What We’re Asking Ourselves After Stage 5 of the Giro: Did That Just Happen?

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Stage 5 of the Giro: Did That Just Happen?LUCA BETTINI - Getty Images

Even when he’s trying to avoid the limelight for a few stages, Remco Evenepoel seems to find his way into it during this Giro d’Italia.

But this time, it’s due to a stray dog running onto a rain-soaked course during today’s fifth stage between Atripalda and Salerno, causing Evenepoel and others to hit the slick tarmac.

The crash happened early in the day, with 152 kilometers still left in the stage, after a dog darted into the road as the peloton was bearing down on it.

Evenepoel’s teammate, Davide Ballerini, was the first to go down courtesy of the stray, taking a few other riders with him. After the crash, Evenepoel quickly moved to the far right of the road and sat stunned for a few moments while his team car rushed him a new bike.

Once back in the saddle, it only took the world champion about four kilometers to rejoin the peloton. He was helped along by a few teammates and even shot a thumbs up to television cameras, signaling to everyone that he was okay.

But, some hundred-and-forty kilometers later, Evenepoel hit the deck again when he got tied up in a crash nearing the finish. It had no impact on his overall standings, however, as the crash happened within the 3km to go range, after which all riders receive the same time. It was one of three crashes to strike the peloton in the final seven kilometers of the stage.

Mark Cavendish was another of the race’s superstars who was caught up in the wild ending of the day, as he crashed trying to put a final sprint on in hopes of a stage win. Cav slid across the line in fifth place.

Meanwhile, Alpecin-Deceuninck’s Kaden Groves won the stage in a more-chaotic-than-usual bunch sprint.

After looking virtually unstoppable in the earliest days of the race, the pre-Giro favorite Evenepoel has quickly come back down to Earth over the last two stages.

Yesterday, in a planned move to relinquish the maglia rosa, Evenepoel conceded the overall lead to Team DSM rider Andreas Leknessund. However, his stage was less than ideal and may have given his GC rivals some insight on how to beat him, as his Soudal-Quick-Step team spent most of the day in disarray, eventually leaving Evenepoel alone on the day’s final climb.

And now, after suffering a pair of crashes, we are reminded that the Giro d’Italia, like all Grand Tours, is a long, long race where absolutely anything can happen.

Including, apparently, dogs.

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