Ulissi Takes Stage 5 of Giro
Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) has won Stage 5 of the Giro d’Italia. The Italian surged up the first finishing climb of this year’s Giro to win the hilly, 203-km ride from Taranto to Viggiano in 5:12:39. Cadel Evans (BMC) outsprinted Julian David Arredondo (Trek) at 0:01. Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) finished with the lead group and kept the maglia rosa.
Unlike the previous four stages, rain did not dominate Stage 5. The element of the weather that had the most impact on the racing was the wind. The riders rode into a headwind for much of the stage. At 22 km, after a number of abortive sallies, 11 riders--Elia Viviani (Cannondale), Ben Swift (Sky), Tyler Farrar and Fabian Wegmann (both from Garmin-Sharp), Miguel Angel Rubiano (Colombia), Tony Hurel and Bjorn Thurau (both from Europcar), Marco Frapporti (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela), Yonathan Monsalve (Neri Sottoli-Yellow Fluo), and Kenny Dehaes and Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto-Belisol) got clear. The peloton, which Orica-GreenEdge led, kept the escape on a short leash, with the fugitives never leading the bunch by more than four minutes. Sky, Movistar, and Astana assisted the Australian squad with the pursuit.
The break split on the Category 3 Valico di Serra di San Chirico, and attacks began on the descent. De Haes, Thurau, Van der Sande, and Frapporti got away from their companions. On the first ascent of the Category 4 climb to Viggiano, the breakaways were reeled in. BMC took over at the front, and Katusha moved Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) forward. Rain began to fall, and a crash occurred.
On the descent, Gianluca Brambilla (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) jumped clear. Other riders attempted escapes and crashed. Brambilla forged a 30-second lead, but the Katusha-led peloton pursued. With two km left, the bunch trailed the Italian by 0:09, and about half a km later Brambilla was reeled in.
In the last km, Nicolas Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo Bank) made a move, but Katusha snared him. With about half a km left, Rodriguez started sprinting, but Ulissi powered past the Spaniard for the win.
Before the Giro, Ulissi saw Stage 5 as one that he could win. "When I looked at the race handbook before the Giro, I earmarked this stage because the finish lent itself perfectly to my characteristics," Ulissi said. "It's no secret that I like this type of finish, and the press had included me among the favorites."
Ulissi continued. “It was a very hard finish after a stage ridden in wind and rain. I was held up behind a fall on a climb, 17 km from the finish, where I had to put a foot down. My team-mates brought me up to the group, and when Moreno attacked, I was fifth wheel. I didn’t want to be at the front in the sprint because of the wind. [Nairo] Quintana [Movistar] couldn’t keep the rhythm, so a gap opened. My teammates closed it and led me up to Matthews’s wheel. Then the sprint started, and it went well for me.”
In the overall, Matthews leads teammate Pieter Weening by 0:14 and Evans by 0:15. Stage 2 might produce a change in the standings. The 247-km ride from Sassano to Monte Cassino will have a lumpy beginning but will be flat for most of the remainder of the stage. The sting will be in the tail, however, as a Category 2 climb will greet the riders at the end. Will Matthews be able to keep the maglia rosa? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!