Demare wins Giro stage 5 as Cavendish dropped on climb

·2-min read
Arnaud Demare (C) won his seventh Giro stage at Messina (AFP/Luca Bettini) (Luca Bettini)

Frenchman Arnaud Demare of the FDJ team won stage five of the Giro d'Italia in a sprint finish along the seafront at the port of Messina, Sicily, on Tuesday ahead of Team UAE's Fernando Gaviria.

It was the powerfully built sprinter's seventh stage win on the Giro and the 30-year-old punched the air as he zipped over the line with after a 65kmph finish on a 1km home straight.

"We know what we are capable of but we had to be patient," said Demare, who was second to Mark Cavendish on stage three.

The Giro's two big-name sprinters Cavendish and Caleb Ewan fell off the pace on the Portella Mandrazzi mountain (1,125m) altitude halfway into the 174km race from Catania on which Demare was also dropped, but only briefly.

"My team got me back in touch on the descent. Then we went to the front and set the pace," he said.

After the mountain, some of the sprint teams forged an alliance of fortune at the head of the peloton to ensure stage three winner Cavendish and his arch rival Ewan fought a losing battle to catch up.

For his efforts Demare retook the points classification for the points jersey on 94, with Biniam Girmay second on 72.

- Nibali tells home crowds it's over -

Veteran Italian rider Vincenzo Nibali announced the end of his days in the saddle after the race.

"This is my last Giro," said the 37-year-old. "I'll likely retire from cycling at the end of this year," he told the crowds in his hometown of Messina on the Giro's final day on Sicily.

Nibali won the Giro twice in 2013 and 2016, the Tour de France in 2014 and the Vuelta in his long career in which he won the Tour de France, the Giro twice and the Vuelta in 2010.

Spain's Juan Pedro Lopez of Trek-Segafredo retained the overall leader's pink jersey that he claimed on Mount Etna on stage 4.

British climber Simon Yates remained the top-placed rider a handful; of seconds ahead of the other favourites after his astonishing time-trial win in Hungary.

The Giro travels to the mainland on Wednesday for stage six which will head north over 192km of largely flat coastal run between Palmi and Scalea in Italy's deep south.

The stage will be an opportunity for Demare to extend his points lead, for Cavendish to take a second win, or for 2021 sprint stage winners Ewan or Giacomo Nizzolo to get of the mark.

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