Stage 5 featured an uphill route of 203km, with a steep climb in the middle and an ascending finish. This gruelling stage comes in at just the right time to kick off the seriousness of the event: four stages in and only a couple of days after the flight to Italy.
The top 10 standings at the end of stage 4 were:
1 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr 2:22:06
2 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek Factory Racing
3 Tom Veelers (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano
4 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
5 Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale
6 Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
7 Kenny De Haes (Bel) Lotto Belisol
8 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Giant-Shimano
9 Bert De Backer (Bel) Team Giant-Shimano
10 Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Neri Sottoli – Yellow Fluo
This was the first stage to feature an uphill finish, much like the ones we saw in the Vuelta a Espana last year, that crippled and tore apart even the most experienced cyclists. The climb is a category 4, which isn’t huge but will definitely make it harder than the standard flat finish, which usually sees sprinters able to pick up the pace fairly quickly. This stage however, will bend and break the rider’s capabilities, leaving them broken men with nothing to grind out but slow, arduous strokes. All in all a very entertaining way to end a stage.
On top of the tough slog ahead, the weather played a part in slowing down the breaks, a crosswind was complicating things and bringing the action down slightly. After stage 4 this was slightly disappointing, as no signs of any breakaways arose.
After a fairly quiet slog, the final sprint was a gruelling and hard earned, with Diego Ulissi for Italy and Lampre-Merida taking the sprint finish. Michael Matthews also managed to keep hold of the leader’s jersey, watch the finish here:
Top 3 stage 5 winners:
1. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC – 0:01
3. Julian David Arredondo Moreno (Col) Trek – 0:01