Mark Cavendish, Remco Evenepoel, and Primož Roglič involved in crashes at the end of Giro d'Italia stage five
Remco Evenepoel, Primož Roglič and Mark Cavendish were among the victims of crashes towards the end of stage five of the Giro d'Italia on Wednesday, as the wet weather caused havoc in Salerno.
Evenepoel of Soudal Quick-Step was involved in the second of three crashes inside the final 8km of the race, but will lose no time on general classification as the incident happened inside the final 3km.
Meanwhile, Cavendish of Astana-Qazaqstan was caught up in an incident inside the final 300m, which saw Fillipo Fiorelli (Green Project-Bardian CSF-Fazianè) and Andrea Vendrame (AG2R Citroën) crash, among others.
The first crash came at 7.6km to go, and saw Fernando Gaviria (Movistar) hit the deck on a wet corner, the last corner of the day. Caught up in that crash was Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck), who went onto win the stage, and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma). The latter's fall was confirmed by his directeur sportif Marc Reef post-race.
The first incident saw a split occur in the peloton, which briefly meant Andreas Leknessund (DSM), the pink jersey holder, and Roglič were distanced. However, the remnants of the peloton, led by Soudal Quick-Step and Ineos Grenadiers, did not capitalise on the misfortune of their rivals.
The two groups came back together in the final 5km, which would have been a relief for the GC riders caught out in that event.
The second crash saw Evenepoel crash after being taken out by a rider with 2.5km to go, although thanks to it being within 3km, it will not affect his overall time. It was the second time that the Belgian came off the bike on Wednesday, after he was taken out by a stray dog earlier in the day.
It is not known what state the world champion is in, although he was able to continue riding, and was seen remonstrating with his team car and teammates in the run in to the finish. Quick-Step tweeted: "He's home".
The final crash occurred practically on the finish line, and began with Cavendish losing control of his rear wheel on the white line down the middle on the road as he put the power down.
The Manxman was forced to stop his effort and then touched wheels with Alberto Dainese (DSM). This saw Cavendish swerve into Fiorelli on the barriers on the right hand side of the road, before sliding across the finish line, with Vendrame among those coming down in the incident.
The AG2R rider was seen on a stretcher at the end of the race. Impressively, Cavendish still managed to finish fifth on the stage, with Fiorelli in eighth and Vendrame in ninth. Also involved were David Dekker (Arkéa Samsic) and Mirco Maestri (EOLO-Kometa).
The dramatic finalé led to some criticism. Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-EasyPost) said that things needed to change.
"It's always like this," he said. "It's really dangerous. The pressure is high from our team, from the organisation, but anyway, it's hard to accept, because a lot of guys probably end the Giro today. We should start to think differently. I have no idea how things should change or improve, but we have to do something.
"I asked [the jury] some questions. Our teammates are all good. It's not about us, it's about my colleagues, because one day it could happen to anyone. It's a very risky sport, and I don't know what could change. Fortunately, it's over for today."