Alberto Contador (pictured) claimed the overall lead in the Giro d'Italia after the first mountain stage yesterday, as the race favorites leaped into action on the concluding climb to Abetone.
Jan Polanc, a 23-year-old Slovene with the Lampre team, won the fifth leg.
Polanc got in an early breakaway and attacked on the final climb - 17 kilometres at an average gradient of 5.4 percent. He clocked little more than four hours over the 152km stage across central Italy, which started in La Spezia.
French veteran Sylvain Chavanel, another breakaway member, finished second, 1:31 behind, and Italian title hopeful Fabio Aru crossed third with the same time, with Contador and Richie Porte right behind.
In the overall standings, Contador is two seconds ahead of Aru, with Porte 20 seconds behind in third.
Previous leader Simon Clarke dropped far behind.
A two-time Tour de France champion, Contador won the Giro in 2008 and was also triumphant in 2011 but was stripped of that title for testing positive in the 2010 Tour.