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Praia a Mare - Italy - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) pictured during stage 5 of the 99th Giro d'Italia 2016 from Praia a Mare to Benevento 233 km -

GIRO’16 St.5: Gorilla Greipel Growls In Giro!

Race Report: In the end, it wasn’t even close. There was Andre Greipel, and then somewhere way, way behind… everyone else. The Rostock Gorilla perfectly and emphatically delivered the decisive sprint finish after a hard day’s work in stage 5 by his Lotto Soudal team on the road to Benevento.

 

 


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The Giro’s fifth stage is a 233-kilometer slog from Praia a Mare north to Benevento in the Campania region, it has ‘punchy sprinter’s finish’ stamped across the route profile. Some gentle ups and downs, (like all happy long-term relationships, no?), with a gradual downhill run to the finalé, which is enlivened by some cobblestones before the line. Best to ditch any relationship metaphors here, I suspect.

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If they want a sprint finish, Marcel Kittel and his Etixx – Quick-Step guys have the pressure of controlling the stage now that the maglia rosa is gone. The early phases are marshalled by Nippo Vini Fantini, and they launch the still young Damiano Cunego to the points at the top of the Fortino before the road tilts down. The youthful veteran will get at least one more Giro podium visit.

Praia a Mare - Italy - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Damiano Cunego (Nippo - Vini Fantini) pictured during stage 5 of the 99th Giro d'Italia 2016 from Praia a Mare to Benevento 233 km - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2016The not so young Prince – Damiano Cunego

After a slower start than yesterday’s firestorm 50kms/h, the break forms: Amets Txurruka (Orica-GreenEDGE), Daniel Oss (BMC), Tinkoff’s Pavel Brutt and Alexander Foliforov from Gazprom-RusVelo. Txurruka and Brutt have spent weeks in Grand Tour breakaways in the past, but the Basque has never succeeded in staying clear to win, while Brutt has a couple of victories to his name.

The escapees played nicely together, building over six minutes of a lead, putting Txurruka in the virtual pink jersey with 100kms under the wheels. Inexorably, the glacial attrition of peloton on advantage wreaks its agonising havoc. The gap diminishes, kilometer by kilometer, minute by minute. Brutt, Foliforov, Oss and Txurruka continue to battle, but it’s getting desperate as the field swings through stunning green countryside.

Giro d’Italia 2016 - 99a Edizione - 5a tappa Praia a Mare - Benevento 233 km- 11/05/2016 - Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff) - foto Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2016The break of the day

Lotto Soudal, Lampre-Merida, IAM Cycling… they do most of the work. Sky, Astana and Movistar keep an eye on their overall contenders. 20 clicks to go, and it’s just 25 seconds.

16 kilometers remaining and there’s a tumble for four riders including Jack Bobridge (Trek-Segafredo) and Giant-Alpecin’s Albert Timmer, but no obvious long-term damage. There’s a mechanical for GC contender Rafal Majka (Tinkoff) who’s left with an energy-sapping chase to get back in touch.

These disruptions, a slight slowing in the peloton and gritted-teeth defiance from the escapees mean that with ten kilometers to go the advantage is 17 seconds. But it’s all over as we hit the finishing line and set off on the last 6.6km circuit. Txurruka and Brutt are the last survivors.

LottoNl-Jumbo and Lotto Soudal flood the front of the field as the sprint trains try to sort themselves out. FDJ start to pull Arnaud Demare into contention. Etixx – Quick-Step are nowhere which indicates that Marcel Kittel’s birthday celebrations won’t include a stage victory.

The problem for André Greipel (Lotto Soudal) is that he’s second wheel seemingly too early, with only one team-mate ahead and the others burnt off. Ultimo kilometro and FDJ and Lampre-Merida come forward, as Katusha lose Rein Taaramae on a nasty corner. Then Jurgen Roelandts appears for Greipel and piles the pressure on at the front.

Praia a Mare - Italy - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) pictured during stage 5 of the 99th Giro d'Italia 2016 from Praia a Mare to Benevento 233 km -André Greipel was a powerhouse in Benevento

The sprint opens out on the right hand side, but as a rival lead-out man peels off to the left he leaves a gaping hole which Greipel simply explodes through and takes the stage win by a mile. Super day for Lotto Soudal, and Greipel continues his good run at the Giro. A stage win every time he rides.

No overall changes, with Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) comfortably keeping the maglia rosa, but bonus seconds for Bob Jungels mean the Dutchman’s GC lead is 16 seconds.

Praia a Mare - Italy - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Tom Dumoulin (Giant - Alpecin) pictured during stage 5 of the 99th Giro d'Italia 2016 from Praia a Mare to Benevento 233 km - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2016Tom Dumoulin, safe in pink

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Giro d’Italia Stage 5 Result:
1. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal in 5:40:35
2. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ
3. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
4. Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx – Quick-Step
5. Moreno Hofland (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo
6. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Southeast-Venezuela
7. Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC
8. Georg Preidler (Aut) Giant-Alpecin
9. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE
10. Alexey Tcatevitch (Rus) Katusha
11. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Dimension Data
12. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha
13. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
14. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Sky at 0:04
15. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Orica-GreenEDGE
16. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Cannondale
17. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Sky
18. Ivan Savitskiy (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo
19. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana
20. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step
21. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff
22. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
23. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
24. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale
25. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 5:
1. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin in 19:40:48
2. Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:16
3. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:20
4. Georg Preidler (Aut) Giant-Alpecin
5. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:24
6. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 0:26
7. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:27
8. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha at 0:35
9. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
10. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Sky at 0:37
11. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEDGE
12. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale at 0:40
13. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff at 0:45
14. Rein Taaramae (Est) Katusha
15. Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 0:46
16. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Sky at 0:47
17. Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Dimension Data
18. Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar at 0:50
19. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana at 0:52
20. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:54
21. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale at 0:57
22. Sergey Firsanov (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo
23. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step
24. Pavel Kochetkov (Rus) Katusha at 1:05
25. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana.

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