Juan José Lobato (Movistar) won the bunch sprint which, although uphill, was neither steep nor long enough to encourage Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) to attack and make up the two seconds needed to take victory away from Froome.
The result marks a winning start to the season for the Sky rider, and is also the first time he has got the better of his Spanish rival in an overall classification since the 2013 Tour de France.
The GC also makes good reading for the rest of Team Sky, with Mikel Nieve finishing fourth, Peter Kennaugh seventh and Kanstanstin Siutsou tenth. Splits at the end had meant that Nieve lost some time by fishing behind the lead group, but not enough to see him fall down the classification.
In the sprint for the stage win, Lobato’s burst was so strong that he managed to open a gap over runner-up John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) of one second, while third place Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling) finished a further second behind in third place.
Shortly beforehand it looked as though the race would not even come down to a sprint, after Edward Theuns (Topsport Vlaandaren) had taken everyone by surprise by launching an attack as the road ramped up with one kilometre to go. His team had set-up the attack impressively by leading the bunch in the run-in to the finish, but the ploy didn’t quite work out as Lobato came charging past him in the final few hundred metres.
The break of the day consisted of Johnny Hoogerland (Roompot), Merhawi Kudus (MTN-Qhubeka) and Maciej Paterski (CCC-Sprandi-Polkowice). The trio lacked cohesion, eventually prompting Paterski to break clear alone, before he was finally caught with around five kilometres to go.
Ruta del Sol 2015, stage five
1 Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Movistar in 03-48-56
2 John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Alpecin at 0-01
3 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling at 0-02
4 Grega Bole (Slo) CCC Sprandi-Polkowice
5 Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto-Soudal
6 Christopher Froome (Gbr) Team Sky
7 Jan Bakelants (Bel) Ag2r-La Mondiale
8 Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff-Saxo
9 Nicholas Edet (Fra) Cofidis
10 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert all st
Final overall classification
1. Christopher Froome (Gbr) Team Sky, in 17-32-16
2. Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff-Saxo, at 2 seconds
3. Beñat Intxausti (Esp) Movistar, at 2-38
4. Mikel Nieve (Esp) Team Sky, at 3-05
5. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, at 3-13