Stage 5 – 2013 Giro d’Italia
Distance: 203 km Cosenza-Matera.
1. There were only two Cat 4 climbs in yesterday’s stage but Stefano Pirazzi of Bardiani-Valvole was eager to mop up the mountain jersey points on offer.
Pirazzi finished second last year behind Matteo Rabottini who also won a mountain stage. It was naive of Pirazzi to spend energy on going for points on Cat 4 climbs. He should save his energy for later, for more mountainous stages which will be targeted by other mountain jersey aspirants.
2. Giovani Visconti of Team Movistar was the second to take mountain points on at Montescaglioso. The Italian continues to hold the maglia azzurra by the skin of his teeth.
3. Omega Pharma-Quick Step was seen earlier in the stage driving the pace which indicated that Mark Cavendish was in good climbing form. But despite his best efforts, Cavendish wasn’t able to maintain the tempo and was dropped on Montescaglioso. It was disappointing to see Cav losing out on contesting the sprint and repeat the stellar performance he produced on Stage 1. Today’s stage suits him better and we should definitely seem him duke it out with other fastmen.
4. Yesterday was yawn of a stage and the action picked up only at the ascent of second Cat 4 climb. But even if the parcours was not that exciting, the fickle spring weather added drama to the stage when riders were greeted with slick roads of downtown Matera. Luka Mezgec of Argos-Shimano slipped on the last corner which impeded the rest of the bunch on the finishing straight. Marco Canola of Bardiani Valvole tried to go solo but John Degenkolb was strong enough to haul back the Italian. Degenkolb was completely exhausted after the stage and this photo by Jered Gruber shows how much Degenkolb was in the red zone. It was some terrific bike racing by the German.
6. There was flash flood at Matera and at a point during the race it appeared that the video equipment at the finish will be washed away. But the organizers managed to arrange machines to pump away the water and manage smooth end to the stage. Doff of the hat to Giro organizers who have already faced inclement weather at Milan-San Remo and Tirreno-Adriatico.