time as Battaglin. He is 19th overall at 55 seconds as the Giro d’Italia prepares to climb Mount Etna on Thursday.
Battaglin’s LottoNL-Jumbo teammates celebrated his win even before they reached the finish. It was his third stage victory at the Giro d’Italia after also winning in 2013 and 2014.
“I last won four years ago, it’s been a while…” Battaglin said.
“This year I’ve finally found a good vein of form and started the Giro feeling good. I was strong yesterday and so had to try again today. 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 recover and so then do a really good sprint."
Dennis warmed down before pulling on another pink jersey.
“It was a nice day on the bike, on quite a slow pace because of the head wind,” he explained.
Another day in the Sicilian hills
The second day in Sicily again included a series of rolling hills, but with the stage distance only 153km and the serious climbs in the second half of the day, the riders were more relaxed at the start, with some teams and leaders perhaps already thinking about Thursday’s first mountain finish on the slopes of Mount Etna.
Riders signed on late and lined up in the shade as they enjoyed the warm 22C temperatures that are typical for Sicily in May.
An incident caused by a car on the race route sparked a delay to the start and a slight deviation to the race route, but when technical director Stefano Allocchio dropped the flag at kilometre 0, four riders quickly kicked away to form the early break of the day.
With a stiff headwind blowing from the left, the peloton seemed happy to let them go, and so Ryan Mullen and Laurent Didier (Trek-Segafredo), Eugert Zhupa (Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia) and Andrea Vendrame (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) laughed at their fortune and began to work together. Their lead quickly reached 5:30 as BMC’s Jempy Drucker lead the peloton in defence of Rohan Dennis’ race lead and maglia rosa.
Other teams were interested in the stage victory, and so Lotto Fix All put Sander Armee on the front to help with the work, while UAE Team Emirates and Team Sunweb also did their bit. That reduced the gap to 3:30 after 100km of steady riding along the southern coast of Sicily towards Sciacca.
Soon after the coastal town, Team Sky hit the front but led by Salvatore Puccio as the race passed through his hometown of Menfi.
As the peloton collected its musettes, it was announced that Guy Niv of the Israel Cycling Academy had retired. The 24-year-old has made history as the first Israeli rider to start a Grand Tour with his teammate and namesake Guy Sagiv. However, he had been struggling with illness and was unable to continue. Niv is the second rider to abandon this Giro after Bardiani-CSF sprinter Andrea Guardini pulled out on stage 4. The race is now three riders light, with Kanstantsin Siutsou failing to start after crashing in his recon of the stage 1 time trial.
Mullen lead the break over the top of the category 4 climb at Santa Margherita del Belice but the gap with 50km to race was down to 2:30.
The stage profile had become much hillier, but the quartet stayed together with Mullen leading through Partanna and over the second categorised climb.
With 40km to go Francois Bidard (AG2R La Mondiale) slipped on the polished road surface, indicating that the tension was rising in the peloton and the kilometres ticked down to an aggressive finale. Steve Morabito and Laurens Ten Dam, domestiques for Pinot and Dumoulin, respectively, also crashed on a descent but were quickly up and away.
The race continued through the valley roads and ghost villages where a major earthquake caused hundreds of deaths and widespread destruction in 1968.
With 23km to go Didier tried an attack, splitting the break but they soon came back together. Vendrame was next to try his hand and went away to reach the final categorised climb in Poggioreale Vecchio. Mullen, Didier and Zhupa eased up and were swept up as Lotto Fix All and Team Sky set the pace at the head of the peloton. The race was on and the speed high.
A tight curve with 14km to go sparked a crash near the back of the peloton, with Domenico Pozzovivo and best young rider Max Schachmann (Quick-Step Floors) amongst those delayed. Three Bahrain-Merida riders quickly helped Pozzovivo get back up to the reduced peloton, but the young German rider needed much longer amongst the team cars.
Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) was not so fortunate. He went off the road with 5.5km to go. He had a soft landing in the grass but never saw his overall classification rivals again.
Vendrame was finally caught with three kilometres to go and Mitchelton-Scott took over. The climb up to Santa Ninfa began with two kilometres to go, and Pozzovivo and then Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) were the first to try their hand. Froome appeared to struggle to hold the wheels as he spun a low gear. Fortunately the front group was spread across the road and stayed together going onto the flat final kilometre.
Visconti tried to anticipate his rivals and dived through the final corner but only served to lead out Battaglin, who timed his sprint much better.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Enrico Battaglin (Ita) LottoNL-Jumbo||4:06:33|
|2||Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida||Row 1 - Cell 2|
|3||José Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-Alpecin||Row 2 - Cell 2|
|4||Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors||Row 3 - Cell 2|
|5||Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott||Row 4 - Cell 2|
|6||Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Fix All||Row 5 - Cell 2|
|7||Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec||Row 6 - Cell 2|
|8||Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Katusha-Alpecin||Row 7 - Cell 2|
|9||Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida||Row 8 - Cell 2|
|10||Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe||Row 9 - Cell 2|
|11||Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team||Row 10 - Cell 2|
|12||Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates||Row 11 - Cell 2|
|13||George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo||Row 12 - Cell 2|
|14||Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team||Row 13 - Cell 2|
|15||Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott||Row 14 - Cell 2|
|16||Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb||Row 15 - Cell 2|
|17||Carlos Betancur (Col) Movistar Team||Row 16 - Cell 2|
|18||Alexandre Geniez (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||Row 17 - Cell 2|
|19||Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Floors||Row 18 - Cell 2|
|20||Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe||Row 19 - Cell 2|
|21||Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale||Row 20 - Cell 2|
|22||Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Mitchelton-Scott||Row 21 - Cell 2|
|23||Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky||Row 22 - Cell 2|
|24||Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates||Row 23 - Cell 2|
|25||Georg Preidler (Aut) Groupama-FDJ||Row 24 - Cell 2|
|26||Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||Row 25 - Cell 2|
|27||Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb||Row 26 - Cell 2|
|28||Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates||Row 27 - Cell 2|
|29||Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar Team||Row 28 - Cell 2|
|30||Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ||Row 29 - Cell 2|
|31||Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team||Row 30 - Cell 2|
|32||Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky||Row 31 - Cell 2|
|33||Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky||Row 32 - Cell 2|
|34||Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Movistar Team||Row 33 - Cell 2|
|35||Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||Row 34 - Cell 2|
|36||Ben O'Connor (Aus) Dimension Data||Row 35 - Cell 2|
|37||Nathan Brown (USA) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale||Row 36 - Cell 2|
|38||Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing Team||Row 37 - Cell 2|
|39||Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe||Row 38 - Cell 2|
|40||Louis Meintjes (RSA) Dimension Data||Row 39 - Cell 2|
|41||Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec||Row 40 - Cell 2|
|42||Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott||Row 41 - Cell 2|
|43||Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott||0:00:15|
|44||Ruben Plaza (Spa) Israel Cycling Academy||0:00:21|
|45||Fausto Masnada (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec||Row 44 - Cell 2|
|46||Joe Dombrowski (USA) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale||0:00:22|
|47||Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Cycling Academy||Row 46 - Cell 2|
|48||Quentin Jauregui (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||0:00:31|
|49||Manuele Boaro (Ita) Bahrain-Merida||0:00:37|
|50||Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale||0:00:40|
|51||Ryan Gibbons (RSA) Dimension Data||Row 50 - Cell 2|
|52||Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team||0:00:43|
|53||Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team||Row 52 - Cell 2|
|54||Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo||0:01:03|
|55||Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale||0:01:06|
|56||Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates||Row 55 - Cell 2|
|57||Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||Row 56 - Cell 2|
|58||Mads Würtz Schmidt (Den) Katusha-Alpecin||0:01:30|
|59||Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky||Row 58 - Cell 2|
|60||Davide Ballerini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec||Row 59 - Cell 2|
|61||Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Israel Cycling Academy||Row 60 - Cell 2|
|62||Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Fix All||0:01:47|
|63||Benjamin King (USA) Dimension Data||0:01:51|
|64||Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Fix All||Row 63 - Cell 2|
|65||Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension Data||Row 64 - Cell 2|
|66||Manuel Senni (Ita) Bardiani CSF||Row 65 - Cell 2|
|67||Lars Bak (Den) Lotto Fix All||Row 66 - Cell 2|
|68||Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||Row 67 - Cell 2|
|69||Chad Haga (USA) Team Sunweb||Row 68 - Cell 2|
|70||Eros Capecchi (Ita) Quick-Step Floors||Row 69 - Cell 2|
|71||Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe||0:01:59|
|72||Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-Merida||0:02:11|
|73||Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro Team||0:02:13|
|74||Dayer Quintana (Col) Movistar Team||Row 73 - Cell 2|
|75||Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Quick-Step Floors||Row 74 - Cell 2|
|76||Bert-Jan Lindeman (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo||0:02:41|
|77||Robert Gesink (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo||Row 76 - Cell 2|
|78||Koen Bouwmam (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo||Row 77 - Cell 2|
|79||Francisco Ventoso (Spa) BMC Racing Team||0:02:55|
|80||Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing Team||Row 79 - Cell 2|
|81||Manuele Mori (Ita) UAE Team Emirates||0:02:59|
|82||Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-Merida||Row 81 - Cell 2|
|83||Rodolfo Torres (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec||Row 82 - Cell 2|
|84||David De La Cruz (Spa) Team Sky||Row 83 - Cell 2|
|85||Sacha Modolo (Ita) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale||Row 84 - Cell 2|
|86||Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||0:03:04|
|87||Victor De La Parte (Spa) Movistar Team||Row 86 - Cell 2|
|88||Laurens ten Dam (Ned) Team Sunweb||0:03:09|
|89||Loïc Vliegen (Bel) BMC Racing Team||0:03:45|
|90||Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia||Row 89 - Cell 2|
|91||Manuel Belletti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec||Row 90 - Cell 2|
|92||Natnael Berhane (Eri) Dimension Data||Row 91 - Cell 2|
|93||Tom Scully (NZl) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale||Row 92 - Cell 2|
|94||Niklas Eg (Den) Trek-Segafredo||0:04:10|
|95||Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Mitchelton-Scott||Row 94 - Cell 2|
|96||Sam Bewley (NZl) Mitchelton-Scott||0:04:29|
|97||Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky||Row 96 - Cell 2|
|98||Andrea Vendrame (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec||0:04:49|
|99||Antonio Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida||0:05:08|
|100||Nico Denz (Ger) AG2R La Mondiale||0:05:31|
|101||Alex Dowsett (GBr) Katusha-Alpecin||0:05:46|
|102||Ryan Mullen (Irl) Trek-Segafredo||Row 101 - Cell 2|
|103||Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy||Row 102 - Cell 2|
|104||Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Israel Cycling Academy||Row 103 - Cell 2|
|105||Markel Irizar (Spa) Trek-Segafredo||Row 104 - Cell 2|
|106||Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky||0:05:51|
|107||Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe||Row 106 - Cell 2|
|108||Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Bardiani CSF||Row 107 - Cell 2|
|109||Darwin Atapuma (Col) UAE Team Emirates||Row 108 - Cell 2|
|110||Alessandro Tonelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF||Row 109 - Cell 2|
|111||Mirco Maestri (Ita) Bardiani CSF||Row 110 - Cell 2|
|112||Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin||Row 111 - Cell 2|
|113||Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo||Row 112 - Cell 2|
|114||Igor Anton (Spa) Dimension Data||Row 113 - Cell 2|
|115||Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Movistar Team||Row 114 - Cell 2|
|116||Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin||Row 115 - Cell 2|
|117||Maxim Belkov (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin||Row 116 - Cell 2|
|118||Laurent Didier (Lux) Trek-Segafredo||Row 117 - Cell 2|
|119||Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto Fix All||Row 118 - Cell 2|
|120||William Bonnet (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||Row 119 - Cell 2|
|121||Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Team Sky||Row 120 - Cell 2|
|122||Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Team Sunweb||Row 121 - Cell 2|
|123||Marco Frapporti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec||Row 122 - Cell 2|
|124||Davide Villella (Ita) Astana Pro Team||Row 123 - Cell 2|
|125||Michael Mørkøv (Den) Quick-Step Floors||0:05:57|
|126||Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo||Row 125 - Cell 2|
|127||Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates||Row 126 - Cell 2|
|128||Marco Marcato (Ita) UAE Team Emirates||Row 127 - Cell 2|
|129||Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Quick-Step Floors||0:08:22|
|130||Jérémy Roy (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||Row 129 - Cell 2|
|131||Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) BMC Racing Team||Row 130 - Cell 2|
|132||Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Sunweb||Row 131 - Cell 2|
|133||Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Fix All||Row 132 - Cell 2|
|134||Florian Senechal (Fra) Quick-Step Floors||Row 133 - Cell 2|
|135||Guy Sagiv (Isr) Israel Cycling Academy||Row 134 - Cell 2|
|136||Jos van Emden (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo||Row 135 - Cell 2|
|137||Mitchell Docker (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale||Row 136 - Cell 2|
|138||Kilian Frankiny (Swi) BMC Racing Team||Row 137 - Cell 2|
|139||Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors||Row 138 - Cell 2|
|140||Enrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani CSF||Row 139 - Cell 2|
|141||Simone Andreetta (Ita) Bardiani CSF||Row 140 - Cell 2|
|142||Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing Team||Row 141 - Cell 2|
|143||Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin||Row 142 - Cell 2|
|144||Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale||Row 143 - Cell 2|
|145||Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team||Row 144 - Cell 2|
|146||Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar Team||0:08:29|
|147||Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||0:08:53|
|148||François Bidard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||Row 147 - Cell 2|
|149||Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Trek-Segafredo||Row 148 - Cell 2|
|150||Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia||0:10:04|
|151||Alex Turrin (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia||Row 150 - Cell 2|
|152||Giuseppe Fonzi (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia||Row 151 - Cell 2|
|153||Jakub Mareczko (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia||Row 152 - Cell 2|
|154||Marco Coledan (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia||Row 153 - Cell 2|
|155||Eugert Zhupa (Alb) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia||Row 154 - Cell 2|
|156||Paolo Simion (Ita) Bardiani CSF||Row 155 - Cell 2|
|157||Jaco Venter (RSA) Dimension Data||Row 156 - Cell 2|
|158||Frederik Frison (Bel) Lotto Fix All||Row 157 - Cell 2|
|159||Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Cycling Academy||Row 158 - Cell 2|
|160||Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Movistar Team||Row 159 - Cell 2|
|161||Domen Novak (Slo) Bahrain-Merida||Row 160 - Cell 2|
|162||Steve Morabito (Swi) Groupama-FDJ||Row 161 - Cell 2|
|163||Lennard Hofstede (Ned) Team Sunweb||Row 162 - Cell 2|
|164||Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Team Sunweb||Row 163 - Cell 2|
|165||Boy van Poppel (Ned) Trek-Segafredo||Row 164 - Cell 2|
|166||Liam Bertazzo (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia||Row 165 - Cell 2|
|167||Jan Hirt (Cze) Astana Pro Team||Row 166 - Cell 2|
|168||Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe||Row 167 - Cell 2|
|169||Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe||Row 168 - Cell 2|
|170||Svein Tuft (Can) Mitchelton-Scott||Row 169 - Cell 2|
|171||Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Fix All||Row 170 - Cell 2|
|172||Danny van Poppel (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo||Row 171 - Cell 2|
|173||Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe||0:10:13|
|DNF||Guy Niv (Isr) Israel Cycling Academy||Row 173 - Cell 2|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result||Header Cell - Column 3|
|1||Enrico Battaglin (Ita) LottoNL-Jumbo||25||pts|
|2||Andrea Vendrame (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec||20||Row 1 - Cell 3|
|3||Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida||18||Row 2 - Cell 3|
|4||José Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-Alpecin||12||Row 3 - Cell 3|
|5||Ryan Mullen (Irl) Trek-Segafredo||9||Row 4 - Cell 3|
|6||Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors||8||Row 5 - Cell 3|
|7||Eugert Zhupa (Alb) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia||8||Row 6 - Cell 3|
|8||Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott||6||Row 7 - Cell 3|
|9||Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Fix All|