Degenkolb takes dramatic Giro win

Giro d’Italia

  • Dates: 4-26 May (13 and 20 May are rest days)

Coverage: Live commentary on the final hours of each stage on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra or online; live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Germany’s John Degenkolb took victory in stage five of the Giro d’Italia after a dramatic crash in the closing stages in the run-in to Matera.

In wet conditions, the peloton gathered for a bunch sprint but the crash took out most of the pack leaving the Argos-Shimano rider to advance.

Mark Cavendish was unable to stay in touch and was six minutes off the pace.

Italy’s Luca Paolini remains in the overall lead with Sir Bradley Wiggins still 34 seconds behind in sixth.


“It was touch and go as to whether this would be a sprinter’s stage because of the climb that came at 20km out. There were only a handful of sprinters, John Degenkolb being one of them, who were able to get over the climb.

“Mark Cavendish had a decent ride and he almost got back on to the back of the pack after dropping off. I spoke to Tom Steels, one of the Omega Pharma Quick Step directors, and he said they took decision to hold back most of their riders on the climb.

“Cavendish tried with a couple of guys but they held most back from tomorrow’s stage. It’s shorter and basically pan flat. It’s one of three chances for out-and-out sprinters like Cavendish.

“Cadel Evans has got an eye on the leader’s pink jersey and the sprinter’s points jersey which is a possibility because of his strong stage finishes at the moment. He’s looking good. Coming into the Giro, he was one of the outside bets, but I think he’s a little bit more than that now.”

The Team Sky rider was one of those who appeared to have lost time as a host of riders slipped on the greasy surface, just one kilometre from the end of the 203km stage.

But organisers awarded the same time to the breakaway riders and the peloton – which included other race favourites Vincenzo Nibali and Ryder Hesjedal – as Degenkolb and a few others broke free.

That means the places of the top riders in the general classification stays the same, with Wiggins sixth overall and his team-mate Rigoberto Uran 17 seconds behind leader Paolini in second.

Unfortunately for Omega Pharma Quick Step rider Cavendish, he was not part of the main group, the Manxman finishing disappointingly after struggling up a category four climb with 20km to go.

It was a maiden stage victory for 24-year-old Degenkolb, whose team-mate and lead-out man Luka Mezgec crashed out on the final turn, taking several other riders – including 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans – with him.

Bardiani’s Marco Canola raced clear, but the Italian didn’t have the legs and Degenkolb denied the host country a third successive Italian stage winner, finishing several bike lengths ahead of Angel Vicioso and Paul Maertens.

“My lead-out man crashed and there was just one guy in front,” said Degenkolb. “I looked back and saw just [Elia] Viviani behind and so I went full gas to catch the rider from Bardiani.

“It was a great job by my team today. We controlled the race and had the confidence to lead the chase. It was a great day for Argos-Shimano.”

Thursday’s sixth stage

is another mainly flat one, running 169km from Mola di Bari to Margherita di Savoia.

Stage five standings

1. John Degenkolb (Germany/Argos) 4:37:48″

2. Angel Vicioso (Spain/Katusha) same time

3. Paul Martens (Germany/Blanco)

4. Sergio Henao (Colombia/Team Sky)

5. Matteo Trentin (Italy/Omega Pharma Quick Step)

6. Jarlinson Pantano (Colombia/Colombia)

7. Daniel Oss (Italy/BMC Racing)

8. Jens Keukeleire (Belgium/Orica)

9. Grega Bole (Slovenia/Vacansoleil)

10. Tanel Kangert (Estonia/Astana)

General classification standings:

1. Luca Paolini (Italy / Katusha) 19:56:39″

2. Rigoberto Uran (Colombia / Team Sky) +17″

3. Benat Intxausti (Spain / Movistar) +26″

4. Vincenzo Nibali (Italy / Astana) +31″

5. Ryder Hesjedal (Canada / Garmin) +34″

6. Bradley Wiggins (Britain / Team Sky)

7. Giampaolo Caruso (Italy / Katusha) +36″

8. Sergio Henao (Colombia / Team Sky) +37″

9. Mauro Santambrogio (Italy / Vini Fantini) +39″

10. Cadel Evans (Australia / BMC Racing) +42″

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