Lampre-Merida rider Diego Ulissi shot past the leading three riders on the uphill finish of Stage Five of the Giro d’Italia to cross the finish line a single second ahead of Trek’s Julian Arredondo and BMC’s Cadel Evans.
Ulissi came from behind the leaders, waiting until Arredondo and Evans had passed stage leader Joaquim Rodriguez in the final few hundred meters of the eight-percent climb, then rocketing along the left-side barrier to take the lead. Arredondo and Evans fought back, riding side-by-side to the line, where the second-place winner was decided by photo-finish.
Overall leader Michael Matthews of Orica-GreenEdge finished sixth, keeping the pink jersey for at least one more day.
“Starting as the big favourite is always difficult. I showed I was ready,” Ulissi said. “So I’m enjoying this moment. I wanted this win to against the big names who were up there in the finale of the stage.”
“I actually suffered on the descent but felt better on the climb to the line. Rodriguez made a strong attack but my teammate [Przemyslaw] Niemiec helped me position myself well and then I pulled out what I think is a good sprint,” Ulissi told Cyclingnews.com.
“Sometimes so so-called experts think I can’t do well in races over 200km. That’s not true. I’ve won long races. I’m just trying to improve year after year and I think my results have proven it. I’m happy to admit my mistakes and that training at altitude before the Classics left me with heavy legs. But I feel good for the Giro. Now I’ve got to carry on doing what I’m doing and believe in myself. I think I’ve shown what I can do and that a new generation of Italian riders is slowly coming through.”