Cavendish, Evenepoel, Roglic sent sprawling on rainy Giro d'Italia stage 5
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Stage 5 of the 2023 Giro d'Italia was supposed to be a simple day for the sprinters with a straightforward finish along the Gulf of Salerno. However, a day of rain and slippery roads led to multiple crashes along the 171km loop from Atripalda to Salerno.
Former race leader Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-Quickstep) was involved in two of the mass crashes, the first of which came when a dog ran into the peloton and took down a dozen riders after 20km of racing
The world champion went down again late on in a crash that saw at least half a dozen men go down in multiple spills across the road. Fortunately for them, the pileup came inside the final 3km and did not cost him any time on the general classification. GC contenders Hugh Carthy (EF Education-EasyPost) and Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) were also caught up in the fall.
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As it happened: A crash-ridden stage 5 at the Giro d'Italia
Earlier on the run to the line, another crash at around 7km to go saw race leader Andreas Leknessund (Team DSM) and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) involved along with sprinters Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Fernando Gaviria (Movistar), and Pascal Ackermann (UAE Team Emirates).
Roglič said later on "It's all good" after his team was able to bring him back into the peloton before the finish. "It was just super big luck with the second crash... I'm just happy to be here!"
The most bizarre crash came just before the finish line when Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan) slipped on the painted white line during the reduced bunch sprint and kept his bike upright.
However, just as he had given up the idea of contesting the stage, DSM sprinter Alberto Dainese veered across his path, seemingly touching his front wheel with Cavendish sent careering to the right into Filippo Fiorelli (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizané).
The Italian somehow managed to keep his bike upright by leaning into the barriers, escaping with a cut to his hand, but Cavendish was knocked off balance wildly and sprawled across the finish line, being scored in fifth place despite being horizontal.
Mirco Maestri (Eolo-Kometa), David Dekker (Arkéa-Samsic), and Andrea Vendrame (AG2R Citroën) were also involved, the trio left with nowhere to go as Cavendish slid down the road in front of them. The latter was stretchered off the course, with his team later announcing that he had suffered a shoulder separation and "a wound that requires stitches."
"I will do everything to get the best possible treatment this evening with the medical staff of the AG2R Citroën Team. I hope to be at the start tomorrow, that's my goal for the next few hours. It would be heartbreaking to leave the Giro d'Italia," Vendrame said.
Some time after the finish of the stage, Dainese was relegated from fourth place in the peloton for his part in the crash on the line. The Italian's demotion was confirmed by his team in a social media post.
"We accept the jury's decision and once again hope those who crashed in the finale are OK," read the team's statement.