- Giro d'Italia, Stage Five
Degenkolb triumphs in Matera as Cav suffers
Germany's John Degenkolb has won stage five of the Giro d'Italia in dramatic fashion after sprinting clear of a crash with little more than one kilometre to go.
With the peloton gathering for a bunch sprint in treacherous conditions after an earlier downpour, the melee at the final left-hand turn of the race - sparked by one of Degenkolb's team-mates - brought down around 25 riders, leaving the Argos-Shimano rider among a handful of sprinters in a fight to the finish. Spain's Angel Vicioso finished second, with fellow German Paul Martens coming home third.
The crash held up Bradley Wiggins, who was given the same time as the winner - all riders affected by such incidents inside the final 3km of a stage receive the winner's time. The Team Sky leader remains 34 seconds adrift of Katusha rider Luca Paolini in the Pink Jersey, with team-mate Rigoberto Uran still up in second, 17 seconds behind the Italian.
Mark Cavendish had arrived with high hopes of a stage win at the 203-km ride from Cosenza to Matera, but despite a sterling effort from his Omega Pharma Quick-Step team-mates the Manxman suffered on the final climb with 20km to go and slipped off the back of the leading group to roll in six minutes behind the leaders.
Back at the front, Ben Gastauer broke clear in a bid to split the peleton alongside Robert Vrecer and Lars Bak, but the breakway was caught with 6km to go as the pack began to stretch along the course.
A brief burst from Hubert Dupont aside, the leaders looked content to contest a sprint finish before the carnage at the final bend. Bardiani's Marco Canola suddenly found himself leading the race but was caught by Degenkolb with 300m to go as the German gave everything for his maiden stage win at the Giro before collapsing after crossing the finish line.
"My lead out man crashed down, I think he was behind some other guys and he crashed with them," said Degenkolb, who claimed five stage wins at last year's Vuelta a Espana.
"One guy from Bardiani was in front of me. I looked back and there was just one other rider so then I went full gas to make it to the finish and catch this guy from Bardiani.
"In the end I couldn't see anything. I was so empty. It was a great job of my team today. We controlled the whole race."
Stage Five, Cosenza - Matera
1 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano 4:37:48
2 Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Katusha
3 Paul Martens (Ger) Blanco Pro Cycling Team
4 Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling
5 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
6 Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Colombia
7 Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team
8 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdge
9 Grega Bole (Slo) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
10 Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team
General classification after stage 5
1 Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha 19:56:39
2 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling +17s
3 Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team +26s
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team +31s
5 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp +34s
6 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling +34s
7 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha +36s
8 Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling +37s
9 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia +39s
10 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team +42s