Cavendish quits Catalonia with flu; Rodriguez confident of overall

Joaquin Rodriguez, Tour of Catalonia 2010, stage five

Malacarne takes the stage win

The stage itself was won by Davide Malacarne (Quick Step), the only survivor of a day-long break. A former junior Cyclo-Cross World Champion, it is the first win of the Italian's career.

Overall classification after stage five

1. Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha in 18-38-57

2. Xavier Tondo (Spa) Cervelo at 10secs

3. Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis at 43secs

4. Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne at 45secs

5. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2r La Mondiale at 1-20

6. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Transitions

7. Michel Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Transitions at 1-21

8. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas-Doimo at 1-22

9. Janez Brajkovic (Slo) RadioShack at 1-25

10. Remy Di Gregorio (Fra) Francaise des Jeux at 1-26


Tour of Catalonia 2010, stage five

1. Davide Malacarne (Ita) Quick Step in 4-50-03

2. Andreas Kloden (Ger) RadioShack at 36secs

3. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne at 37secs

4. Michel Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Transitions

5. Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis

6. Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana at 40secs

7. Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha

8. Frank Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank

9. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Transitions

10. Eros Capecchi (Ita) Footon-Servetto at same time

David Malacarne wins stage, Tour of Catalonia 2010, stage five

Meanwhile in a dramatic last half hour's racing, Rodriguez explained "Luisle [Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne), previously fourth overall at 48 seconds] attacked hard with about 20 kilometres to go."

Sanchez tried again on the last climb, but he was unable to gain more than three seconds on the rest of the main pack of some 30 chasers.

"I wasn't feeling too great, in fact I almost cracked completely and it was extremely hard to catch him again."

"It's almost done," Rodriguez claimed later, "tomorrow has a third cat climb in Montjuich close to the finish but I should be able to handle that, and Sunday's stage is flat."

"Provided nothing crazy happens, I should be ok."


Related links

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Stage three: Tondo take stage, Rodriguez moves into lead

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A moment's inattention on the day's final major descent all but cost Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) the overall lead on stage five of the Tour of Catalonia. On a tough stage with barely a metre of flat, Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) abandoned after 80 kilometres racing.

HTC-Columbia confirmed that Cavendish was suffering with 'flu-like symptoms and had taken the decision to withdraw from the race. The Manxman won stage two on Tuesday - his first victory of the season after severe tooth problems had played havoc with his training.

Rodriguez formed a working alliance with fellow-Catalan Xavier Tondo, second overall, to bring back their most dangerous rival on GC. It was a tough struggle, but they finally succeeded at the foot of the steep last 400 metre climb into the tiny village of Cabaces.

Rodriguez was visibly relieved afterwards to have kept Sanchez's rebellion under control, and with two relatively easy stages left, he is in a good position to win.