Pascal Ackerman took a photo finish win from a bunch sprint on stage 11 of the Giro d'Italia after a day were crashes had caused more GC drama.
Stage 11 of the Giro d'Italia, finishing in the western city of Tortona was expected to be one suited to the sprinters before the arrival to the Alps, although it does feature a couple of small ascents. After the breakaway was successful yesterday however a group of six riders went clear hoping for a similar result.
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The longest stage of this year's Giro there were early warning signs for stage 5 winner Kaden Groves who was worryingly out the back of the peloton with over 140km still to go.
The peloton was adamant that the breakaway would not succeed again though, holding the gap at around two to two and a half minutes.
As the wet weather began to take effect yet again. A slippery descent caused utter chaos. Firstly a crash involving the entirety of the podium saw Geraint Thomas, Primoz Roglic and Tao Geoghegan Hart all hit the deck. Whilst Thomas and Roglic were able to remount quickly, Geoghegan Hart was sadly forced to leave the race in an ambulance.
Moments later Movistar Team rider Oscar Rodriguez lost control on the same descent and ended up crashing into the side of a house.
This edition of the Giro d'Italia really is turning into more about who will be the last man standing. As the race calmed down slightly the breakaway still had 1:01 with 45km to go.
At the top of the final categorised climb of the day, Team Jayco AlUla took to the front of the peloton, upped the pace and ripped apart the peloton dropping numerous of the fast men and simultaneously halving the time gap to the break.
The last thing the GC teams wanted was an upping of the pace on another potentially dangerous descent. Thankfully though there were no further incidents.
With 20km to go Laurenz Rex was in front on his own some 25 seconds ahead of the bunch.
Sadly for the 23-year-old Belgian, despite a tremendous effort, Rex was swallowed up by the peloton with 5km to go.
Attention then turned to a bunch sprint finish. With most if not all of the sprinters having rejoined the peloton after Jayco AlUla's earlier acceleration, there were plenty of sprint trains battling for position at the front of the race.
A late crash caused some damage in the peloton but thankfully for the GC riders, it was within the last 3km.
In the final sprint, Mark Cavendish lead it out and seemed certain of victory but as Pascal Ackerman came up on one side Jonathan Milan came on the other. The finish was so tight both riders celebrated thinking they had won. After a photo finish Ackerman was the man adjudged to have been the winner.
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