Bob Jungels is congraulated after retaining the pink jersey. Picture: AFP
Bob Jungels is congraulated after retaining the pink jersey. Picture: AFP

Messina — Luxembourg’s Bob Jungels kept Britain’s Geraint Thomas at bay to retain the Giro d’Italia pink jersey on Wednesday after a "crazy" fifth stage that ended in two riders lifting their arms in triumph at the finish.

Jungels, who took the race lead from Quick Step teammate Fernando Gaviria after a fourth-stage finish on Mount Etna, maintained his six-second advantage on Thomas.

But at the conclusion of an undulating ride from the foot of Mount Etna to Messina, the crowd were given some unexpected entertainment.

Gaviria, making his Giro and Grand Tour debut, outfoxed Irish sprinter Sam Bennett after emerging from the Bora rider’s back wheel in the final 200m of a long and wind-hit home straight to claim his second victory after breaking his Giro duck on stage three.

In doing so, the 22-year-old became only the second rider this century, after former champion Damiano Cunego, to claim two stages on the race before his 23rd birthday.

Minutes earlier, Gaviria’s thunder was stolen by Luka Pibernik, who races for the Bahrain team of defending Giro champion Vincenzo Nibali.

As the peloton raced towards the finish line for the first time, signalling the start of a final, 6km closing circuit, Pibernik launched a solo attack that held all the way to the finish line, where he sat up and spread his arms in victory.

But he was celebrating alone. As thousands of puzzled fans looked on, Pibernik quickly realised his embarrassing gaffe before being swallowed up by the peloton as they began the final circuit.

As the sprinters’ teams battled to move their stage contenders to the front, Jungels remained alert to late attacks from his pink-jersey rivals.

SA’s Ryan Gibbons of Team Dimension Data came in seventh with teammate Kristian Sbaragli of Italy sixth. Both were given the same time as stage winner Gaviria.

AFP

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