Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) won stage five of the Giro d'Italia this afternoon in Salerno.
The Australian sprinter beat Jonathan Milan (Bahrain Victorious) and Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) to the line in a finale marred by a series of crashes involving several high profile riders.
Despite being involved in one of the crashes as the finish approached, Andreas Leknessund (DSM) kept hold of the overall lead and will wear the Maglia Rosa once more on stage six tomorrow.
Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan) looked like he was set to contest the stage, although the Manxman appeared to bump wheels with another rider before he then lost control of his bike and hit the floor.
Several riders appeared injured as they crossed the line, with many left licking their wounds after a difficult day of action in the rain in southern Italy.
“I surprised myself today,” Groves said. “Everything was going well, but I crashed at the roundabout with a few kilometres to go. I couldn’t put my chain back on fast enough, the group was coming back together but it wasn’t very clean.”
“We all got lost and the guys had to do a good job very early, luckily I was good enough to be in position on DSM and have the legs to lead out and win.”
Groves won his first stage of a Grand Tour at the Vuelta a España last year and was overcome with emotion after adding to his tally in Salerno.
“It’s a dream,” he added. “This is a race I’ve been focussing on since the winter and I just want to thank the team and everyone involved. My teammates believed in me… they delivered me to a win.”
The wet weather had a huge impact on the day’s proceedings, with crashes happening from the moment the race got underway. For much of the stage Stefano Gandin (Corratec), Samuele Zoccarato (Green Project–Bardiani–CSF–Faizanè) and Thomas Champion (Cofidis) led the race in the day's breakaway.
There was an early scare for Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) when a stray dog rushed into the road causing Evenepoel and his teammate Davide Ballerini to crash. Fortunately the Belgian appeared to be unscathed and he would later give a thumbs up gesture to the television cameras.
As the race progressed through the Campania region in southern Italy the rain would continue to fall. Eventually two of the breakaway would be reeled back in as the main field started to think about the sprint finish.
Zoccarato was the last man standing. The Italian was brought back into the main field with seven kilometres to go as Trek-Segafredo, Jayco-AIUla and Alpecin-Deceuninck looked to set up their main men.
A few moments later there would be another big crash, with stage winner Groves going down. Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) also appeared to be involved and was forced onto his teammate Koen Bouwman’s bike.
Evenepoel went down for a second time inside three kilometres to go and Cavendish would soon follow as the riders at the head of the race fought for the victory.
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage five results:
1. Kaden Groves (AUS) Alpecin-Deceuninck, in 4-30-19
2. Jonathan Milan (ITA) Bahrain Victorious
3. Mads Pedersen (DEN) Trek-Segafredo,
4. Alberto Dainese (ITA) DSM,
5. Mark cavendish (GBR) Astana Qazaqstan,
6. Nicolas Dalla Valle (ITA) Corratec,
7. Mirco Maestri (ITA) Eolo-Kometa,
8. Filippo Fiorelli (ITA) Green Project-Bardiani CSF,
9. Andrea Vendrame (ITA) AG2R Citroën,
10. Michael Matthews (AUS) Jayco-AIUla, all same time
General Classification after stage five
1. Andreas Leknessund (NOR) DSM, in 19-06-03
2. Remco Evenepoel (BEL) Soudal Quick-Step, at 28s
3. Aurelien Paret-Peintre (FRA) AG2R Citroën, at 30s
4. Joao Almeida (POR) UAE Team Emirates, at 1-00
5. Primož Roglič (SLO) Jumbo-Visma, at 1-12
6. Geraint Thomas (GBR) Ineos Grenadiers at 1-26
7. Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) at same time
8. Tom Skuijns (LAT) Trek-Segafredo) at 1-29
9. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBR) Ineos Grenadiers, at 1-30
10. Vincenzo Albanese (ITA) Eolo-Kometa, at 1-39
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