Bari (Italy) - At the end of a stage characterised by wet conditions that led to a fall inside the final 3 km, France’s Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.FR) came through to win today’s fifth stage of the Giro d’italia, ahead of Italy’s Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Factory Racing) and Tom Veelers (Team Giant Shimano) of the Netherlands. The win also gave Bouhanni the red Maglia Rossa of the leader in the points classification.
Australia’s Michael Matthews (Orica GreenEdge) retained the pink Maglia Rosa of the race leader overall.
After the stage, both men spoke to the press:
Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.FR):
A tricky stage: “13 km from the finish line, I suffered a puncture and a broken rear wheel, I had to stand at the side of the road waiting for help, and then change bikes. My team-mate Laurent Pichon waited for me, but it still took us took an entire circuit to catch up, and we rejoined the group only on the last circuit. As a team it took everything we had.“
The final kilometres: “In the closing kilometres, there was a crash on a right-hand bend. I managed to avoid it by swerving left, and luckily I had my team-mate Chavanel ahead of me, and with his help I managed to regain the leaders. Coming out of the final curve, I had maybe 20 metres to make up on the rider ahead of me, and I just gave it everything.”
Maglia Rossa: “I have the points jersey now, and I think to win the points competition in a Grand Tour is a great thing. I’ll defend it to the best of my abilities, and try to win more sprints.”
Michael Matthews (Orica GreenEdge):
The final circuit and the rain: “I had the pink jersey, so everyone was coming to ask my opinion about how to proceed in order the keep the race safe. The best idea was definitely to neutralise it until we reached the circuit, which we did. Then, on the final circuit, the conditions were bad, really icy, so the best decision was to neutralise the race and let the sprinters sprint if they wanted to, but without time bonuses, and that is what the commissaires decided. Instead of 5 or 6 on the ground, it could have been 100, so the decision of the commissaires was the safest option.”
Riding to win tomorrow: “Coming into this race, the coming two stages were my main goals. I’ll be going 100% to win tomorrow’s stage and keep the jersey for the team. We’ve worked so hard over the past couple of stages days to keep the jersey and, in any case, the stage really suits me in my current form. I’m not in great sprinting form, but I’m in my best climbing form, so I think it’s more suited to me that to other riders, so it’s my main goal.”