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Giro Stage 5 Preview

A short 140km stage with a finishing circuit and a likely sprint.

Richard Carapaz, Frascati

Stage 4 Review: why such a long stage? Because it’s the Giro d’Italia and so it must tour Italy. You could have 80km stages every day but that’s still no guarantee of action and the race would hardly cover any ground. A breakaway of three wildcard teams and a sprint finish loomed. In the approach there was a crash which brought down Tom Dumoulin and he lost four minutes as he struggled to pedal to the finish, spinning a low gear with his jaw clenched. Ahead the race split and Richard Carapaz made a late attack in the streets of Frascati and quickly got a big gap as the others had a brief stand-off about who should chase and this hesitation meant Caleb Ewan’s could only close the gap with a big sprint. Roglič made the split to watch the stage victory play out in front of him and took time on his rivals while Dumoulin will see morning whether to continue. Arguably of all the GC riders he’s the one who could quit the GC and come back for the Tour, he’s been here and got the pink t-shirt already and trundling round Italy to see if he can get back into contention seems a big ask, but he might hang on for the time trial stage as a test.

The Route: just 140km to Terracina and as far south as the Giro goes this year. It’s a tough start with climbing and rough roads.

The Finish: the riders come into Terracina, proceed along the finishing straight and then head out for two loops of a flat 4.7km finishing circuit with eight 90° bends and passing alongside the sea. There’s time to learn the circuit before the sprint and the 1.5km long finishing straight.

The Contenders: it’s bound to be a sprint even if the opening phase makes for a good launchpad for the breakaway. Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quickstep) is out for revenge and looked quick in Orbetello before the commissaires got to him, Fernando Gaviria (UAE Emirates) is getting better every day but a man down after team mate Molano was benched by the team for “unusual physiological results”, presumably haematological rather than, say, leg length measurements. Meanwhile Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) still has the raw power and Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) is running close and both might like the dragstrip finish. Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) is having some near misses but he did this in 2017 before finally getting a win.

There’s a second wave of sprinters including Matteo Moschetti (Trek-Segafredo) who is the new Jakub Mareczko (CCC) who was the new Andrea Guardini. Giacomo Nizzolo (Dimension Data) can place, the same for Davide Cimolai (Israel Academy) but the big five as a cohort look unbeatable.

Elia Viviani
Fernando Gaviria, Caleb Ewan, Pascal Ackermann

Weather: south but no warmer, a chilly 16°C and showers. It won’t be too windy but there’s a slight headwind forecast for the finish line.

TV: the finish is forecast for 5.15pm CEST / Euro time. It’s on RAI in Italy, Eurosport across most of Europe and Australia, L’Equipe TV in France and Flobikes and Fubo.tv in the US.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • jc Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 7:38 am

    After the traditional polemica the day before, yesterday we had a traditional elephant trap. It seems so frustrating for the riders, organisers and those watching when a main contender is knocked out through no fault of their own but it is an integral part of racing. Primoz Roglic seems to be getting the lucky breaks at the moment and looks to be in a very strong position (especially as Simon Yates picked up some injuries in another crash not seen on TV) but at some point the luck will turn. His challenge is to be able to cope with that.

    As to today, hopefully the shorter stage will encourage somewhat less slow pedalling, Elia Viviana would seem to be the strong favourite after the events of the other day.

    • Paul Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 9:23 am

      Some call it luck some call it nouse, only so many times Roglic can be in the right place right time by accident

      • jc Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 9:40 am

        Yes you do have to push to get yourself to the front, a skill Chris Froome seems to have perfected (the young guns at Team Ineos not so much). However there is luck too,, the big crash yesterday happened at the front of the bunch and most of the contenders, including Vincenzo Nibali who is as skilled as anyone, were affected. To win a GT you do need an element of luck, over 3 weeks and thousands of kms of racing stuff happens, you have to hope worse stuff happens to your opponents.

        • Ben E Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 2:28 pm

          As the saying goes: “the harder you work the luckier you seem to get” aka “you make your own luck”.

      • Cd Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 4:52 pm

        Dumoulin was better placed than Roglic at the time of crash. Roglic was behind TD but away from the crash. So yeah, luck.

        • Chris Thursday, 16 May 2019, 5:26 am


  • OL Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 7:42 am

    Just wondering: with a rather short, flat and (presumably) fast finishing circuit, being lapped is only a matter of 5-6 mins or so.
    Does this affect those riders who did their work earlier in the stage and often roll into the finish many minutes down?

    Thanks for all the great Giro coverage INRNG!

    • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 9:15 am

      It’s ok to be lapped but the riders must get out of the way and not interfere with the race, then complete the course.

      • GeorgeY Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 11:14 am

        IIRC being lapped means you are out of the race only in crit races.

        So sorry for Dumoulin it’s really tough to lose it all in a split second, especially when it’s not your fault and when you can’t do anything about it!

  • Simmers Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 9:18 am

    A real shame that we lost Dumoulin as a contender yesterday, after already losing Bernal before the start. Although, to be honest, he hasn’t really given the impression these past few months that he was on track to win this Giro. Something seems off with him, and I can’t quite figure out what it is. In this sense, having to abandon the Giro and refocus for the Tour might actually be a blessing in disguise for him.

    And yeah, echoing the sentiment above: thanks for the great coverage, as always!

    • Paul Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 9:24 am

      Love Tom but do wonder weather he races/competes enough?

      • Simmers Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 10:13 am

        Yeah, I’m often wondering the same thing, but his schedule has practically been the same since 2017, so it hasn’t hampered him in the past. I do think it’s a shame someone with his versatility doesn’t compete in more one-day races. I don’t see why he couldn’t really target a few of the classics and grand tours in the same way Nibali has done for years.

  • plurien Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 9:47 am

    RAIs Processo alla Tappa was in no doubt the crash was caused by Puccio not paying attention.
    Rewatching, he keeps looking behind and to the right from a left-side position where he was constantly being guttered and balked by riders, as if he wasn’t comfortable riding in a bunch. If he was lead out or wingman he was out of position for at least 3k and had chances to move around. Not great. Then he ran up the back of Ullisi (?) and so the cascade began.
    The one we didn’t see was Yates and Landa coming down, still before the 3k to go.

  • J Evnas Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 9:50 am

    A dull parcours is producing dull racing (at least for 97% of the stage). Saves me time – I watch the recording in the evening, so I can flick forward until the last 10km – but is that what the organisers want? I’d rather actually watch some racing, but if a turgid procession is what’s on offer why would anyone sit through it for hours? (Yes, ‘the riders make the racing’, but if you offer a course like this it’s more likely not to be a race.)
    TD should quit and focus on the TdF. No point him potentially jeopardising his health and he’s not going to win.

    • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 9:54 am

      We can’t have 21 days of action, riders can’t sustain it. Usually the Giro is good for variety, a sprint stage one day, an uphill finish the next but as soon as the 2019 route was unveiled last year alarm bells rang, think I wrote the opening two weeks have more in common with the Eneco Tour than the Giro although even the typical sprint stage so far has 1,000-2,000m of vertical gain.

      • Gregario Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 10:05 am

        Right, we will possibly experience the dullest first two weeks of the Giro in history. I really struggle to see any reasoning behind the design of this parcours. And if Roglic smashes the TT to San Marino, he might be 2 minutes up on the rest, which doesn’t bode well for the rest of the Giro. There is also a really big danger that the queen stage will skip the Gavia, with snow being forecast for the next week. I really hope the weather will improve otherwise the race might be a big anti-climax this year.

      • Megi Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 10:08 am

        Let me think, who’s the Italian champion, and what’s his speciality? This course seems designed to give a certain sprinter as many opportunities as possible to win stages, commissionaires permitting, before the mountains destroy his legs.

        • DJW Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 10:51 am

          I don’t think the mountains will destroy his legs. Stage 12 will see him – and several others – packing bags rather than suffering on the climbs in the gruppetto for nothing more than pride.

        • gabriele Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 4:39 pm

          Oh yeah, you mean the guy who out of eight GTs he raced throughout his career, only didn’t finish once!
          The same who won la Vuelta’s last stage six months ago, precisely the day after a brutal mountain marathon. The same guy who brought home the point jersey from the 2018 Giro, despite the mountains, and, yes, he came *only* 2nd in the last stage (beat by Bennett… exactly as in stage 7), as if no mountains had been climbed before when he won… stage 17!

          You don’t even need much memory to understand that. If you had a keener eye, you might also remember that the young Viviani used to get on the last stage of the GTs significant placings, not that different from what he achieved during the first weeks (often better). That’s what made people think that he could do something great on the road, too, not only on the track.

          By the way, this course had been designed, among other things, to lure in Sagan and Valverde. For different reasons, the plan didn’t work for either. But, sure, there’s an Italian masterplan to favour Viviani, as we just noticed in Orbetello.

      • Larry T Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 2:33 pm

        Can we choke down a reality pill here? There are 21 stages and we’re on stage 5 today. The race gets serious starting with Stage 9, the next chrono stage. Stage 12 hits the mountains and from there it’s seriously lumpy all the way until the end with only Stage 18 an exception.
        Some of the comments about the race being dull (when we’re only in Stage 5) really drive home the idea that there’s a new generation out there with attention spans measured in minutes. Perhaps the “California Vacation” race going on at the same time would be more entertaining to them?

        • Vitus Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 3:48 pm

          I blame the new whole stage coverage madness. It just makes no sense for sprinter and warm up stages. In the past you would watch the last 30 minutes, which is absolutely more than enough for such days. Now we have 5 hours of nothing happens on the tv screen. And people watch it, cause they feel they could miss something, and they feel bored. The races were always that dull, only nobody could see it. The breakaway formed when tv coverage started with 70 to go, before that moment most GT days were a training procession.

          • Jovelo Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 3:57 pm

            I think you are absolutely right. And it is consistent with what Inner said a few days ago in the comments (if I recall correctly) , it’s better to follow “sprint” stages on the radio.

      • KevinR Thursday, 16 May 2019, 8:05 am

        Ring, it seems to have the feel of one of those formulaic Tours at the moment. Although the Israel start last year wasn’t good for many reasons, including the cycling.
        It also seems a very lopsided Giro – mainly flat for ages and then overloaded with climbing to (over) compensate.

    • Richard S Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 11:14 am

      I agree. To me one of the highlights of the Giro is the relatively large amount of lumpy stages with technical finishes, usually up to some village on top of a hill. Last year had a few of those, as did the one where Matthews was in pink for a bit, and the one where Astana tried to ride Contador into the dust in the first week (might be the same one). I think they’ve tried too hard to get the big name sprinters at a time when there aren’t really any big name sprinters with sufficient charisma to make it worth while. If it was Cipo, or Petacchi or Cavendish then maybe it would be more worthwhile. This is turning in to a re run of the Tour from a couple of years ago where you could fall asleep in the afternoon and wake up to see Kittel getting interviewed after the finish.

    • Flávio Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 11:23 am

      Complete agreement the Giro parcours have become worse this last few years, this year is just the culmination of that trend.

      It’s just sprint, lots of TT and Mountains (at the ebd), gone are all the fun lumpy stages with Tricky finishes, just looks like a cheap tour knock off.

    • Davesta Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 11:48 am

      More agreement here – this year’s race feels like a far cry from the 2015 & 2017 editions, for example, where there seemed to be some kind of action every single day, be it GC racing, technical finishes, surprise winners, illegal wheel swaps etc etc…!

      This year has a much more formulaic feel to it, much like the TdF – as if they’ve tried to engineer specific outcomes for specific days. It’s a shame, as much of the charm of the Giro is in its unpredictability…

      • Simmers Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 12:15 pm

        Isn’t it a bit premature for these assessments? Yesterday was exactly the kind of final that no one could predict in advance. Yes, we’ve seen a few relatively boring sprint stages, but there are plenty of ‘intermediate’ stages to come – even 3 in a row from tomorrow where anything can happen.

        • Davesta Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 12:22 pm

          Perhaps a little early, yes…it’s more an assessment of how this year’s route is much more in the mould of the TdF’s approach of having numerous early transitional, flat stages guaranteed to offer no action (eg solo breakaways & a soft pedaling peloton) combined with what appears to be an engineered mountain set-piece finale…

          I agree that there could be a couple of interesting stages ahead. Hopefully the interest is generated by the racing, rather than crashes…

        • Anonymous Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 1:49 pm

          Yesterday was exactly the kind of final that fits with the theme of being a formulaic, cheap Tour de France knockoff. It ticked the box of the mass crash in the first nervous week that eliminates one of the main contenders.

          • KevinR Thursday, 16 May 2019, 8:10 am

            + 1

        • Larry T Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 2:07 pm


        • Larry T Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 2:08 pm

          +1 for Simmers comment, sorry!

        • Chris Thursday, 16 May 2019, 5:32 am

          |Isn’t it a bit premature for these assessments?
          Are you new to internet comment sections? It’s never too early to cry that this is THE. WORST. GT. EVER! and that the sky is falling.

  • jc Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 10:39 am

    The weather forecast does look to be less cold if not dryer next week not sure there will be much if any snow. The Gavia does look to be pretty snowy at the moment but there is time to clear the road.

    I do agree that if Tom Dumoulin is out of contention then it is difficult to see who is going to challenge Primoz Roglic, we could see a procession around central and northern Italy to Verona. However there is a long way to go and the Giro does have history of providing surprises, it would seem likely that Jumbo Visma will face a challenge or two at some point, I am sure they will be remembering the snow bank at the top of the Agnello a couple of years back……

  • R Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 12:56 pm

    I know it’s always a bit arbitrary, but looking at the road book the stage opens with an 8km climb of 4-5%. And then another not insignificant lump later on. Would categorising these not at least give some more incentive for riders to nab some points for the mountains competition and fight for a jersey?

  • Netserk Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 1:51 pm

    »The Finish: the riders come into Terracina, proceed along the finishing straight and then head out for two loops of a flat 4.7km finishing circuit with eight 90° bends and passing alongside the sea.«

    The final circuit is 9.25 km long and will only be ridden once.

  • GingerTart Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 2:51 pm

    I can’t believe that Roglic is already being talked up as the obvious winner and they say that there’s no competition, but we’re still only on stage 5.

    How many Grand Tours have been won by a rider taking the lead on day 1 and keeping it to the end?

    • Nick Friday, 17 May 2019, 5:32 pm


  • RQS Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 3:17 pm

    I’m enjoying things so far. Even the TT had a few surprises, and with riders picking and choosing to start early or late it gave a little frisson to the proposition of Roglic being relegated from top spot.

    Yesterday’s stage has thrown the cat amongst the pigeon’s. I seem to remember that a certain Welshman enjoyed some luck with crashes and breaks which aided his win in a Grand Tour.

    Granted the parcours does not excite, but that’s only half the story. We have this sort of moaning about a lack of action and the racing topography lacking with start of almost every GT. As if cycling is only about having a rider pop out of the fog for the win (metaphorical and literal).

    The Giro has always been a little problematic due to its position in the race calendar, so a lot of riders turn up without having reached top form, some don’t turn up at all, but for me that’s the beauty. At some point a rider will show himself and we will enjoy the show. As others have put, we can’t expect the riders to be dialled into ’11’ every day.

    I also think that some of the sprints have been very technical, with quite extreme turns or gradients in the final km which have been far from formulaic compared to some of the broad avenues of the TdF – hence the fact that none of the sprinters have found a way to dominate. Some people will moan about this too (someone has made a comment about the sprinters personalities, but in the last umpteen years it has not been the race for ‘personalities’, like TdF GC contenders, they are focused on Le Grand Boucle).

    I remember the year Wiggins went for the Giro. The first half of the race was largely over-shadowed by his failing to perform, and the second half a shimmering triumph as Cavendish won the red jersey, and Nibali the pink. It was also the race where Uran performed so excellently. So there we have, a race of two halves.

    • gabriele Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 4:15 pm

      In 2013 the first week had already been quite exciting, and not just thanks to the landscapes. Both the Sorrento and the Abruzzo stage were great, with multiple attacks from quite far (while Serra San Bruno and Matera offered exciting finales). In Italy at least, it was very soon quite apparent that Wiggo didn’t have what is needed to fight for a Giro and people were just focussed on the good racing which was on.
      However I agree with your general point: we had some Giros which were impressive more or less from km 0 to 3 thousands and half or so, but that simply can’t be the norm. And, as you say, at the start of a GT there’s always the typical psychological conflict between the hype which has been growing for weeks and the need to build a well-balanced race.
      Besides, it should be noticed that including much mountain in the first week often leads to nothing anyway, given that everybody is still too strong. Whatismore, you risk to end up like 2017, whose first two thirds were way too often easy riding, to make for the mighty Blockhaus, then people got to the last week so fresh that it was really hard to make a difference even come the mountains (ill-distributed in most stages, anyway).

      • RQS Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 8:21 pm

        Yes. I think you probably right about 2013. I probably had Wiggo tinted glasses and so had a dreadful sense of disappointment when he failed to take off. It somehow rang the death knell of his career that he wasn’t able to come anywhere near he TdF form.
        There always seem to be early carping by fans about the quality of the GTs. In some ways I think it is the necessity for them to see their heroes succeed, when so often it is about the wheat extracting itself from the chaff. The competition melts away until a winner is exposed. But the key to the best GTs is always about the top contenders trading blows. We won’t see that for a while.

  • gabriele Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 3:38 pm

    Re: the course. Yes and no. Sure, the course quality peaked in 2015 and 2016 – and we’re speaking of an essentially perfect design. However, this year’s isn’t bad. I’d say that (overall) it’s better than both 2017 and 2018 (which weren’t terrible, anyway, far from!).

    I agree that the Giro is trying to legitimate itself as a race reserved for the prototype of the complete rider rather than a complete race open to a broad variety of riders as it traditionally was. As a consequence, it’s mimicking some of the Tour’s traditional features, also to take advantage of the fact that the French race is failing to be faithful to itself as well as to achieve a successful change.
    In this process, we’ve had great improvements: the Giro is currently the only GT properly using ITTs and on top of that they’re (often) as great as the Giro became used to make them, far from the old-style Tour’s blind powermetrology. OTOH, a number of side-effects became manifest as well.

    The relative lack of variety in the first half of this year’s course is its main flaw. That said, we’ve got four stages until now and that was: a great ITT, two (complicated) sprint stages and one rather mixed up, with a climber winning it. I’d say that anything else would have been too much, given that if you add difficulties here, you need to make it milder later. Yesterday wasn’t “good only because of people crashing”, rather the other way around (even if you can never know). The crashes forced a very obvious script for the small head group in the finale, with rest just chasing. It might have been rather more entertaining with more competitors and teams in the last ten kms or so. I must also say that the peloton isn’t taking advantage of the possibilities offered by the course. It really didn’t happen on every single stage until now, including today. The opportunities, created by the course design or by lucky chance (weather) have been there all the time, I could name one or more in any single stage raced until now. You simply could see the teams not even trying. Riding on the front to avoid troubles for their leader but nothing more. I’m not judging that, it’s a long race and to some it will pay dividends later – at the same time, surely many will regret they didn’t do anything now that they can (last edition was a good demonstration).

  • gabriele Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 4:24 pm

    A short note on big gaps in GC. It’s like superlong or supershort stages. It can works both way, that is, you can get very exciting race or sort of a lack of “true” racing. There’s a good deal of examples of both. In general terms, I’ll always prefer big gaps which are being overturned ^__^

    I can’t find short gaps as exciting as most people apparently do (perhaps they’re betting, that might help) because they tend to simply mean that nothing serious actually happened. There are exceptions, of course, but those GCs with little differences well into the third week are often the product of *infracycling*, miniattacks in the last couple of kms or so, mountain stages void of actual action as the Tour got us accustomed to. Or Vuelta’s specialty, especially in recent times, even if Contador could change even that. Most of the really memorable Vuelta stages I can recall didn’t feature a monster wall nor little time differences, quite the other way around.

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