Salerno: Kaden Groves has become the latest Australian to win a stage of a grand tour, taking out a wet and chaotic fifth stage of the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday.
Groves, riding for Alpecin-Deceuninck, edged out Jonathan Milan (Bahrain Victorious) and Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) in a bunch sprint that saw Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan Team) hit the deck in the final metres.
There were two categorised climbs early in the 171-kilometre route from Atripalda before a sprint finish in Salerno.
It was a horror stage for race favourite Remco Evenepoel (Soudal–Quick-Step), who was involved in a crash caused by a stray dog. He rejoined the peloton only to go down a second time inside the final, neutralised three kilometres, which ensured he didn’t lose any time.
Evenepoel crashed on the right side of the road early on, along with a number of other riders, after Soudal Quick-Step teammate Davide Ballerini was sent sliding on the wet surface as he tried to avoid a dog that had run out on to the course.
Evenepoel was quickly attended to by the race doctor and his team as he sat on the side of the road. He gave a thumbs-up to a television camera as he made the chase back to the pack.
The Belgian rider led overall until Tuesday’s fourth stage when the pink jersey was taken off him by Andreas Leknessund (Team DSM).
The 23-year-old Leknessund maintained his 28-second lead over Evenepoel on Wednesday, with Aurélien Paret-Peintre (AG2R Citroën Team) two seconds further back in third overall.