Kaden Groves of Alpecin Deceuninck won today’s rain-soaked sprint on the crash-marred stage 5 of the Giro d’Italia in Salerno. Crashes took down both of the top favorites, Remco Evenepoel (twice) and Primoz Roglic, though both seemed fit to continue without any problem (for now at least).
Evenepoel crashed early on in the stage when a stray dog wandered onto the course and seemed temporarily dazed, but rejoined the pack. Multiple crashes happened in the finale, with Roglic going down at 6km, then rejoining the pack, only for Evenepoel to enjoy a touch of wheels inside the 3km zone, while Mark Cavendish went flying off a barrier after crossing the line.
Groves won his first career Giro sprint and second-ever grand tour stage by swapping places with stage 2 winner Jonathan Milan, second today. No changes to GC. Milan remains in the points jersey but saw his margin over Groves shrunk to a single point, with a possible sprint tomorrow. Weather reports suggest that there are no totally dry days on the horizon, but limited showers over the next two days should keep the weather impacts to a minimum, with any luck.
After two climbs, the route flattened out with 30km to go. The breakaway trio of Thomas Champion, Samuele Zoccarato, and Stefano Gandin had built up a head of steam before they were absorbed by the peloton with 7km to go.
That was when the first major crash split the bunch and prevented some sprinters from moving up for the final attack, including Movistar’s Fernando Gaviria and UAE Team Emirates’ Pascal Ackermann.
As the teams scrambled to bring their lead-up riders to the front with less than two km to go, another crash brought Evenepoel down and the rest of the bunch went ahead for the sprint.
Cavendish found himself jostling for position before he fell on the line, taking out Andrea Vendrame who was carried away on a stretcher.
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