When the mountains stop in the Giro, they really do stop, like that, so after yesterday's mountains, today we reached the grand maximum height of 8 metres above sea level for the118 km run from Polesella to Molinella (although Liza Racchetto tweeted this morning that there had been a change to extend that to 130km), around the plains outside the ancient town of Ferrara. Yesterday must have been a tough day for Orica's Tiff Cromwell as she came to the finish line in Montecatini Alto in a pretty respectable 15th position, just 6 minutes behind Marianne Vos. Surely that's enough to earn yourself a quiet day in the pack, you might think. And it looked like she was thinking that way too, unless it was all part of a cunning double bluff, for before the race she suggested:
Stage 5 @girodonne ... pancake flat, one for the sprinters today.— Tiffany Jane (@tiffanycromwell) July 3, 2012
But then after just 23km of racing she slipped off the front by herself, and from then on her lead just sort of grew and grew and grew, until 70km later she had overcome her 12'29" deficit and was virtual Maglia Rosa. That news perked up the peloton a little, but by then it was too late to do anything about the stage, and scarcely enough time to keep her from the jersey. Or maybe just scarcely enough enthusiasm. Giorgia Bronzini and Valentina Scandolara led the bunch sprint for second place and a few crumbs of Italian pride eight and a half minutes back, keeping and Italian rather than Australian majority on the podium by bumping Chloe Hosking down to fourth.
Twitter user @velowijf is at the finish line and has posted a couple of shots of Tiff crossing the line, and (just in case you thought that Rolf Harris was a bit of a caricature) coming down from the podium with her inflatable Skippy.
Wasn't it just yesterday that someone was wondering how many households there were where both flatmates had their own properly won pink jersey - and we nearly managed to see it twice in three days. Either Pigeons or I will be back later this evening with a fuller report, but if you find anything you want to share before, please add it in the comments.