Jan Polanc (Lampre-Merida) soloed to victory in Abetone as Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) claimed the race lead on stage five of the 2015 Giro d’Italia.
Polanc attacked from the day’s break to earn Italy’s only WorldTour team a major victory in their home Grand Tour, while Contador, Fabio Aru (Astana) and Richie Porte (Team Sky) put time into their GC rivals.
Contador’s fourth place was enough to take the maglia rosa from Simon Clarke, who was dropped with five kilometres to go.
Polanc, meanwhile, was one of five riders to go clear earlier in the day, with Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling), Sylvan Dillier (BMC Racing), Axel Domont (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Serghei Tvetcov (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec).
It had taken some time for the break to stick, but after the large numbers who went clear on stage four the small group was given plenty of licence to build a lead.
Alessandro Malaguti (Nippo-Vini Fantini) tried to bridge but could make the junction, and so Astana, Tinkoff-Saxo and Orica-GreenEDGE led the chase.
With little drama in the peloton – Contador required a bike change, but with plenty of time to chase back on – the race was much more sedate than the previous day had been.
When the climb approached, both the leaders and the peloton were quickly shredded, however.
Chavanel dropped the hammer in the front group, but his two attempts at attacking were marked before Polanc opened up a small lead.
In the peloton, Astana did the attacking – Diego Rosa attacking, which Ivan Basso (Tinkoff-Saxo) brought back, before Mikel Landa also accelerated.
That power put paid to Simon Clarke’s hopes – the maglia rosa dropped with five kilometres remaining after a spirited defence of his race lead.
Contador burst off the front of the bunch moments later, with Aru and Porte chasing hard as the GC men exchanged blows for the first time.
All three men stared the others down and launched short-lived attacks but they were still together when Aru’s team-mate Landa bridged across.
Johan Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEDGE) had tried to bridge across too, but both he and Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-QuickStep) found themselves stuck in the chasing group.
Polanc, meanwhile, pressed on alone at the front – his unstoppable attack earning the biggest win of his career.
Chavanel held on to take second, while Landa rode into the wind on the front of the GC men’s group.
With a time bonus available for third place, Aru attacked with 300m to go and outsprinted Contador and Porte to take it but the race lead now belongs to the Spaniard, with Aru two seconds back and Porte 20 seconds in arrears.
Giro d’Italia 2015: stage five – result
1) Jan Polanc (SVN) – Lampre-Merida – 4.09.18hrs
2) Sylvain Chavanel (FRA) – IAM Cycling +1.31
3) Fabio Aru (ITA) – Astana – ST
4) Alberto Contador (ESP) – Tinkoff-Saxo
5) Richie Porte (AUS) – Team Sky
6) Mikel Landa (ESP) – Astana +1.44
7) Dario Cataldo (ITA) – Astana +1.53
8) Yury Trofimov (RUS) – Katusha – ST
9) Damiano Caruso (ITA) – BMC Racing
10) Darwin Atapuma (COL) – BMC Racing
1) Alberto Contador (ESP) – Tinkoff-Saxo – 16.05.54hrs
2) Fabio Aru (ITA) – Atstana +2”
3) Richie Porte (AUS) – Team Sky +20”
4) Roman Kreuziger (CZE) – Tinkoff-Saxo +22″
5) Dario Cataldo (ITA) – Astana +28″
6) Johan Esteban Chaves (COL) – Orica-GreenEDGE +37″
7) Giovanni Visconti (ITA) – Movistar +56″
8) Mikel Landa (ESP) – Astana +1.01
9) Davide Formolo (ITA) – Cannondale-Garmin +1.15
10) Andrey Amador (CRC) – Movistar +1.18