André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) added another Grand Tour stage win to his already impressive palmarès after sprinting to victory on stage five of the 2016 Giro d'Italia. The German has taken a stage victory in every Grand Tour he has started since 2008.
In comparison to Tuesday's stage four, the fifth day of the Giro was a much more straightforward affair, with the 6.5km circuit in Benevento the trickiest obstacle for the peloton, despite the undulating terrain which preceded it.
But it was still a fast and frantic finish as the sprint teams wound up for a bunch finish, and the cobbled uphill drag to the finish line looked to be too difficult for some riders on the 233km stage.
Marcel Kittel (Etixx-Quick Step) was dropped early on into the city circuit and many of the sprinters saw their teammates fall away before the final run to the finish, with what looked like chaotic sprint breaking out towards the line.
Watch: André Greipel's Ridley Noah SL
While the likes of Moreno Hofland (LottoNL-Jumbo), Arnaud Démare (FDJ) and Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge) were all present to contest the bunch gallop, there was no stopping Greipel, who powered way ahead of his rivals and finished with significant distance between, much like Kittel had done in the Dutch stages of this Giro.
Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin), who started the day in the maglia rosa, was able to maintain his lead as he finished safely in the main bunch on the stage. There were no other significant changes on the general classification despite a number of riders succumbing to crashes.
Daniel Oss (BMC), Amets Txurruka (Orica-GreenEdge), Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff) and Alexander Foliforov (Gazprom-RusVelo) made up the day's breakaway, as they grabbed almost seven minutes after getting away just past the 40km mark.
But that advantage quickly deteriorated within the final 50km, and while the break bravely held on to a slender lead within the final 20km, they were eventually swallowed up as the pack took in the first crossing of the finish line.
Stage six of the Giro sees the first foray into the mountains for the riders, with a category two summit finish to Roccaraso which could see the GC riders come out to play.
Giro d’Italia stage five, Praia a Mare - Benevento (233km)
1. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Soudal, in 5-40-35
2. Arnaud Démare (Fra) FDJ
3. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
4. Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx-Quick Step
5. Moreno Hofland (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
6. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Wilier-Southeast
7. Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC
8. Georg Preidler (Aut) Giant-Alpecin
9. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
10. Alexey Tsatevich (Rus) Katusha, all same time
Overall standings after stage five
1. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin, in 19-40-48
2. Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx-Quick Step, at 16s
3. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida, at 20s
4. Georg Preidler (Aut) Giant-Alpecin, st
5. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo, at 24s
6. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, at 26s
7. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, at 27s
8. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha, at 35s
9. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana, st
10. Nicolas Roche (Ire) Team Sky, at 37s
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