BC-CYC--Giro d’Italia,1st Ld-Writethru
TERRACINA, Italy (AP) — Pascal Ackermann of Germany sprinted to victory at the end of the rain-affected fifth stage of the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday, while Slovenian cyclist Primoz Roglic kept the overall lead.
It was Ackermann’s second stage win in his first Grand Tour after the 25-year-old Bora-Hansgrohe rider also took home Sunday’s second leg.
Ackermann edged out Fernando Gaviria and Arnaud Demare in a bunch sprint at the end of the mainly flat but wet 140-kilometer route from Frascati to Terracina.
“It was a two-time sprint today. I had to brake at 250 meters to go but luckily Gaviria became the perfect lead-out man for me,” Ackermann said. “It was scary all day under the rain. All the stage was scary and sprint was scary because you can’t see much. It was cold all day.”
The rain was so relentless that race organizers decided that times would be taken on the first passage of the finish line in Terracina before the final nine-kilometer loop in order to avoid another crash like the one that marred Tuesday’s fourth stage. That crash split the peloton in half inside the final six kilometers and allowed Roglic to gain precious seconds over his rival.
It also led to 2017 champion Tom Dumoulin abandoning the race a kilometer into Wednesday’s stage as he was in too much pain after injuring his left leg in the crash.
“I came here for a three-week adventure and I wanted to finish it and I’m not ready to go home yet,” Dumoulin said. “I didn’t want to be home and in two days time, be able to ride when the swelling goes down and be sad that I abandoned so I needed to try and push through with some painkillers today and it might’ve been possible.
“I would’ve always asked myself that question and now I can ask myself and I know the answer.”
Roglic, who has worn the leader’s pink jersey since winning the opening time trial on Saturday, remained 35 seconds ahead of British cyclist Simon Yates and 39 ahead of home favorite Vincenzo Nibali.
Thursday’s sixth stage is a 238-kilometer route from Cassino to San Giovanni Rotondo, with an undulating finish.
The Giro finishes in Verona on June 2.
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