Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) 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 teammate Bob Jungels remained in the overall lead.
Gaviria, who won his first ever Grand Tour stage on Sunday in Sardinia, edged out Jakub Mareczko (Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia) at the end of the undulating 159km route from Pedara to Messina, the hometown of 2013 and 2016 Giro winner, Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida).
Mareczko came back from a long way out, storming down the left side of the road to pip Sam Bennett (BORA-hansgrohe), who finished third.
“I’d like to bring the Maglia Ciclamino [sprint jersey] to Milan but there are still many stages left and at each stage, I’ll only think of the following day," Gaviria said.
"To make it to the closing time trial in Milan would transform the young Fernando into an adult. It would be a great satisfaction to finish the Giro, knowing that it’s one of the hardest in history.
"It’s hard to say who my main rival for the sprints is. Every day, we’ve had a different winner in the first three stages. I only use my instinct for sprinting anyway. It’s all about staying focused and attacking at the right moment.”
Australia's Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) dropped further back in the points standings to be eighth on a day where he failed to collect any points.
There was an incredible moment when Luka Pibernik (Bahrain-Merida) thought he had won the stage and raised his hands in celebration as he crossed the line, forgetting there was another 6.2km lap to go.
Jungels maintained his six-second advantage over Geraint Thomas (Sky). Adam Yates (Orica-Scott) remained four seconds further back, with most of the overall favourites.
“I hope to keep the Maglia Rosa as long as possible," Jungels said. "On Sunday it’s gonna be a very hard stage up to the Blockhaus, but before that, I only have a six-second lead on Geraint Thomas, which is not the world but we’ll pay attention to all the opponents.
"This was only the fifth stage and the GC contenders aren’t hiding. We saw action from the first day on. When we opened echelons on stage 3, the other GC riders weren’t happy. It’s a big Giro, it’s the 100th edition and we’re racing hard every day.”
Thursday's sixth stage sees the Giro move to mainland Italy with a 217km route from Reggio Calabria to Terme Luigiane.