Giro d’Italia: Evans avoids mishaps on stage five
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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Giro d’Italia: Evans avoids mishaps on stage five

by Conal Andrews at 4:35 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
Dangerous riding still evident

World champion Cadel Evans finished 30th on today’s fifth stage of the Giro d’Italia, crossing the line as part of the main bunch which was four seconds adrift of the stage winner Jerome Pineau (Quick Step).

He consequently stayed on the same time difference with his main rivals, ending the day – as he started it – one minute 59 seconds behind race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas).

The first big mountain stage of the race takes place on Sunday, when the riders slug it out on the climb up to Monte Terminillo. That will present Evans with his first real opportunity to recoup the time lost due to splits in the bunch and yesterday’s team time trial; until then, his goal is to steer clear of trouble.

Today’s stage was a little safer than those in the Netherlands, but Evans said that there were still some moments where it was necessary to be alert.

“Another day done, happily passed without the risks of the Dutch roads, but a bit 'sketchy' the same,” he wrote on his website. “The opening week of a Grand Tour is usually quite nervous, all the directors on radios telling the riders to get in this break and go to the front to avoid that obstacle. Riders taking advantage of their fresh legs to try and make an opportunity for themselves in a break or a sprint.

“We will have a few hard days soon to tire people’s nerves, and things will calm down a bit.

“[There were] a couple of bumps to pass today on the way to the 'missed' bunch finish - the first 'breakaway' win of this year's Giro! I saw a BBox rider spectacularly straight line the first switchback of 3000km+ race, plowing through the first third of the peloton from right to left, taking down Vinokourov from behind in the process. Ridiculous...”

The closing kilometres today appeared likely to play into the hands of the sprinters, who had their teams chasing hard on the front of the peloton and were gradually bringing back the breakaway trio of Pineau, Julien Fouchard (Cofidis, le Credit en Ligne) and Yukiya Arashiro (Bbox Bouygues Telecom). However towards the end the pace of the peloton flagged slightly, with the HTC Columbia team appearing to run out of steam. Team Sky came to the front and gave it some gas and inside the final kilometre, the gap was down to a handful of seconds.

Two things then happened to give the breakaway the chance to stay clear; the first was a hard right hand bend, which saw the break carve around nicely but the main bunch handle less well, losing momentum. The second was an-ultimately self-defeating move by Arashiro, who accelerated hard and played right into the hands of Pineau.

“The final lacked a really strong lead out, as it has done so at the Giro for a few years,” said Evans. “Riders spread wide across the road makes it a bit of lottery for the top sprinters to position themselves without getting closed in, and opening the door to the opportunists. Quick-Step will be very happy to have won two stages so early in the piece.”

Tomorrow’s stage features the first mountains of the race and while they are not significant enough to provoke some real splits amongst the favourites, they could well foil the sprinters once more. For Evans, the biggest priority will once again be to steer out of trouble.

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