Messina, Sicily (AP) — Colombia’s Fernando Gaviria won a bunch sprint at the end of the fifth stage of the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday to claim his second victory of this year’s race, while Quick-Step teammate Bob Jungels remained in the overall lead.
Gaviria, who won his first ever Grand Tour stage on Sunday in Sardinia, edged out Italy’s Jakub Mareczko at the end of the undulating 159-kilometer (99-mile) route from Pedara to Messina, the hometown of 2013 and 2016 Giro winner, Vincenzo Nibali.
Mareczko came back from a long way out, storming down the left side of the road to pip Irish rider Sam Bennett, who finished third.
“I’m happy with these two victories. My legs responded as I wanted,” the 22-year-old Gaviria said. “This win isn’t only mine, it belongs to all the people who support me, to my family who are here.”
There was an incredible moment when Luka Pibernik thought he had won the stage and raised his hands in celebration as he crossed the line, forgetting there was another 6.2K lap.
Jungels, of Luxembourg, maintained his six-second advantage over Welshman Geraint Thomas. Fellow Briton Adam Yates remained four seconds further back, with most of the overall favorites.
The crowds were out in force along the route and especially in Messina, eager to show their support for Nibali.
“It was amazing to see so many people on the road sides for Vincenzo Nibali,” Jungels said. “They were very excited. I will try to keep the Maglia Rosa (leader’s pink jersey) at least until Sunday.”
Thursday’s sixth stage sees the Giro move to mainland Italy with a 217-kilometer (135-mile) route from Reggio Calabria to Terme Luigiane.
The Giro ends on May 28 with a 28-kilometer (17.4 mile) individual time trial from Monza’s Formula One track to Milan’s cathedral.