Ewan sprints to stage five victory as De Marchi retains Maglia Rosa
Caleb Ewan won the fifth stage of the Giro d'Italia in a sprint finish as Italy's Alessandro De Marchi kept hold of the overall lead while Mikel Landa crashed out
Lotto rider Ewan overtook Giacomo Nizzolo to triumph in the final metres of a flat, initially uneventful stage that was suddenly hit by a raft of falls as the race came to its climax in Cattolica on the Adriatic coast.
The most notable of these was Spaniard Mikel Landa, considered one of the potential contenders for overall victory, who crashed heavily in the last five kilometres of the 177km ride from Modena.
He was stretchered off the road by a medical team after crashing into Tuesday's stage winner Joe Dombrowski, who fell into the peloton after hitting a traffic island.
Speaking after the stage, Caleb Ewan said: “It was a relief because my goal this year is to win in all three Grand Tours."
“The first sprint didn’t go well so there was a lot of pressure on me and the team to do a good job today. [The team] outperformed themselves today, without them I couldn’t have been so fresh in the finish. We had good lines through all the corners in the last 20km and I think I just showed I had the best legs in the final.”
After leading the bunch into the final kilometres, Lotto-Soudal dropped back on the final straight with Ewan forced to navigate from a long way back to launch his sprint.
Ewan was able to avoid an incident with Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) and launched his sprint late to pass Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka-Assos) inside the final 50m.
With one of three Grand Tour victories ticked off, Ewan said he plans to chase more victories in the Giro before turning his attention to the next target, the Tour de France.
Thursday's mountainous sixth stage is a 160km from Grotte di Frasassi to Ascoli Piceno mountain top finish, the hilly stage features 3,400m of climbing.
VIDEO: 2021 Giro d'Italia Stage 5 Highlights
2021 Giro d'Italia GC after Stage 5
1 Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Israel Start-up Nation 17:57:45
2 Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 0:0:42
3 Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team 0:0:48
4 Attila Valter (Hun) Groupama-FDJ 0:01:00
5 Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis 0:01:15
6 Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech 0:01:24
7 Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:01:28
8 Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education-Nippo 0:01:37
9 Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Education-Nippo 0:01:38
10 Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers 0:01:39
2021 Giro d'Italia Stage 5 Top 10
1 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal 4:07:01
2 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Team Qhubeka Assos
3 Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis
4 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
5 Fernando Gaviria Rendon (Col) UAE Team Emirates
6 Matteo Moschetti (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
7 Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
8 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
9 Manuel Belletti (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
10 Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Start-up Nation
Landa and Dombrowski crash heavily with 3.9km to go on stage 5. Spanish climber looked in good form on the first climbing day yesterday after attacking
Mikel Landa crashed badly fifth day at the Giro d'Italia 2021 after hitting Dombrowski who hit a marshal who was signalling stood in front of a traffic island.
Landa (Bahrain Victorious) showed some excellent form on the first of the climbing days on stage four but has crashed out of the race taken away in an ambulance.
The Spanish rider came down with other riders including stage four winner and the mountains jersey wearer, Joe Dombrowski (UAE Team Emirates).
Dombrowski collided with the marshal who was in front of padding on a traffic island.
The American rider for UAE Team Emirates bounced out into the rest of the riders hitting Landa who crashed heavily.
Dombrowski managed to get back onto his bike and finish, looking rather beaten up with blood and visible road rash.
Stage 5 headed down the ancient Roman Via Aemilia, almost straight as an arrow, towards the town of Cattolica. The final kilometres were raced tight city roads with numerous roundabouts and bends including 3 tight left-handers and one tight right-hander, with street furniture and pinch points.
VIDEO: Landa Crashes out of the Giro
Photo: Dombrowski Hit a Marshall in Front of a Traffic Island
Photo: Landa taken to Hospital, DNF, conditon not yet known