Overall rivals battle it out on the climb to Lo Port as Alejandro Valverde takes his second stage win to claim the overall race lead

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) took his second stage victory in the 2017 Volta a Catalunya on Friday after engaging in a climbing battle with overall rivals Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo).

The three Grand Tour stars were part of a select lead group on the steep final climb of Lo Port. Valverde was evidently the stronger of the trio, having benefitted from the work of team-mate and young rider classification leader Marc Soler.

Valverde attacked on the hairpin-strewn final section to distance Froome and Contador and put himself into the overall race lead. Froome came in for second, with Contador in third, both at 13 seconds. Adam Yates (Orica-Scott) came home for fifth.

Alejandro Valverde attacks on stage five of the 2017 Volta a Catalunya. Photo: Yuzuru Sunada

Froome’s Sky team-mate Geraint Thomas missed the crucial move and finished in 14th place to slip from third to seventh overall. It will be something of a blow to Thomas, who is preparing to lead Team Sky at the Giro d’Italia in May.

Two notable performances behind the more established climbers were that of 20-year-old Frenchman David Gaudu (FDJ) and 22-year-old British rider Hugh Carthy (Cannondale-Drapac). Gaudu finished the stage in seventh, 58 seconds down on Valverde, with Carthy eighth at 1-04.

>>> Hugh Carthy aiming for Giro d’Italia start with Cannondale-Drapac

Race leader at the start of the day, Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) faded in the final climb to finish in 22nd place, and nearly two minutes down on the lead trio to relinquish his position at the top of the general classification, and slip to sixth.

Alberto Contador leads Chris Froome on stage five of the 2017 Volta a Catalunya. Photo: Yuzuru Sunada

Valverde now leads Froome by 21 seconds overall, with Contador in third at 47 seconds.

The 36-year-old Spaniard’s position at the top of the GC represents a remarkable comeback after the Movistar squad were all handed a one-minute time penalty after winning stage one’s team time trial. José Joaquin Rojas gave a team-mate a shove during the stage, which is against race rules.

Since then, Movistar have rallied together, with Valverde first taking the win on stage three and now on the race’s key climbing stage.

Just two stages remain in the 2017 Volta a Catalunya, with more mountains on the menu for Saturday’s stage from Tortosa to Reus. Then Sunday’s finale around Barcelona serves up a tricky stage with eight ascents of the Alt de Montjuic in the last half.

Results

Volta a Catalunya 2017, stage five: Valls to Lo Port, 182km
1. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar
2. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky, at 13 secs
3. Alberto Contador (Esp) Trek-Segafredo, at same time
4. Marc Soler (Esp) Movistar, at 25 secs
5. Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott, at 32 secs
6. Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors, at 46 secs
7. David Gaudu (Fra) FDJ, at 58 secs
8. Hugh Carthy (GBr) Cannondale-Drapac, at 1-04
9. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana, at 1-11
10. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo, at same time

General classification after stage five
1. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar
2. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky, at 21 secs
3. Alberto Contador (Esp) Trek-Segafredo, at 47 secs
4. Marc Soler (Esp) Movistar, at 1-00
5. Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott, at 1-15
6. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing, at 1-18
7. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky, at 1-34
8. Samuel Sanchez (Esp) BMC Racing, at 1-59
9. Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors, at 2-13
10. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo, at 2-40

Volta a Catalunya 2017 stage five profile