Giro d'Italia stage 5 as it happened: Benjamin Thomas takes breakaway spoils in Lucca

All the action from stage five of the Giro d'Italia 2024 – as it happens

Morning, and welcome to today's Giro d'Italia stage. James Shrubsall here to keep you and the riders company for this 178km trek southwards along the coast from Genova to historic Lucca in Tuscany.

It's not looking like a GC day (though for Tadej Pogačar, any day seems to be a GC day), but with a sizeable cat-three climb along the way and a cat-four around 20km from the finish, it could certainly be one for the breakaways.


Take a look back at Tuesday's stage, which was won by Jonathan Milan, and the full standings of the race so far. Pogačar is in pink, obviously.

The race begins at 1300 European time, so we'll be back with you in around an hour. Get your snacks ready...

Giro d'Italia 2024 route

(Image credit: RCS/Giro d'Italia)

How things look after stage 4

Stage start delayed

Caleb Ewan frustration

Another day, another pair of bibshorts for Tadej Pogačar. This time... pink!

178km to go: Riders finally rolling out towards the official start in Genova under an unbroken azure sky.

178km to go: A number of riders have already fallen off or had mechanicals, the race just waiting for them to return to the bunch before dropping the flag.

175km to go: The race is on. Let's go.

172km to go: Lewis Askey (Groupama FDJ) off the front with Ewen Costiou (Arkéa-B&B Hotels) and Mattia Bais (Polti-Kometa). They've just got a small gap of around 6sec.

The terrain is coastal, urban, rolling and winding – it's like a warm-weather Milan-San Remo in reverse as they head south-east down the coast.

168km to go: The gaps have gone out fast, with Askey and Bais forging on ahead of Costiou. They're 31sec of a chasing pair – Simon Geshke (Cofidis) and Manuele Tarozzi (VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè), and a full 1.21 in front of the peloton.

164km to go: With Geshke and Tarozzi having made contact with Askey and Bais at the front, the break looks a little more purposeful now. They're currently being pegged at two minutes and about to take on a decent sized 4.5km climb.

As a specialist in rubbish dad jokes, I know one when I see one.

161km to go: The front quartet are still tapping out a rhythm on this climb, but their gap remains nothing to shout about – it's currently 1.39 and coming down.

160.6km to go: Fans of imperial measurements will note the riders now have less than 100 miles to race. Of course, a lot can happen in that time.

151km to go: With that hill dispatched by both the breakaway and the peloton, the gap has been reduced to a mere 1.10 to the quartet out front. Alpecin-Deceuninck and Soudal Quick-Step tapping along en masse on the front of the bunch.

146km to go: The peloton are right on the heels of the breakaway now, which has only a 23sec advantage. Tarozzi has been out the back and has just returned to the quartet. The info is that the four of them went for a 'natural break' in a tunnel.

142km to go: Adam Becket here, taking over here while James grabs some lunch. The breakaway of four are working hard again, after their lead was being diminished. It currently stands at 40 seconds, and there's a lot of looking behind to see the peloton. It's all down to different sprint teams having different ideas.

140km to go: The Giro d'Italia train is back! This is huge news - I wrote about it a couple of years ago.

139km to go: A rider from Cofidis has attacked, and it's Harrison Wood, the young Brit. With the gap at just 43 seconds, getting across is eminently possible. He's already sitting up though, how confusing.

134km to go: Look who has popped up at the front of the peloton in pink, it's Tadej Pogačar. He is probably just staying out of trouble, but you never really know with the Slovenian. The Passo del Bracco is coming in just 3km time.

The break on stage 5 of the Giro d'Italia

(Image credit: Getty Images)

130km to go: Laurence Pithie (Groupama-FDJ) has lost his chain on the lower slopes of this climb, but he's not too far off the back, so it isn't quite panic stations. Alpecin-Deceuninck remain on the front, working for Kaden Groves, shadowed by UAE Team Emirates.

129km to go: Bad news if you have Fabio Jakobsen (dsm-firmenich PostNL) in your fantasy squad, because he has been shelled out of the back, with still over 13km to go of this climb. It doesn't even look like Alpecin are putting that much pressure on, but looks can be deceiving.

128km to go: Pithie is back in, just about, but that unfortunate mechanical will have cost him some energy. UAE Team Emirates with Pogačar, and Ineos Grenadiers with Geraint Thomas, are very present at the front.

126km to go: I said it didn't look like Alpecin were putting a lot into this climb, but they are absolutely flying up here now. The poor men in the break don't really stand a chance. Meanwhile, Pithie is no longer the last man in the peloton, that dubious honour goes to Rainer Kepplinger (Bahrain-Victorious), just behind Max Walscheid (Jayco-AlUla).

121km to go: The break's advantage is at just 22 seconds now. It's pretty much over already, with still so far to go. What will happen next is intriguing.

120km to go: Caleb Ewan (Jayco AlUla) is at the back, while Lilian Calmejane (Intermarché-Wanty) has moved up at the front, ready to claim some KOM points if they're on offer. The gap is almost 10 seconds now.

119km to go: Tim Merlier (Soudal Quick-Step) is the latest sprinter to appear at the rear of the peloton. Alpecin-Deceuninck are really making this climb count, and there are still 4km to go. Fernando Gaviria (Movistar) is also there. There's metres between them and the peloton now. Oops.

117km to go: The gap to the break has actually grown now, so it's not completely over. The gap now stands at 24 seconds. At the back, Ewan has been dropped. Not sure where Merlier is in relation to the bunch, though.

115km to go: The break has crossed the top of the climb, and swept up all the KOM points. Simon Geschke (Cofidis) took the full nine, followed by Mattia Bais (Polti Kometa) with four, two for Lewis Askey (Groupama-FDJ) and then just one for Manuele Tarozzi (VF Group - Bardiani CSF - Faizanè).

111km to go: The break has been caught, with still well over two hours of racing still to come. Will there be more attacks now? Meanwhile, Merlier is back in the peloton.

104km to go: No let-up from Alpecin-Deceuninck at the front as the peloton tackle yet another unclassified climb. There will be some tired legs come the finish today.

101km to go: The hardest section of the race is out of the way now, and the riders can look forward to around 75km of largely flat (and even downhill) terrain. Then there's just that cat-four kicker lying between them and the finish in Lucca.

92km to go: The peloton is coasting, probably simply happy that Alpecin-Deceuninck is no longer nailing it on the front. Three riders aren't quite so content though – a trio including sprinter Fabio Jakobsen is still trying to get back to the peloton after being dropped on the Passo del Bracco.

That trio, by the way, is listed as 3min 40sec off the back or, if you prefer, 2.7km. That's a lot of ground to make up, even in the 90km remaining.

83km to go: Bonus sprint coming up at 78km to go but you wouldn't know - so far the bunch remains pretty chilled out...

I was going to say I reckon even I could keep up with this pace, but let's not go that far.

Movistar's Fernando Gaviria is asked whether today's sprint is better for him: "I don't know, if it's better for me it's also better for another 15 riders," he says. "Yesterday I suffered a bit on the climb but I can't take anything away from the team."

80km to go: Intermarché's Adrien Petit has retired with illness

80km to go: The bunch picks up a little as the sprint approaches – Visma-Lease A Bike and Alpecin-Deceuninck drilling it on the front.

79km to go: Crash! Christophe Laporte goes down.

78km to go: Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) wins the sprint ahead of Olaf Kooij (Visma-Lease A Bike), with Milan (Lidl-Trek) in third.

75km to go: And now the attacks start to come. Cofidis and Groupama are at it again, this time with EF Education-EasyPost.

73km to go: There's a break of four with a 30-second gap now: 

72km to go: The gap has already gone out to 1.20. The bunch is clearly keen for things to settle down again.

64km to go: It seems Fabio Jakobsen is safely back in the bunch now. If there's a sprint finish – and that seems to be looking likely – it just got a little spicier.

60km to go: The gap to the break is still hovering around a minute-and-a-half. Soudal Quick-Step and Lidl-Trek are fairly busy on the front of the bunch – not trying to catch the escapees, but at least keep them in check.

57km to go: We've hit the Intergiro sprint now, with Alpecin-Deceuninck stealing a march up the right-hand side to deny Milan. The four-man break had, of course, already gone through – Pietrobon took the honours.

52km to go: The Intergiro, by the way, is a competition aimed at non-specialists – so, those who aren't amazing climbers, sprinters, or GC men. There's an 'Intergiro' sprint each day halfway through the stage (except on time trial stages), with points on offer.

Let's take a quick look at the points scorers from that Intergiro sprint.

Sprinter Tim Merlier, who was fifth yesterday, has been talking about how scary the finish was.

41km to go: Lidl-Trek and Soudal Quick-Step lining out the whole peloton now, riding hard on the front. They are keeping the breakaway at just over a minute and will have the final climb in mind, not to mention – just beforehand – the day's final intermediate sprint of the day.

34km to go: Nasty crash in the peloton as they encounter road furniture in Pietrasanta. A couple of Polti riders down, plus Israel-PremierTech's Riley Pickrell looking alarmingly bloodied – he's being assessed by doctors for concussion but is standing up and walking around.

32km to go: The final intermediate sprint coming up and then the final climb to Montemagno. It's a relatively small cat-four but once the race is over this we're going to have a much better idea of what the finish is going to look like: will the breakaway survive, or even splinter with a potential solo winner going clear? Will a sprinter be tailed off?  It should be interesting.

28km to go: The break still has a minute, by the way, and they're about to cruise through that final sprint. The sprinters themselves are likely somewhat relieved that there will only be minor points on offer once the break has nabbed them all.

The bunch behind doesn't contest the remaining points at all. They're thinking about the climb.

25km to go: Another unpleasant looking crash as the bunch approaches the climb. Riders still sitting in the road, others walking around slightly dejectedly. Atila Valter down, Tobias Foss down, Michael Woods down. Looked like a mid-bunch touch of wheels.

We've not talked about Tadej Pogačar much today. Will that change on this coming climb?

23km to go: The bunch is on the climb now. Three K's up to Montemagne.

22km to go: It looks like a lovely climb, to be fair. Wooded, winding, great surface. I wouldn't have thought any of the riders are enjoying it much though.

22km to go: Once again Lidl-Trek bossing the front of the peloton. Surprisingly, this climb isn't changing much. 300m to go to the summit for the break.

21km to go: Valgren takes the points over the top.

20km to go: The break has emerged from this little skirmish with a full 54 seconds over the bunch. With 20km to go they might start to believe in themselves.

16km to go: Nobody is holding anything back now. The break is nailing it. The bunch is nailing it. The gap is still 55 seconds.

9km to go: According to the weather forecast, there's a moderate wind right on the riders' tails – that's going to play into the hands of the four out front. 

7km to go: The gap has come down by - wait for it... one second since our last update. Is the break going to go all the way?

5km to go: With the gap still at 41 seconds, the break is running away with this.

3.5km to go for the breakaway with a 38 second gap. Surely the bunch can't catch them now? Don't write them off yet though.

3.1km to go: Ineos hit the front en masse.

2.5km to go: Pietrobon missing turns, shaking his legs. The gap is now 29 seconds.

1.3km to go: Still 25 seconds to the break despite Ineos's best efforts...

1.1km to go: The bunch are looking at each other, losing momentum, it looks like they're giving up.

Pietrobon has a gap, it's a good one.

The break are coming back!

Thomas takes it!

What a performance from the breakaway!

A career best road win for the 28-year-old Frenchman.

Jonathan Milan leads in the bunch, 11 seconds back on Thomas; Tadej Pogačar stays in the pink jersey.

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