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Giro d'Italia Stage 5: Greipel wins sprint, Dumoulin keeps pink (+ video highlights)

Lotto-Soudal sprinter wins in Benevento with birthday boy Kittel dropped from front group

Andre Greipel of Lotto-Soudal has won Stage 5 of the 99th Giro d’Italia in Benevento, joining fellow German Marcel Kittel of Etixx-Quick Step in achieving his fourth career stage win in the race.

Giant-Alpecin’s Tom Dumoulin retains the race lead at the end of the hilly 233 kilometre stage from Praia a Mare, the second longest of this year’s race.

Coming off a left hand bend in the approach to the final kilometre, Katusha’s Rein Taaramae came down and while others managed to avoid him, the crash disrupted the rhythm of riders looking to lead out their sprinters.

In a scrappy finish, Greipel powered away on the uphill drag to the finish to win by several bike lengths from FDJ’s Arnaud Demare, with Sonny Cobrelli of Bardiani-CSF coming home in third place. It's the 18th Grand Tour stage win of his career.

Stage 5 - Highlights by giroditalia

"It was a really hard chase to bring the four breakaway riders back," Greipel said afterwards. "Luckily other teams helped but I owe a big thanks to my team. They are a big part of this success.

"Before the start, I said it would be a nice finish for me and it really was. I was behind the crash but I found my way through and launched my sprint when I saw a gap with 300 metres to go. I hesitated a bit, then I gave it everything. I'm really happy."

The day’s four-man break had been caught shortly before the 6.5 kilometre closing circuit in Benevento, with the sprinters’ teams coming to the fore.

Missing from the front group, however, was points classification leader Kittel, meaning he was unable to maintain his 100 per cent win record in Giro d’Italia road stages that have finished in a sprint.

The Etixx-Quick Step rider, who won in Belfast and Dublin at the Big Start two years ago before departing the race through illness and again in Nijmegen and Arnhem at the weekend, is still waiting for his first stage win on Italian soil.

He did have cause for celebration today though – it is his 28th birthday, organisers marking the occasion by presenting him with a cake prior to the stage start.

Marcel Kittel Giro d'Italia 2016 Stage 5 start birthday cake (PHOTO CREDIT ANSA - PERI - DI MEO - ZENNARO).jpg

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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