Rohan Dennis’ climbing test; Battaglin kicks to Giro win; Greipel’s milestone: Daily News Digest

Today's Daily News Digest: Another tricky stage in Sicily, Rohan Dennis' GC test, a milestone for the Gorilla, and memories of Wouter Weylandt.

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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:

Another tricky stage in Sicily, Rohan Dennis’ GC test, a milestone for the Gorilla, and memories of Wouter Weylandt.

Dispatches from the Giro d’Italia

Battaglin battles to Giro win

After crossing the line third on Tuesday, Enrico Battaglin sprinted to victory in the Giro’s second tricky, uphill finish in a row. The LottoNL Jumbo rider timed things perfectly this time around, blasting in ahead of compatriot and local rider Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida) and José Gonçalves (Katusha-Alpecin).

The fight for the pink jersey remained unchanged. Rohan Dennis leads by a scant 1 second over Tom Dumoulin. Simon Yates is in third.

Giro d’Italia Stage 5 highlights

“It was a little bit different to yesterday,” Battaglin said after the stage, referring to the pair of equally difficult but tactically disparate stages across Sicily on Tuesday and Wednesday. “Yesterday was a powerful sprint on a really steep climb. Today there was a steep climb, but with two kilometres to go. I had a little bit of time to rest, to recover, and do a really big sprint.”

It was Battaglin’s third Giro stage victory after wins in 2013 and 2014. “The Giro is always lucky for me,” he said.

Rohan Dennis’ Giro experiment

Rohan Dennis’ multi-year plan to transform into a general classification rider will face a major test on Thursday on the slopes of Mt. Etna. He enters the stage with a slim lead in the overall gained in the opening time trial, his specialty, but now faces the first real fight against gravity.

“Tomorrow is a big test to look at the work I’ve done in my training, to see if it’s gone the right way, and to see if we need to change it in the future or keep it the same,” he said. “Tomorrow’s a big test for what I’ve done as preparation.”

Dennis recently finished 7th overall at the Tour de Romandie, frequently climbing with the best. The trick on Etna, he said, will be more of the same level-headed riding. “If I’m in trouble, and I know I can’t go with the move, then I can just ride my own pace to my absolute limit and hope that it comes back,” he said.

Max Schachmann, a rising German star

Keep an eye on QuickStep Floors’ 24-year-old German Maximillian Schachmann, currently the Giro’s best young rider. He finished fourth on Wednesday despite getting caught up in a crash inside the final 15 kilometres, an indication of both a calm head on those young shoulders and quite a bit of fitness in his legs.

“I was so angry that I was just like, ‘Today I go full in the final.’ I fought myself back to the front. Although I made a mistake on the final corner, I think I had good legs today,” he said.

Schachmann is sixth overall, 28 seconds off pink.

Poll: The most surprising things from stage 5

Tomorrow’s Giro stage

Caltanissetta to Etna, 164km

The first real test. It’s a tired old trope but a true one: Etna won’t show us the winner of the Giro, but it will show us who won’t win. The route this year uses a new approach, this time from the southwest side of the volcano. The climb is 15km and averages 6.5%, peaking at 15%, which looks on paper like the route used last year. But locals say that this is the harder way up, and that it should prove more selective.

2018 Giro d'Italia stage 6 profile

Race Radio

Greipel’s career milestone

Andre Greipel wins a lot. How much? At the Four Days of Dunkirk, the Gorilla sped to his 150th career victory on stage 2. He beat Timothy Dupont (Wanty-Groupe Gobert); Bryan Coquard (Vital Concept Cycling Club) moves into the race lead.

California dreaming: Gaviria to make US debut

The Amgen Tour of California will be an important moment for Fernando Gaviria, marking his first-ever race on US soil. The young Colombian is one of the best sprinters in cycling and will seek to add to QuickStep Floors’ 11 stage wins in the event.

He has been confirmed, along with neo-pros Kasper Asgreen, Alvaro Hodeg and Jhonatan Narvaez, Laurens De Plus, Iljo Keisse and Maximiliano Richeze.

Gaviria will be up against other rapid sprinters such as Peter Sagan, Mark Cavendish, Caleb Ewan, Alexander Kristoff and Marcel Kittel.

Remembering WW108

On this day seven years ago, Belgian rider Wouter Weylandt was killed when he crashed close to the finish of stage three of the Giro. He was remembered by many on Wednesday, using the WW108 code. It refers to his initials plus his race number in the event.

The Trek-Segafredo team is the current incarnation of Weylandt’s former Leopard-Trek squad, and it posted its own tribute on Wednesday.

Click through here to read a previous feature on Elke Weylandt, Wouter’s sister, who is the team’s communications manager. She gives insights into their relationship and how the family coped with his passing.

Odd One out: Victoria lags behind

Victoria is now the sole Australian state not to have introduced the ‘metre matters’ overtaking law, with New South Wales making permanent its commitment to the regulation. As the Amy Gillett Foundation points out, NSW now joins Queensland, Tasmania and South Australia, Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia with such a law in place. The Northern Territory has committed to introducing a metre matters laws in its recent Towards Zero Action Plan. That leaves Victoria as the only remaining State yet to do so.

See more here.

Moving pictures

A look at two of the sport’s best riders, Pauline Ferrand Prevot and Kasia Niewiadoma.

Happy birthday to…

American rider Evelyn Stevens, who was born on this day in 1983. She is a past winner of the women’s Flèche Wallonne, the Philadelphia Cycling Classic and the Internationale Thüringen Rundfahrt der Frauen.

On this day in… 1915

François Faber died on this day in 1915. The Luxembourger won 19 stages of the Tour de France plus the race overall in 1909. He also won Paris-Roubaix and two editions of Paris-Tours. On May 9, 1915, Faber was fighting for France in the first world war. He received a telegram saying that his wife had given birth to a daughter, but tragically was killed on the same day.

Today’s feature image is from stage 4 of the Giro d’Italia in Sicily, and was taken by Gruber Images.

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