Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) made a solo break in the closing kilometres of stage five of the Volta a Catalunya to take the glory on the day, while Richie Porte (Team Sky) moved into the leader’s jersey after finishing five seconds behind.
Cross-winds wreaked havoc on the riders on a mainly flat day into Valls, with race leader Bart de Clercq (Lotto-Soudal) getting caught out and losing time, but the decisive moves of the race played out on the category two Alt de Lilla climb and its descent, shortly before the finish.
Valverde was the first to make an attack up the climb, which was quickly responded to by Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo). The two quickly grew, with Porte making the bridge, as well as Fabio Aru (Astana), Domenico Pozzovio (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Rigoberto Uran (Etixx – Quick-Step).
Daniel Martin (Cannondale-Garmin), who was fourth on GC at the beginning of the day, quickly found himself over a minute back of the lead group along with other hopeful, Wilco Kelderman (LottoNL-Jumbo).
The lead group summited the final climb together and began the descent towards the finish, where Valverde was soon able to put distance between himself and his rivals.
A response wasn’t forthcoming from those behind and Valverde was able to put a sufficient gap between him and the chasers as he battled along the technical, flat section to the finish. Uran lead the chase, but was only able to close within five seconds of the stage winner.
Porte now leads the WorldTour race with five seconds over Pozzovivo and 16 seconds over Alberto Contador, with two stages to go.
Volta a Catalunya stage five (195.4km), Alp – Valls:
1. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar,
2. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx – Quick-Step, at 5 seconds
3. Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana, st
4. Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky, st
5. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana, st
6. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale, st
7. Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff-Saxo, st
8. David Lopez (Esp) Team Sky, at 12 seconds
9. John Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC, at 15 seconds
10. Tejay van Gerderen (USA) BMC, at 22 seconds
1. Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky, in 22-58-20
2. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale, at 5 seconds
3. Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff-Saxo, at 7 seconds
4. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, at 16 seconds
5. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx – Quick-Step, at 18 seconds
6. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana, at 27 seconds
7. John Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC, at 43 seconds
8. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo, at 1-09 seconds
9. Rafael Valls (Esp) Lampre-Merida, at 1-13 seconds
10. Daniel Martin (Ire) Cannondale-Garmin, at 1-35