Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) won the sprint from a seven-man breakaway group to win the final stage of the 2017 Ruta del Sol, as Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) sealed the overall.
Wellens beat Simon Clarke (Cannondale-Drapac) and Victor Campenaerts (LottoNL-Jumbo) in the final push for the line, making a powerful effort to claim the victory on a blustery and wet day in southern Spain.
Valverde safely finished behind in the peloton, with his nearest rival Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) finishing on the same time and unable to over turn the one second deficit he came into the final stage with.
The day’s break got away early on, with Marco Minnaard (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Garikoitz Bravo (Euskadi), Maciej Paterski (CCC), Nick Van Der Lijke (Roompot) and Domen Novak (Bahrain Merida) joining Wellens, Clarke and Campenaerts.
They established a gap of over four minutes within the first 20km, and the lack of sprinter teams at the race meant there was no-one to take up a chase in earnest, with Valverde’s Movistar team happy to let the break go and give themselves and easy day.
The eight riders worked well together and had over a minute as they reached the final 4km. By this time, Bravo had been shelled after failing to keep the pace and as the remaining seven reached 2.5km to go, they all began to look at each other.
After several dummy moves, it was Wellens that launched his move first with 300m to go. Despite the early effort, the Belgian was able to hold off Clarke with a powerful effort, adding a third win to his tally in 2017 after winning two days of the Challenge Mallorca.
Valverde safely rolled in amongst the bunch behind, adding a fifth Ruta del Sol to his palmarès after victories in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016.
Ruta del Sol stage five, Setenil de las Bodegas (Cádiz) – Coín (Málaga), (151.5k)
1. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal, in 3-58-31
2. Simon Clarke (Aus) Cannondale-Drapac
3. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
4. Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
5. Domen Novak (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
6. Nick Van Der Lijke (Ned) Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij all same time
7. Marco Minnaard (Ned) Wanty – Groupe Gobert, at 1-34
8. Hector Saez (Esp) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, at 1-45
9. Ivan Garcia (Esp) Bahrain-Merida
10. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits, all same time
Final general classification
1. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, in 17-12-33
2. Alberto Contador (Esp) Trek-Segafredo, at 1 sec
3. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ, at 6 secs
4. Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky, at 21 secs
5. Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Sky, at 45 secs
6. Mikel Landa (Esp) Team Sky, at 48 secs
7. Sebastien Reichenbach (Sui) FDJ, at 52 secs
8. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac, at 1-29
9. Ondrej Cink (Cze) Bahrain-Merida, at 1-48
10. Javier Moreno (Esp) Bahrain-Merida, at 1-50