GC throwdown sees end to time in pink, Chaves puts in brave ride to remain in GC top ten

Wed 13 May 2015

The general classification battle lit up on the final climb of stage five at the Giro d’Italia today, bringing to an end ORICA-GreenEDGE’s dream run in the pink leader’s jersey.

The Australian outfit started the day with Simon Clarke in the race lead and teammate Esteban Chaves ten seconds in arrears.

Both fought bravely, but the steady pace on the 17.3km ascent to the finish line saw Clarke lose contact as Chaves maintained touch the major overall contenders.

As the attacks began, originally initiated by Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), it was enough to snap the elastic to the young Colombian and see Alberto Contador move into the Maglia Rosa. Chaves fought on to remain in the top ten overall, 37seconds off the pace in sixth position.

“It is bitter sweet,” sport director Matt White said of the day. “We cannot fault the ride of our boys one bit.”

“They rode exactly how we wanted them to ride and at the end of the day, there was going to be an attack of the best riders in the Giro, the question was when.      

“Every single member of the team did an incredible job today. Clarkey gave it his all to hold onto the jersey and Esteban knew who to follow and he came very very close, but it was the best guys that will podium at this race that went clear.”

At the end of the fifth day of racing, ORICA-GReenEDGE boasts two stage wins and four days in the pink jersey, but there is more to come.

“We’ve had an incredible start to the Giro but it’s only just started,” White said.

“We’ve lost the leader’s jersey but there are many many more stages we want to target before Milan.”

How it unfolded

Stage five presented the first summit finish of the 2015 Giro d’Italia.

After a variety of attempts, five riders were allowed to go clear to form the break of the day.

As no threat to the general classification standings, Jan Polanc (Lampre-Merida), Silvan Dillier (BMC Racing Team), Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling), Axel Domont (AG2R La Mondiale) and Serghei Tvetcov (Androni Giocattoli – Sidermec) established a maximum lead of 11minutes.

As the break started the final 17.3km climb, their advantage was down to six minutes.

Having kept tabs at the head of the peloton on the approach, ORICA-GreenEDGE were amongst those keeping the pace on the start of the climb courtesy of Sam Bewley, Pieter Weening, Michael Matthews, and Simon Gerrans.

As the break began to split, the bunch also diminished until only the climbers remained.

An initial attack by Contador caused an elite break in the bunch with Richie Porte (Team Sky) and Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Team) in tow. Aru was joined by a teammate and their pressure was enough to maintain the distance from the remaining bunch.

Meanwhile, in front, Polanc survived from the early break solo the solo stage victory.

Tomorrow’s stage six from Montecatini Terme features just one category four climb mid stage that isn’t expected to break up the bunch on the 183km journey to Castiglione della Pescaia.