Giro d'Italia: Bradley Wiggins fails to capitalise on pack crash during fifth stage

ohn Degenkolb won the latest stage

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The Independent Online

Sir Bradley Wiggins failed to make up any time in the Giro d'Italia after Germany's John Degenkolb won the fifth stage following a dramatic crash in the final kilometre.

Degenkolb was one of the favourites for the stage given both his sprinting and climbing ability and he marshalled his Argos-Shimano lead-out train to the front. It is a first stage victory in the Giro for the German, who finished several lengths ahead of Angel Vicioso. Paul Maertens was third.

One of Degenkolb's team-mates, Luka Mezgec, crashed on the final turn, bringing several other riders down with him. Marco Canola raced clear but the Italian was unable to hold off his pursuers. Degenkolb avoided the crash and caught Canola in the final 300 metres.

"My lead-out man crashed and there was just one guy in front," Degenkolb said. "I looked back and saw just [Elia)] Viviani behind and so I went full gas to catch the rider from Bardiani. At the end I couldn't see anything, I was so empty.

"It was a great job by my team, we controlled the whole race. We had confidence and ability and it's a great day for Argos-Shimano. It was really hard in the end. I had to suffer a lot to get to the finish."

All the riders delayed by the crash behind Degenkolb were awarded the same time, which meant Luca Paolini kept the pink jersey as the overall race leader.

Pre-race favourite Wiggins, who lost 17 seconds on Tuesday, remained sixth in the general standings, 34 seconds behind Paolini. Main rival Vincenzo Nibali was still fourth, 31 seconds off the pink jersey.

The stage had another early break and Tomas Gil, Stefano Pirazzi, Alan Marangoni, Ricardo Mestre, Brian Bulgac and Rafael Andriato swiftly built a lead of nearly 10 minutes. Pirazzi was dropped after 35 kilometers but the remaining quintet maintained a healthy advantage. Not until the first of two climbs near the finish was the breakaway swallowed up by the peloton.

Mark Cavendish, who won on the opening day in Naples, fought hard up the climb to Montescaglioso to keep his chances of another stage victory alive. However, he received no help on the descent and was unable to stay in contention.

Tomorrow's sixth stage is another mainly flat one, covering 168 kilometers (104 miles) from Mola di Bari to Margherita di Savoia.

Overall leaders

1 Luca Paolini (It) Katusha 19:56:39

2 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Sky +17"

3 Benat Intxausti (Sp) Movistar +26"

4 Vincenzo Nibali (It) Astana +31"

6= Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin +34"

6= Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky+34"

7 Giampaolo Caruso (It) Katusha +36"

8 Sergio Montoya (Col) Sky +37"