Ganna solos to 2nd Giro stage win, Almeida retains lead

CAMIGLIATELLO SILANO, Italy (AP) — World champion Filippo Ganna earned his second stage victory at this year’s Giro d’Italia on Wednesday, and Portuguese rider João Almeida added more than 40 seconds to his overall lead.

Ganna — the time trial world champion and winner of the time trial in Stage 1 — sat up on his bicycle and punched the air before burying his face in his hands as he crossed the line at the end of the hilly 225-kilometer (139.8-mile) leg from Mileto to Camigliatello in Calabria in Stage 5.

Patrick Konrad beat Almeida in the sprint for second place as they led the peloton over the line, 34 seconds behind Ganna.

Ganna, an Italian who rides for Ineos Grenadiers, had been part of the eight-man breakaway and he attacked 16 kilometers (10 miles) from the finish on the first-category climb of the Valico Montescuro.

“I shouldn’t even have gone in the break today, I was supposed to just help Salvatore Puccio,” Ganna said. “But after 40 kilometers of attacks, I told him to get on my wheel and we got away with the others.”

It gave Ineos Grenadiers reason to celebrate after team leader and overall favorite Geraint Thomas withdrew from the Giro before Tuesday’s fourth stage after breaking his pelvis in a fall a day earlier.

“Last night Geraint told me to go for it and go in the break, and so I did,” Ganna said. “I respect what my captain tells me, even from his house.”

The route didn’t have a single patch of flat road. It had two third-category climbs before the Valico Montescuro.

Spanish rider Pello Bilbao moved into second place overall, 43 seconds behind Almeida. Jonathan Caicedo had been just two seconds behind Almeida heading into the fifth stage but lost more than 16 minutes on Wednesday.

“It was a very cold stage, with some rain. I am happy with how I rode,” Almeida said. “After Caicedo was dropped I managed to stay with the main favorites and gave everything until the finish line.”

Thursday’s sixth stage is a 188-kilometer (116.8-mile) leg from Castrovillari to Matera featuring one third-category climb.

The Giro was rescheduled from its usual May slot because of the coronavirus pandemic. The race ends on Oct. 25 with an individual time trial in Milan.

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