Ackermann powers home in sodden Italy as Dunbar, Dunne battle on

Posted on: May 15th, 2019
Irish cycling fans would prefer to see Sam Bennett in this photo, but to be fair to Pascal Ackermann he has taken two great stages despite being under real pressure starting Giro d’Italia 2019.

The pressure is now off Pascal Ackermann at the Giro d’Italia after the German claimed stage 5 today; his second victory of the race.

He was selected ahead of Sam Bennett as the Bora-hansgrohe sprinter this year despite the Irishman winning three stages at the Giro 12 months ago.

And when Bennett showed much better form than Ackermann in the early part of this season, the selection decision looked stranger.

However, now with two stage wins already under his belt the 25-year-old has justified his place on the team.

He sprinted home in the rain today into Terracina at the end of 140km to follow up on his stage 2 win of last Sunday.

Roglic is looking solid in pink. He had an uneventful day despite the rain.

The finale today was made less hectic when a decision was taken to record all the riders general classification times for the stage as they passed the finish line to go out onto a 9.2km local lap.

It meant riders could sit up and leave the sprinting to the fast men and their lead out trains.

In the final gallop to the line Fernando Gaviria (UAE team Emirates) went early and looked very strong.

However, Ackerman showed speed and strength in getting past the young Colombian to win, with Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) and Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) placing 3rd and 4th on the stage.

Ireland’s Conor Dunne (Israel Cycling Academy) and Eddie Dunbar (Team Ineos) both finished on the same time as the winner; in 58th and 82nd respectively.

There was no change overall with Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) holding the race lead. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) abandoned just 1.5km into the stage.

The Dutch rider, and one of the pre-race favourites, came down in a late crash yesterday.

He badly injured his left leg and though he tried to race today he was quickly forced off the bike and into his team car.

Tomorrow’s stage 6 from Cassino to San Giovanni Rotondo is 238km and with a late cat 2 climb splits could emerge.