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Giro d'Italia

Giro d’Italia: Evenepoel, Roglič crash but don’t lose time, Cavendish slides out to 4th: ‘Nothing’s broken, only my morale a little bit’

UPDATE: Dainese relegated and doctors say Evenepoel suffered hematomas and an impact on his sacrum: 'Stage six will be a difficult one for him.'

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Mark Cavendish crashed and somersaulted off of his bike, but still managed to finish fourth after sliding across the line at the end of Wednesday’s wet and wild accident-marred fifth stage at the Giro d’Italia.

Pre-race favorites Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) and Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) were both caught up in separate spills in the nervous, crash-marred closing 10km of the wet and cold stage.

Official results later confirmed that all the major GC contenders were awarded the same time as the winner. The lone exception is Jay Vine (UAE Team Emirates) who lost 1:11, and tumbled from 10th to 21st at 2:47.

Cavendish’s spectacular crash was provoked when he was opening up his sprint and his rear wheel spun out on wet roads and traffic paint, causing him to lose control. He then clipped wheels with Alberto Dainese (Team DSM) — who was later relegated from fourth to last in the lead bunch — as he tried to ride back into the slipstream.

“My knee is a little bit sore, but I don’t think anything’s broken, only my morale a little bit,” Cavendish said in a team video post-stage. “I was in perfect position, I kicked for the sprint, and the back wheel’s on the white line, and when I kicked, the wheel slides. Circumstances after that, well …

“That’s sprinting,” he said with a shrug. “Alberto’s called me, and I just hope everybody else who crashed is OK, too. Uff, I will try again, and congratulations to Kaden Groves.”

That forced Cavendish to swerve to his right, driving another rider into the barriers. That impact caused Cavendish’s left leg to unclip from the pedal and spin over his body.

The former world champion slammed to the ground and slid across the finish line fifth (later bumped to fourth with the relegation), his best result since the Giro started in one of the more bizarre moments in Cavendish’s long and storied career.

Cavendish later said he was banged up and bruised, but didn’t think anything would stop him from starting Thursday’s stage.

Pre-race favorites Roglič, Evenepoel both go down: ‘Stage six will be a difficult one for him’

Remco Evenepoel is assisted by members of his team after crashing during the fifth stage of the Giro d’Italia. (LUCA BETTINI/AFP via Getty Images)

Cavendish’s finish-line spill came in a frenetic final 7km of racing that saw pre-race favorites Roglič and Evenepoel both crash in spills in the closing 10km.

Evenepoel already crashed earlier in the stage after a dog apparently provoked a pileup with about 150km to go. The reigning world champion sat on the ground before remounting the bike without apparent serious injury.

A second crash came within the 3km to go “safe zone” when he bumped shoulders with another rider. Evenepoel was slammed to the ground as he was looking left and a right swiped him from his right.

Soudal Quick-Step officials released a statement from the team doctor:

“After the first crash, things looked to be good for Remco, which at that moment was a big relief. The problem is that following his second crash he has a lot of pain on his right side and a hematoma with contraction of his muscles and some problems with his sacrum bone.

“Hopefully, with some good massage and osteopathic treatment followed by a good night’s rest things will be better. We will know more Thursday morning, but what’s sure is that stage six will be a difficult one for him”, said Soudal Quick-Step doctor Toon Cruyt.

Jumbo-Visma sport director Marc Reef also confirmed that Roglič was able to regain contact after being forced to swap bikes in a crash with 7km to go, only to get up caught behind Evenepoel’s second crash within 3km to go.

“We saw that he crashed, and got a new bike, and they brought him back. It was all OK,” Reef said. “He got back, and there were more splits, so we will have to see what the jury says about that. We know that the roads when it’s wet that it’s quite slippery. Tomorrow it’s important to be concentrated and keep him safe. That will be the main goal of tomorrow.”

The rain coupled with wet roads and a pack full of nervous sprinters created harrowing racing conditions in what was an otherwise routine stage ideal for a mass gallop.

There were several other top names impacted, including pre-stage favorite Fernando Gaviria (Movistar), who crashed with 7km to go and could not regain contact to contest the sprint.

“We had a lot of stuff happening. We had our guy go down, and it was a big mess everywhere,” said Movistar sport director Max Sciandri. “There was another big crash with 2km to go, and there was another crash at the finish. This is what happens in a day like this, and the roads are slippery. Everyone wants to go for the sprints, this is what happens.”

Overnight leader Andreas Leknessund (Team DSM) was also involved in the crash with about 7km to go, but managed to regain contact to save the pink jersey.

“It was a hectic final. I was behind the first crash [7km to go]. I had a teammate there and he went all-in to close the gap,” he said. “There were also some sprinter and GC teams who were also riding. I could see it would come back and stay calm.”

Forecasters are calling for more rain, wind, and cool temperatures in Thursday’s sixth stage starting and finishing in Napoli. The course traces along the famed Costa Amalfi on very narrow roads laced with bridges, villages, and exposed drops to the sea.

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