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Giro d'Italia Stage 5: John Degenkolb avoids late crash in Matera to take first Giro stage

German profits from Argos-Shimano team mate's crash to ride away in finale...

John Degenkolb, winner of five stages in last year's Vuelta, has won his maiden Giro d'Italia stage in Matera this afternoon. The German's victory came after a crash on the penultimate corner, caused by Argos-Shimano team mate Luka Mezgec losing control on a road still wet from an earlier downpour, ruled a number of his rivals for the win out of contention.

The rider who went down had been sitting second in the group behind Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox's Marco Canola, who tried to hold on for what would have been the UCI Professional Continental outfit's second win in as many days.

However, Degenkolb passed him with a couple of hundred metres left. Katusha's Angel Vicioso finished second, with Blanco's Paul Martens third. Katusha's Luca Paolini managed to avoid the crash and retains the race leader's maglia rosa.

Degenkolb was among a handful of sprinters who had managed to retain contact with the front group on a 203km stage from Cosenza that represented the first realistic chance of a stage finish since the opening day in Naples.

In particular, the first of those climbs, which was short but punchy with a maximum gradient of more than 10 per cent ahead of the summit, crested 20 kilometres out, presented a big obstacle to any chance of a bunch finish.

Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s Mark Cavendish pushed himself to his limits to get up it, zig-zagging across the road on the to try and cope with the toughest section, but he crossed it the best part of a minute after the first riders had gone over.

The former world champion would get some unexpected help from his former colleagues at Team Sky to try and rejoin the front group after Rigoberto Uran, lying second on GC this morning and a potential leader of the British outfit’s challenge should anything happen to Bradley Wiggins, punctured.

While the final climb to Matera ahead of an undulating last 9km was gentler than the one that preceded it, Cavendish was unable to get back across to the front group ahead of the start of the ascent, putting paid to his chances of challenging for the win today.

A number of attacks inside the closing kilometres were pulled back, including one by Farnese Vini-Selle Italia’s Marco Rabottini, winner of a stage and the mountains jersey in last year’s Giro, and another by AG2R’s Hubert Dupont as BMC Racing forced the pace, looking to set up Cadel Evans.

Inside the final kilometre though, the smart money would have been on Degenkolb to prevail on the type of finish that suits him if he’s around to challenge – although the manner of his victory turned out to be unexpected.

Uran - rumoured this morning to be leaving Sky at the end of the season together with compatriot Sergio Henao, coincidentally on a day when it was confirmed that Richie Porte's contract has been extended - managed to rejoin the front group and remains second on GC, while Wiggins remains sixth, 34 seconds down on leader Paolini.

Giro d’Italia Stage 5 result 
1  DEGENKOLB John        ARG    04:37:48
2  VICIOSO Angel         KAT All at same time
3  MARTENS Paul          BLA
4  HENAO Sergio          SKY
5  TRENTIN Matteo        OPQ
6  PANTANO Jarlinson     COL
7  OSS Daniel            BMC
8  KEUKELEIRE Jens       OGE
9  BOLE Grega            VCD
10 KANGERT Tanel         AST
11 GOLAS Michal          OPQ
12 CANOLA Marco          BAR
13 RODRIGUEZ Jackson     AND
14 VIVIANI Elia          CAN
15 BOUHANNI Nacer        FDJ
16 DE GREEF Francis      LTB
17 MAJKA Rafal           TST
18 NIEMIEC Przemyslaw    LAM
19 ROSA Diego            AND

Overall Standings after Stage 5

1  PAOLINI Luca          KAT   19:56:39
2  URAN Rigoberto        SKY      00:17
3  INTXAUSTI Benat       MOV      00:26
4  NIBALI Vincenzo       AST      00:31
5  HESJEDAL Ryder        GRS      00:34
6  WIGGINS Bradley       SKY      00:34
7  CARUSO Giampaolo      KAT      00:36
8  HENAO Sergio          SKY      00:37
9  SANTAMBROGIO Mauro    VIN      00:39
10 EVANS Cadel           BMC      00:42

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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bikeandy61 | 11 years ago

As much as I hate to make a comparison with bleeding footy it does seem that Sky are the cycling Man U and so a lot of people are looking to have a dig, cause ructions in the team etc.

Even if the rumours were true how much racing would you get for the rest of the season (which there is still a LOT of) if you were seen to betray your designated leader/team orders? It ain't gonna do your CV any good and remember a lot of teams look at riders points tally as well as the person. Scoring no more points in the next 4 months could make you a lot less attractive or at least knock your monetary value.

Colin Peyresourde | 11 years ago

I sort of think this is being made more of because of the split yesterday. It's not clear how the gap between Wiggins and Uran happened. There was an accident and a split was formed, according to race reports the split was before the 3km mark, but from watching the race I think the conditions (rain, slippery surface and plenty of turns) created the perfect situation for a split between those being cautious and those being courageous. The race was strung out as a result.

I'm guessing Uran just found himself with the lead group and Brad caught up behind. These things happen. It made sense that Uran continue to preserve his time. That final 3km was pretty frenetic. I don't think there was any conspiracy and the speculation is only there to cause ructions between Sky and it's team. It adds spice to the mixture as far as the neutrals are concerned. After all they've had enough enough detractors for their boring domination.

I personally don't think we will see Brad 'unveiled' until the the first TT and once the Tarmac goes up we will see where things are at. Everything else is shouting into the wind.

a.jumper | 11 years ago

Kudos to Degenkolb for joining Cav's F Club on live TV  1

fred22 | 11 years ago

Anyone know why ITV don't do a highlights show? This is the race that I would love to see on terrestrial tv

a.jumper replied to fred22 | 11 years ago
fred22 wrote:

Anyone know why ITV don't do a highlights show? This is the race that I would love to see on terrestrial tv

That Ned chap tweeted that the Giro wanted too much money for the probable audience.

Super Domestique | 11 years ago

Same rumour was spoken of during today's coverage.

Simon_MacMichael | 11 years ago

Bang to rights on the sequence Sam, so I've amended that... rumnour's still out there though. Guess we'll see how things play out.

Sam1 | 11 years ago

Now now, Simon, a bit of artistic licence going on with this report re Uran and Henao. This morning Gazzetta published a speculative article that Uran and Henao are leaving Sky at the end of their contracts this year, and that maybe they're 'ganging up' to ride their own race instead of Wiggins  29

Around 10ish this morning, Sky announced on their website that Porte's re-signed. Apart from anything else, that timing isnt as you've reported it above.


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