Alexandr Vlasov wins a career-first stage race as Jakobsen takes the final Valenciana stage sprint

Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s lead out back on top form to deliver the Dutch rider to his second win of the week

Alexandr Vlasov (BORA-Hansgrohe celebrates overall victory at the 73rd Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana
(Image credit: Dario Belingheri/Getty Images)

Russian rider Alexandr Vlasov repaid his new Bora-Hansgrohe team-mates with overall victory at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana on Sunday. 

While the sprinters’ teams battled for the stage Vlasov’s team kept the 25-year-old safe at or near the front until handing over to the fast-men’s squads for the final.

The stage was won by Fabio Jakobsen after consummate work from Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, whose lead out functioned perfectly after misfiring in the two previous sprint stages, one of which the Dutchman still managed to win.

The Belgian squad placed themselves close to the front of the peloton for much of the day, though took total control once the day’s breakaway was caught with 13km remaining, never leaving the front despite challenges from other squads.

After losing the overall lead on stage three, Remco Evenepoul took the lead with 2,500m to go, guiding the team into the final kilometre and allowing Michael Mørkøv to take Jakobsen to the 150m mark.

Elia Viviani bagged his best result since returning to Ineos Grenadiers, finishing second, while Alexander Kristoff (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) finished third.

Vlasov’s general classification win came on the back of his dominant stage three victory, the Russian attacking the few remaining challengers on the brutal gravel slopes to Antenas del Maigmó. That success ensured he began Sunday’s final stage with a lead of 32 seconds, which never likely to be overhauled.

Despite being on leadout duties, Evenepoul retained second overall, while Carlos Rodriguez was third, 36 seconds behind the Russian.

How it happened

The 92km route of stage five began in the suburb of Paterna, covering the same route as the earlier women’s one day race, before finishing in Valencia itself. While not completely flat, there was little in the way of serious elevation to prevent a bunch kick as they rode a clockwise loop north and back to the finish in Valencia. 

Add in the wide-open roads on the run into the city and the race was set to be a a third day for the sprinters in this five-stage race.

Riding for his new Bora-Hansgrohe team, Alexandr Vlasov began the day leading the general classification by 32 seconds from stage one winner Remco Evenepoul (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), with Carlos Rodriguez (Ineos Grenadiers) a further four seconds down.

Such a short day might have been designed to create dynamic racing, but with such a flat parcours, the race settled early, with four men heading up the road. However, dead set on a bunch-kick the sprinters' teams kept Gotzon Martin (Euskatel-Euskadi), Jonathan Lastra (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Manuele Boaro and his Astana Qazaqstan team-mate Vincenzo Nibali on a tight leash, the leading quartet’s advantage never exceeding two minutes.

For much of the race’s middle section the leaders were held at around one minute, though as they entered the final 30km that was nearer 30 seconds and the catch seemed inevitable. 

That came with 13km to go, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl taking control on the wide run-in, stringing the peloton into one long line. Despite a series of roundabouts and challenges from other teams, the Belgian squad never ceded control, never leaving the front and delivering Jacobsen perfectly for the final sprint.

Result

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana 2022, stage five: Paterna - Valencia (92km)

1. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Quickstep-Alpha Vinyl in 1-55-49
2. Elia Viviani (ita) INEOS Grenadiers 
3. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert 
4. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
5. Stanisław Aniołkowski (Pol) Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB
6. Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
7. Manuel Peñalver (Esp) Burgos-BH
8. Juan Sebastián Molano (Col) UAE Team Emirates
9. Fernando Barceló (Esp) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
10. Michael Mørkøv (Den) Quickstep-Alpha Vinyl all at same time 

Final general classification 

1. Alexandr Vlasov (Rus) BORA-Hansgrohe in
2. Remco Evenepoul (Bel) Quickstep Alpha Vinyl at 32 sec
3. Carlos Rodriguez (Esp) INEOS Grenadiers at 36 sec 
4. Enric Mas (Esp) Movistar at 50 sec
5. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar at 1-02
6. Jacob Fuglsang (Den) Israel-Premier Tech at 1-05
7. Luis León Sanchez (Esp) Bahrain Victorious at 1-14
8. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 2-00
9. David de la Cruz (Esp) Astana Qazaqstan at 2-28
10. Matej Mohorič (Slo) Bahrain Victorious at 2-54

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Owen Rogers is an experienced journalist, covering professional cycling and specialising in women's road racing. He has followed races such as the Women's Tour and Giro d'Italia Donne, live-tweeting from Women's WorldTour events as well as providing race reports, interviews, analysis and news stories. He has also worked for race teams, to provide post race reports and communications.