Kaden Groves of Alpecin-Deceuninck took his first Giro d’Italia stage win on stage 5 in Salerno after finishing in the top three twice earlier in the week. The stage was wet and prone to crashes, with several occurring throughout the day, causing some riders to lose time and sustain injuries.
One of the most significant crashes occurred just seven kilometers from the finish when Groves himself crashed but recovered to go on and win the stage. Behind him, a crash just before the finish line saw Mark Cavendish among those hitting the deck after a high-speed touch of wheels. 2.4km earlier, former maglia rosa Remco Evenepoel was among multiple fallers during what was his second crash of the stage.
Groves Survives Crash to Take First Giro d’Italia Stage Win in Salerno
Despite the crashes, Groves held his nerve and sprinted to victory, leading from the front and avoiding all the chaos behind him. Jonathan Milan and Mads Pedersen finished second and third, respectively, with Alberto Dainese finishing fourth but later being relegated by the race jury for his actions in causing the crash in the closing meters.
“It’s a dream. This is the race I’ve been focusing on since November and December. I just want to thank the team, everyone involved, my teammates. They believed in me and, after two-thirds of the race this week, they delivered me to a win,” Groves said after the race.
Stage 5 of the Giro d’Italia took the riders on a hilly 171 km route across Campania, from Atripalda to the coastal city of Salerno. The riders had to navigate two third-category climbs, the Passo Serra and the Oliveto Citra, but with largely flat or descending roads filling the closing 50km, the stage was a day for the sprinters.
Despite the wet and miserable conditions, a quartet consisting of Martin Marcellusi, Samuele Zoccarato, Stefano Gandin, and blue jersey Thibaut Pinot managed to form an early breakaway. However, Marcellusi and Gandin both crashed separately on a wet corner, ending Marcellus’s time in the move.
With the sprinters’ teams set to control the breakaway over the lumpy mid-stage terrain ahead of the expected sprint finish, fate, or rather a small dog, intervened 20km into the stage. The front of the peloton took avoiding action after spotting the loose pup running free at the side of the road, but the dog ran towards the riders, causing Davide Ballerini to touch wheels and slide out.
Despite the crashes, the stage provided an exciting finish for fans of the sport, with Groves emerging as the winner and setting the stage for the rest of the race.
Leknessund keeps the Maglia Rosa
In the general classification, Leknessund remains as the leader of the race despite being involved in one of the crashes. Evenepoel, who fell twice in the stage, will continue in the race, although, according to his medic, “is in a lot of pain”. Another favorite who had a big moment was Primoz Roglic, as he crashed seven kilometers before the finish line.