In a thrilling conclusion to stage 5 of the Giro d’Italia, Benjamin Thomas from Cofidis emerged victorious, narrowly beating Michael Valgren of EF Education-EasyPost and Andrea Pietrobon of Team Polti Kometa to the line in Lucca. The stage covered 178 km from Genova, with a route that was far from conducive to a simple sprint finish.

The early part of the race was relatively calm, but the tranquility was soon disrupted. Initial attempts to break away saw active involvement from Harrison Wood, Mattia Bais, and Lewis Askey, with Ewen Costiou also briefly leading. However, Soudal-Quickstep’s control at the front of the peloton ensured that no early break could gain a substantial advantage.

The category 3 climb, Passo del Bracco, significantly altered the race dynamics. The ascent proved too challenging for several sprinters, including notable names like Fabio Jakobsen and Tim Merlier, who lost contact with the main group. This climb reshuffled the pack and set the stage for the intense finale.

In the closing kilometres, a bold four-man breakaway featuring Thomas, Valgren, Paleni, and Pietrobon pulled away from the peloton. They worked together seamlessly, resembling a well-drilled team pursuit squad, to maintain their lead over the chasing pack.

Speaking in the post-race press conference, Thomas expressed his surprise at the day’s outcome: “I honestly hadn’t earmarked this stage. It was rather spontaneous. When Michael Valgren suggested going for it, I just felt it was the right moment,” he explained. “Cycling should be enjoyable; that’s why I love it so much. It felt like a track race out there, and securing the win, especially here in Italy where I’ve lived for seven years, means a great deal.”

Meanwhile, Tadej Pogacar retained the Maglia Rosa, staying out of trouble and finishing safely within the pack. He commented on the day’s racing and his outlook for the coming stages: “Today was challenging, but staying vigilant was crucial. I hadn’t planned to extend my lead today, but when the chance came, we seized it,” said Pogacar.

As the race moves into tomorrow’s Tappa Bartali, more excitement is anticipated as the route presents further challenges that could disrupt the general classification. With Pogacar looking robust in pink and challengers like Geraint Thomas and Daniel Felipe Martinez closely trailing, the Giro d’Italia continues to captivate with its compelling racing.

2024 Giro d’Italia Stage 5 result

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Photo Credits: LaPresse