CATTOLICA, Italy (AP) — Australian cyclist Caleb Ewan won a crash-marred fifth stage of the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday and Alessandro De Marchi kept hold of the leader’s pink jersey.
Ewan’s victory in a sprint finish was overshadowed by several crashes in the final 15 kilometers. The most serious involved one of the favorites, Mikel Landa, who was taken away in an ambulance.
“He was in pain, we’re not sure if he has fractured his collarbone or his wrist,” Team Bahrain Victorious sporting director Franco Pellizotti said. “We’re disappointed but our Giro continues.”
The incident occurred after American cyclist Joseph Dombrowski hit a race marshal signaling an obstacle in the middle of the road, causing a crash.
Dombrowski, who had been second overall after winning the previous stage, was able to continue but finished more than eight minutes behind Ewan. The consequences were more serious for Landa, who received swift treatment before being taken to hospital.
Pavel Sivakov’s hopes of overall victory are also in tatters after he was involved in another crash. The Ineos Grenadiers rider managed to get up and change bicycles but had no chance of catching the high-speed peloton.
Ewan was also involved in a late tangle with Tim Merlier but managed to stay upright and edge ahead of Giacomo Nizzolo in the final 50 meters of the flat and straight 177-kilometer (110-mile) route from Modena to Cattolica on the Adriatic coast.
“The sprint itself was reasonably straight forward,” Ewan said. “It was slightly uphill in the last few 100 meters. I went to the right side and got boxed in. I moved a bit to the left and I had enough time to come around in the end.”
It was an 11th second-place finish in the Giro for Nizzolo, who has never won a Grand Tour stage. Elia Viviani was third.
De Marchi remained 42 seconds ahead of Louis Vervaeke, who moved into second. Nelson Oliveira is third, 48 seconds behind De Marchi.
“It’s pretty simple tomorrow: I’ll fight until the end,” De Marchi said. “I’ll pay attention to make sure no one dangerous in the GC gets away. I’m ready to do my best.
“Wearing the Maglia Rosa (pink jersey) is demanding but it’s a light weight to carry considering how nice it is to bear these responsibilities.”
Thursday’s sixth stage is the toughest test yet, with three classified climbs — including the race’s first summit finish along the mountainous 160-kilometer (99-mile) route from Grotte di Frasassi to Ascoli Piceno.
The Giro finishes on May 30 in Milan with an individual time trial.
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