After yesterday’s fireworks which saw the sprinters slink back into the shadows, Stage 5’s 233km jaunt from Praia a Mare to Benevento should see the quick men take centre stage once again. Today’s finale is a great contrast to those we negotiated during the first few days on wide Dutch roads, replaced now by technical bends and a slight uphill drag to the line.
Marcel Kittel is riding in imperious form thus far at the Giro, though this long and arduous day in the saddle could cause him greater troubles than anticipated. The German is climbing better than ever right now and possesses the most impressive lead out train on show at this year’s Giro d’Italia. Assuming that his team guarantees him ideal placement ahead of the finish line, it will be an immense challenge to beat Kittel given his potent form currently.
Giacomo Nizzolo appears certain to be the biggest threat to Kittel’s hopes on Stage 5, the Italian demonstrating his climbing prowess yesterday will fancy his chances of winning even more so here. Trek Factory Racing can provide a more than convincing lead out for their sprinting ace, making him the man to watch in terms of pushing Kittel to the limit.
Sacha Modolo enjoys the more technical of sprint finishes and will look upon Stage 5 as ideal terrain to strut his stuff with the hope of emerging victorious.
Arnaud Démare is clearly in the midst of a purple patch and it would be surprising to see him leave the first grand tour of the year without a stage win to his name. The Frenchman is likely to put in a convincing showing against an uphill finish, though isolation late on would spell disaster for him.
Caleb Ewan, Moreno Hofland and Elia Viviani are amongst the fastest riders here at the Giro d’Italia, though whether or not they shall survive the demands of Stage 5 to demonstrate this a different question entirely.
1st Giacomo Nizzolo 2nd Marcel Kittel 3rd Sacha Modolo