Preston ace Hugh Carthy improves his standing in Giro d’Italia

Hugh Carthy improved his overall position by a place after a dramatic fifth stage of the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday.

The Preston ace – riding for EF Education Nippo – was up to ninth in the general classification, one minute and 38 seconds adrift of overall leader Alessandro De Marchi in the pink jersey.

Caleb Ewan claimed victory on stage five as a crash-strewn finish in Cattolica ended the general classification hopes of Mikel Landa and Pavel Sivakov.

Australian Ewan took his fourth career Giro stage as he came from behind to outsprint Giacomo Nizzolo and Elia Viviani on the line – an 11th career second place in his home Grand Tour for the winless Nizzolo.

Team EF Education rider Hugh Carthy is in action in the Giro d’Italia (photo: Getty Images)

But Bahrain-Victorious’ Landa did not finish the stage and left the race in an ambulance after a heavy crash involving Tuesday’s stage winner Joe Dombrowski on the approach to town, crucially outside the three kilometre marker which would have spared those caught up any time losses.

Israel Start-Up Nation’s De Marchi avoided the spills to retain the pink jersey but called the tight, technical finish to the 177km stage from Modena “a crazy circus”.

“The road was really difficult and technical, even too dangerous in my opinion so in the last 70km there was really a lot of stress and I hope the guys that crashed are fine,” he said.

Team UAE Emirates’ Dombrowski – second overnight – rode in battered and bruised on his 30th birthday, his king of the mountains jersey torn, as he tumbled down the standings, with Louis Vervaeke of Alpecin-Fenix now closest to De Marchi, 42 seconds down.

Sivakov, who had been a potential foil for Egan Bernal for the Ineos Grenadiers, also crossed the line in pain after his own incident 15km from the finish.

It was a dramatic climax to a relatively sedate stage, ridden in sunshine after Tuesday’s wet and cold day finish in the mountains.

The threat of crosswinds did not materialise to leave the sprinters to contest affairs, and it was Ewan who had the class to tick one box in his goal of winning a stage of all three Grand Tours this season.