Australian cyclist Caleb Ewan won a crash-marred fifth stage of the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday, with several race favourites impacted by heavy falls.
- Caleb Ewan survived being boxed in on the final straight to secure his first victory at this year’s Giro d’Italia
- Ewan beat Giacomo Nizzolo into second place, the 11th time he has finished second at the Giro
- One of the pre-race favourites Mikel Landa crashed out of the race with a suspected broken collarbone
There were several crashes in the final 15 kilometres of the pancake-flat stage from Modena to Cattloica in Italy’s north-east, the most serious involving one of the pre-race favourites, Mikel Landa, who was taken away in an ambulance.
“He was in pain,” Team Bahrain Victorious sporting director Franco Pellizotti said.
“We’re disappointed but our Giro continues.”
It was later confirmed that Landa suffered a broken collarbone and multiple rib fractures.
The incident occurred after American cyclist Joseph Dombrowski hit a race marshal signalling an obstacle in the middle of the road, causing a crash.
Dombrowski, who had been second overall after winning the previous stage, was able to continue but finished more than eight minutes behind Ewan.
The consequences were more serious for Landa, who received swift treatment on the roadside before being taken to hospital.
Pavel Sivakov’s hopes of overall victory are also in tatters after he was involved in another crash. The Ineos Grenadiers rider managed to get up and change bicycles but had no chance of catching the high-speed peloton and is now almost 14 minutes down on the leaders.
Ewan was also involved in a late tangle with Tim Merlier but managed to stay upright and edge ahead of Giacomo Nizzolo in the final 50 metres of the flat and straight 177-kilometre route.
“The sprint itself was reasonably straight forward,” Ewan, who now has four stage victories at the Italian Grand Tour, said.
“It was slightly uphill in the last few 100 metres. I went to the right side and got boxed in. I moved a bit to the left and I had enough time to come around in the end.
Ewan said he was relieved to pick up the win after missing out on the first sprint finish of the race on stage two, where he finished well adrift of his rivals in 10th.
“The first sprint stage didn’t go good at all, so, you know, there was a lot of pressure on me and the team to do a good job today.
“The goal to start with was one [stage win], so I’ve done that. I’m pretty hungry to win as much as I can, so maybe this is good confidence for the team and myself.”
It was an 11th second-place finish in the Giro for Nizzolo, who has never won a Grand Tour stage. Elia Viviani was third.
Alessandro De Marchi remained 42 seconds ahead of Louis Vervaeke in the general classification, who moved into second. Nelson Oliveira is third, 48 seconds behind De Marchi.
“It’s pretty simple tomorrow: I’ll fight until the end,” De Marchi said. “I’ll pay attention to make sure no one dangerous in the GC [general classification] gets away. I’m ready to do my best.
“Wearing the Maglia Rosa [pink jersey] is demanding but it’s a light weight to carry considering how nice it is to bear these responsibilities.”
Thursday’s sixth stage is the toughest test yet, with three classified climbs — including the race’s first summit finish along the mountainous 160-kilometre route from Grotte di Frasassi to Ascoli Piceno.