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Giro d’Italia. Stage 5. Bad luck for Lopez, Bilbao makes sprint

It was a day of bad luck for Astana’s leader Miguel Angel Lopez, who crashed on a descent with just 5,6 km to go at stage 5 of the Giro d’Italia. Fortunately, he avoided any serious injures crashing on the grass, but it was impossible for him to avoid time lose since the crash was too close to the finish line.

Astana Team did its best as Andrey Zeits and Luis Leon Sanchez pulled hard to bring Lopez back in the group, but with a really high pace inside the final few kilometers it was a tough challenge. Finally, at the finish line Miguel Angel Lopez and Luis Leon Sanchez lost 43 seconds to the stage winner Enrico Battaglin.

- There was a very fast descent and on a left corner he could not avoid a crash. The whole day the team stayed close to Miguel Angel, but in the final there was just a bad luck. We did our best to bring him back but with 5 km to go it was just a mission impossible. Of course, that was not a good moment for us, but at least he did not get any serious injures. Tomorrow will be the first serious mountain test on Etna, so let’s see if we can show something there, - said sports director Dmitri Sedoun.

Pello Bilbao was the best Astana performer today with 11th place. Pello did a good sprint in the final and missed just a little to fight for a much better result.

- The whole day I was next to Miguel Angel Lopez and everything went ok. On the final descent he was in front of me and something happened and he crashed on the grass. It was so pity to have this crash with just 5 km to go. In the final sprint I saw an opportunity to make a good result. I felt really good legs and inside the final kilometer I found the wheel of yesterday’s winner Tim Wellens. I thought it was a good idea, but it did not. Anyway I tried my best at the finish line but missed a moment to move in front, - explained Pello Bilbao.

The 5th stage of the Giro d’Italia started in Agrigento and finished in Santa Ninfa after 153 km of racing. With a few climbs inside the final part of the stage it looked a good opportunity for some attacking style riders. Anyway, no one of the riders could get any serious advantage and the stage once again has concluded with a sprint, this time won by the Italian Battaglin, followed by Giovanni Visconti and José Gonçalves.

No changes in the upper part of the general classification as the Australian Rohan Dennis still holds the pink jersey and Pello Bilbao is at 5th place, 25 seconds behind the leader.

The first big mountain test of the 101st Giro d’Itali will be held tomorrow: 164 km from Caltanissetta to the famous volcano Etna. Looks like the general classification of the race will be shaken dramatically.

Photo credit: ©Bettiniphoto

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