Degenkolb Wins Stage 5 of Giro d'Italia 2013
The break of the day formed in the first five kms. Tomas Gil (Androni Giacattoli-Venezuela), Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox), Alan Marangoni (Cannondale), Ricardo Mestre (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Brian Bulgac (Lotto-Belisol), and Rafael Andriato (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) were in the move, and the escapees--sans Pirazzi, who dropped out of the break--led the field by 9:50 at 58 kms.
Katusha then woke up on behalf of maglia rosa Paolini. The Russian squad led the chase, and the gap was narrowed to 8:03 at 80 kms. Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Argos-Shimano, and Orica-GreenEdge took over from Katusha, and the gap continued to fall. It was 6:25 at 118.2 kms, and 5:45 at 143 kms. The bunch reeled in the break on the Category 4 Montescaglioso with under 25 kms remaining.
Garmin-Sharp led the peloton up the climb and riders, particularly nonclimbing sprinters such as Mark Cavendish and Francesco Chicchi (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia), were shelled. Near the summit, Pirazzi attacked, and Ben Gastauer (Ag2r-La Mondiale) joined him. Pirazzi was caught on the descent, but Robert Vrecer (Euskaltel-Euskadi) joined Gastauer and with 15 km left, the pair led the peloton by 0:12.
With 13 km to go, Lars Bak (Lotto-Belisol) joined the break. Androni Giacattoli-Venezuela led the pursuit, while Ag2r-La Mondiale attempted to block. With 10 kms left, the pair led by 0:06. BMC led the pursuit, and the break was snuffed out two kms late. Matteo Rabottini (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) attacked but was caught quickly. Hubert Dupont (Ag2r-La Mondiale) had a dig, but the bunch scooped him up with three km left.
Argos-Shimano took over at the front and led the field into the last km. On the last turn, Luka Mezgec (Argos-Shimano) hit the deck and started a crash that took down about a dozen riders and blocked most of the others. Marco Canola (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox) was ahead of the crash and bolted for the finish line. Degenkolb overtook the Italian with 200 ms to go and charged home for the win.
"I was just behind the crash," Degenkolb said. "It was pretty slippery and wet. They went a bit too fast into the second-last corner, and luckily there was a small gap behind them, so that I could still brake and get around the crash. I was out of my pedals, so I put my feet back in the pedals and accelerated. The Bardiani rider [Marco Canola] made the corner and was first to get away. I looked around and realized that it was everything or nothing. I knew I had to give it everything. My sprint lasted one km. It was hard, I really suffered, and my lactate must have been at 35 at the end.
"It is important to German cycling that this new generation is having victories: Tony Martin, Marcel Kittel, and myself. We're all good friends, and we have a big responsibility to promote clean and transparent cycling. I feel very responsible for this."
In the overall, Paolini leads Rigoberto Uran (Sky) by 0:17 and Benat Intxausti (Euskaltel-Euskadi) by 0:26. Stage 6, a flat, 169.8-km run from Mola di Bari to Margherita di Savoia, will not change this state of affairs. The stage should end in a cavalry charge. Who will win it? Cavendish? Elia Viviani (Cannondale)? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!