France's Thomas takes surprise stage five Giro win

Benjamin Thomas celebrates his stage five Giro win
Benjamin Thomas handed his Cofidis team their first victory of the 2024 season [Getty Images]

France's Benjamin Thomas took a surprise victory in Lucca on stage five of the Giro d’Italia as Tadej Pogacar retained his overall lead.

Thomas, along with Enzo Paleni, Andrea Pietrobon and Michael Valgren, separated midway through the 178km stage and managed to stay ahead of the chasing peloton until the end.

Pietrobon was the first to attack in the final kilometre but the Italian began to fade, which allowed Cofidis rider Thomas to execute a well-timed sprint finish and seal the win.

Denmark's Valgren was second, with Pietrobon having to settle for third place.

Two-time Tour de France champion Pogacar remains 46 seconds ahead of Britain's Geraint Thomas in the overall standings.

After securing his maiden Grand Tour stage win - and Cofidis' first victory of the season - Benjamin Thomas joked that Wednesday's Genova to Lucca test had been "like a long, long, long team pursuit".

The 28-year-old added: "We did an amazing break and I don't believe it.

"It was really hard in the finale, every pull was full gas. Its unbelievable."

Paleni of France was fourth and points classification leader Jonathan Milan of Italy guided the peloton home in fifth place.

Stage six on Thursday takes place across 180km from Torre del Lago Puccini to Rapolano Terme.

Stage five result

1. Benjamin Thomas (Fra/Cofidis) three hours, 59mins and 59secs

2. Michael Valgren (Den/EF Education-EasyPost) same time

3. Andrea Pietrobon (Ita/Polti-Kometa) same time

4. Enzo Paleni (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) +3secs

5. Jonathan Milan (Ita/Lidl-Trek) +11secs

6. Caleb Ewan (Aus/Jayco AlUla) same time

7. Phil Bauhaus (Ger/Bahrain Victorious)

8. Tim Merlier (Bel/Soudal-QuickStep)

9. Olav Kooij (Ned/Visma-Lease a Bike)

10. Madis Mihkels (Est/Intermarche Wanty)

General classification

1. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) 19hrs 19mins 15secs

2. Geraint Thomas (GB/Ineos Grenadiers) +46secs

3. Daniel Martinez (Col/Bora-hansgrohe) +47secs

4. Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bel/Team Visma-Lease a Bike) +55secs

5. Einer Rubio (Col/Movistar) +56secs

6. Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita/Astana Qazaqstan) +1min 07secs

7. Juan Pedro Lopez (Spa/Lidl-Trek) +1min 11secs

8. Jan Hirt (Cze/Soudal-Quick-Step) +1min 13secs

9. Alexei Lutsenko (Kaz/Astana Qazaqstan) +1min 26secs

10. Esteban Chaves (Col/EF Education-Easypost) Same time