The Quick Step team today took their second stage of this year's Giro d'Italia, with Jérôme Pineau outsprinting his two breakaway companions Julien Fouchard (Cofidis) and Yukiya Arashiro (Bbox) with the pack breathing directly down their necks, seconds behind.
Japanese Arashiro had been away since 15 km into the stage and was joined 10 km later by a further three including Fouchard, Pineau and Paul Voss (Milram) who later fell away with 30 km to go.
The ensuing stage had the usual air of inevitability that the break would be caught with 10 km to go and one train sprinter or another would triumph to enthusiastic acclaim. The only problem was the eventual three survivors hadn't read that script and with Arashiro in particular absolutely committed to the task of staying away for the win, they buried themselves for a well deserved but nevertheless very surprising trio victory.
Today's 162 km fifth stage from Novara to Novi Ligure commemorated the 50th anniversary of the death of legendary Italian cycling champion Fasto Coppi in January 1960. Novi Ligure was Coppi's home town and he is buried nearby in Castellania, where he was born.
GC leader Vincenzo Nibali told the Gazzetta dello Sport earlier today that if he finished today's stage still wearing the maglia rosa, he was going to give it to Fausto Coppi's son, Faustino, so he can place it on his father's tomb. As he rolled over the line mere seconds behind today's winners, it's safe to say that the Gazzetta's front page headline has been written.
Giro d'Italia stage 5 result Top 10
1 Jerome Jérôme (Quick Step) 2 Julien Fouchard (Cofidis) 3 Yukiya Arashiro (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) 4 Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions) 5 Gregory Henderson (Sky) 6 Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) 7 Graeme Brown (Rabobank) 8 Andre Greipel (HTC-Columbia) 9 Lucas Haedo (Saxo Bank 10 William Bonnet (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) at same time General classification after stage 5 Top 10 1 Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) 14:30:03 2 Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) + 13 3 Valerio Agnoli (Liquigas-Doimo) + 20 4 Matthew Goss (HTC-Columbia) + 26 5 Andre Greipel (HTC-Columbia) + 26 6 Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) + 33 7 Vladimir Karpets (Katusha) + 39 8 Richie Porte (Saxo Bank) + 45 9 David Millar (Garmin-Transitions) + 45 10 Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) + 59