Arnaud Demare sprinted to his first career victory at the Giro d'Italia after a dramatic crash involving Pascal Ackermann at the finish of stage 10.
Ackermann, holder of the points jersey, was left battered and bruised after he was involved in a significant accident involving multiple riders at the front of the peloton inside the final kilometre, with the German unable to contest the sprint.
As the finish unfolded from there, Demare surged through on the left to beat Elia Viviani, Rudiger Selig and Caleb Ewan for his first win in this year's race.
Ackermann slowly made his way to the finish line with a group of team-mates as Demare celebrated.
The flat 145-kilometre stage from Ravenna to Modena, which came after a rest day, was the penultimate chance for sprinters prior to the mountain stages.
Groupama – FDJ's Demare, 27, also has two Tour de France stage victories to his name, making this his third Grand Tour triumph. He has closed the gap to Ackermann in the points standings to just one.
A frustrated Viviani had to settle for second place for the third time in the race.
After the breakaway of Luca Covili and Sho Hatsuyama was caught with 30km to go, shortly after a crash for Enrico Battaglin, the peloton was largely in control aside from a solo attack from Fran Ventoso with 2.5km, which the sprinting teams were able to haul in.
There was no change at the top of the GC standings, with Valerio Conti retaining a lead of one minute and 50 seconds from Primoz Roglic.
Everything in 1 km! Watch now the arrival of #Giro 102 Stage 10 | Tutto in un chilometro! L'arrivo della tappa 10 del #Giro 102 | Tout en 1 km ! L'arrivée de la 10e étape du #Giro 102 | ¡Todo en un kilómetro! La llegada de la etapa 10 del #Giro 102 pic.twitter.com/oy2blictCK— Giro d'Italia (@giroditalia) May 21, 2019
DEMARE DELIGHTED TO MAKE BREAKTHROUGH
He had to wait until the 10th stage to taste victory, but it was worth it for Demare.
"We came to the Giro for this," he said after the win. "I really wanted a stage win and I got it. I avoided the crash because we, as a team, were very well positioned. I'm super happy."
Conti, meanwhile, was relieved to stay out of the way amid the chaotic crash as he retained the pink jersey.
"I hope nothing bad happened to my team mate Simone Consonni in the crash," he said. "I have been well protected by my team the whole day. I thank them for giving me one more day in the Maglia Rosa."
1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama - FDJ) - 3:36:07
2. Elia Viviani (Deceuninck - Quick Step) + same time
3. Rudiger Selig (Bora - Hansgrohe) + "
4. Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) + "
5. Giacomo Nizzolo (Team Dimension Data) + "
1. Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates) 39:44:39
2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) + 1:50
3. Nans Peters (AG2R La Mondiale) + 2:21
1. Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) 155
2. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 154
3. Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) 109
King of the Mountains
1. Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) 32
2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 22
3. Fausto Masnada (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) 18
Wednesday's stage 11 from Carpi to Novi Ligure is another flat day. The 221km course will likely be the sprinters' last opportunity for a stage win until the final week of the race, and some of the quicks will be expected to drop out after the finish.