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Giro d’Italia: Cofidis’ Benjamin Thomas wins stage five as Tadej Pogacar retains lead

France’s Benjamin Thomas took a surprise victory in Lucca on stage five of the Giro d’Italia as Tadej Pogacar retained his overall lead.

Thomas, along with Enzo Paleni, Andrea Pietrobon and Michael Valgren, separated midway through the 178km stage and managed to stay ahead of the chasing peloton until the end.

Pietrobon was the first to attack in the final kilometre but the Italian began to fade, which allowed Cofidis rider Thomas to execute a well-timed sprint finish and seal the win.

Denmark’s Valgren was second, with Pietrobon having to settle for third place.

Two-time Tour de France champion Pogacar remains 46 seconds ahead of Britain’s Geraint Thomas in the overall standings.

After securing his maiden Grand Tour stage win – and Cofidis’ first victory of the season – Benjamin Thomas joked that Wednesday’s Genova to Lucca test had been “like a long, long, long team pursuit”.

The 28-year-old added: “We did an amazing break and I don’t believe it.

“It was really hard in the finale, every pull was full gas. Its unbelievable.”

Paleni of France was fourth and points classification leader Jonathan Milan of Italy guided the peloton home in fifth place.

Stage six on Thursday takes place across 180km from Torre del Lago Puccini to Rapolano Terme.

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