Italian Enrico Battaglin launched a late attack to win the 153-kilometre fifth stage of the Giro d'Italia from Agrigento to Santa Ninfa.

The LottoNL-Jumbo rider, who finished third in stage four on Tuesday, attacked on the last metres of the uphill finale and crossed the finish line ahead of compatriot Giovanni Visconti and Portugal's Jose Goncalves.

Ireland's Nicolas Roche finished as part of the main group in the same time as Battaglin, crossing the line in 4:06:33.

Ryan Mullen was back in 102nd, 5:46 off the leaders but had been part of a four man breakaway group that headed the race for a long time before they were reined in with 20k to go.

Meanwhile Sam Bennett struggled throughout the day and lost finished 10:04 off the pace back in 168th.

It was 28-year-old Battaglin's third stage win at the Giro d'Italia.

Australian Rohan Dennis managed to weather the storm to hold on to the pink jersey in Sicily ahead of Thursday's mountain stage to Mount Etna.

Roche remains in touch at the top, 1:32 off Dennis in 32nd, while Bennett sits just inside the top 100, 11:48 off the pace.

The day's racing was marred by an accident that has left a motorcyclist in a critical condition.

The incident took place shortly before the race began on Wednesday with reports in Italy stating that a car drove through a roadblock in place to enable riders to progress pass through Agrigento.

A helicopter airlifted the stricken motorcyclist, who was working at the Giro d'Italia, to a nearby hospital while the driver was arrested as the start to the race was delayed by 15 minutes.