A late surge from Australia’s Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) was enough to deny Italy’s Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka-ASSOS) victory in Stage 5 of the Giro d’Italia in Cattolica as drama and heartbreak unfolded in bucket loads on the Adriatic coast.
After a touch of shoulders with the maglia ciclamino Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) on the home straight, Ewan found his way through the bodies with enough zip in his legs to relegate the European champion Nizzolo to another second place on the Giro – the eleventh of his career.
Elia Viviani (Cofidis) took third place ahead of Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates), with Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) only good enough for eighth and Merlier, winner of Stage 2, rolling home in 12th after dropping a chain after that coming together with Ewan.
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Merlier’s disappointing finish saw the Giro debutant lose the maglia ciclamino to Nizzolo, who now leads compatriot Viviani by four points, with the Belgian another eight points adrift.

‘Why take it into town?’ – Smith hits out at route after Stage 5 crashes

But the finish of the pan-flat 177km stage from Modena was marred by a serious incident involving Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious) and Tuesday’s Stage 4 winner Joe Dombrowski (UAE Team Emirates). Both riders collided with a piece of road furniture in the last five kilometres when the pace in the peloton was soaring and tensions were high.
While the American Dombrowski, the blue jersey, was able to complete the stage eight minutes down on his 30th birthday, Spanish climber Landa was not among his Bahrain-Victorious teammates when they crossed the line en masse five minutes after Ewan’s victory. It was later confirmed that Landa had been taken to hospital for treatment to his injuries.
Landa, 31, had impressed on the previous day’s uphill finish at Sestola, finishing alongside former teammate Egan Bernal in a first group of favourites to confirm his excellent form.
Bernal’s Ineos Grenadiers team also suffered a blow on Wednesday when co-leader Pavel Sivakov crashed with 15km remaining after he collided with the curb and a branch of a tree on the left-hand side of the road.
The Franco-Russian rouleur finished the stage in last place over 15 minutes in arrears to drop out of contention for the pink jersey, with the British team’s hopes now falling solely on the shoulders of Bernal, the 2019 Tour de France champion.

‘A real disaster’ – Ineos joint-leader Pavel Sivakov crashes into tree

Amid all the drama – which included another spill which split the peloton with 10km remaining – Italy’s Alessandro De Marchi retained the pink jersey. The 34-year-old Israel Start-Up Nation rider now leads Belgium’s Louis Vervaeke (Alpecin-Fenix) after the unlucky birthday boy Dombrowsky plummeted down the standings.
Other than the events which soured the end of the stage, very little happened on the long, flat, and straight road between Modena and Cattolica. A two-man break saw Filippo Tagliani (Androni Giocattoli) and Umberto Marengo (Bardiani-CSF) go clear from the outset to build up a maximum lead of five minutes. But the duo were swept up shortly after Tagliani won the intermediate sprint at Imola with 105km remaining.
A lull followed before the same two Italian wildcard teams were involved in the next reshuffle as Simon Pellaud, the Swiss breakaway specialist at Androni went clear with the Italian Davide Gabburo of Bardiani with 68km remaining.
The pair never held more than two minutes’ advantage over the peloton and they were joined by Alexis Gougeard (Ag2R-La Mondiale) with 20km remaining after the Frenchman kicked clear as the pack rolled into Rimini. This was to prove the start of the numerous incidents which soured the conclusion to the stage as Sivakov’s soon hit the deck ahead of the sickening fall involving Landa and Dombrowski shortly after the leading trio were swept up.
Lotto Soudal kept their man Ewan out of trouble as the peloton swung around the final bend and onto the home straight – but the Australian found himself out of position when Nizzolo kicked clear with Viviani. Merlier’s mechanical came just as the Belgian was sandwiched between Sagan and Ewan, who launched his sprint late but had the power to blast himself past the Italian duo and secure the fourth Giro stage of his career.
The race continues on Thursday with the first uphill finish near the Marche town of Ascolo Piceno. On what will be the first major rendez-vous for the GC favourites there will be one notable absentee following the sad withdrawal of Landa.

‘Crazy circus’ - De Marchi criticises ‘dangerous’ finish on Stage 5

Stage 5 results

  • 1. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal 4:07:01
  • 2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Team Qhubeka Assos
  • 3. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis
  • 4. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
  • 5. Fernando Gaviria Rendon (Col) UAE Team Emirates
  • 6. Matteo Moschetti (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
  • 7. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
  • 8. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
  • 9. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
  • 10. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Start-up Nation

General classification

  • 1. Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Israel Start-up Nation 13:50:44
  • 2. Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix +42
  • 3. Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team +48
  • 4. Attila Valter (Hun) Groupama-FDJ +1:00
  • 5. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis +1:15
  • 6. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech +1:24
  • 7. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep +1:28
  • 8. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education-Nippo +1:37
  • 9. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Education-Nippo +1:38
  • 10. Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos Grenadiers +1:39
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