Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) outsprinted Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) to grab victory on stage five of the Volta a Catalunya, and extend his lead in the overall standings.
On the steep summit finish of Lo Port, Evenepoel looked to have the win wrapped up with the line in sight. The world champion unleashed a powerful final sprint, although Roglič was onto him and capitalised as the Belgian faded.
As the steep final climb began, Soudal Quick-Step led the peloton with Jan Hirt setting a relentless pace preparing to set Evenepoel up. Suddenly, the Belgian launched a stinging move which only Roglič and Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates) could follow. Soler’s teammate Joao Almeida bridged across to the trio, and appeared to be the strongest as the tough gradients began to take their toll.
With under a kilometre to go, Almeida launched a move with the line in sight, but Evenepoel was able to follow. The Belgian sprinted over the top of Almeida, although he soon began to fade. Roglič then capitalised on a fatigued Evenepoel to pass him and take the win on the line.
HOW IT HAPPENED
After a day of respite which was dominated by the sprinters, it was back into the high mountains for a summit finish on the brutal Lo Port climb.
Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) were expected to contest the stage, with Evenepoel looking to nudge ahead of the Slovenian in the overall standings. After his stage three win on La Molina, the duo were tied on overall time, with Roglič ahead due to bonus seconds.
When the flag dropped a group of six got up the road, looking to build a solid advantage before the climbing began in the latter half of the stage. Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) and Guillame Martin (Cofidis) were briefly involved, although they were unable to keep tabs on their breakaway compatriots, and were soon back in the main field. The six leaders were Ibai Azurmendi (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Equipo Kern Pharma trio Pablo Castrillo, José Félix Parra and Héctor Carretero, Julen Amezqueta (Caja Rural) and Tsgabu Grmay (Jayco AIUla).
With 24 kilometres to go, Soudal Quick-Step were dominating the front of the peloton, looking to ensure that Evenepoel was perfectly placed at the foot of Lo Port. Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) was buzzing around the front of the bunch, with an eye to potentially testing his legs once the tougher gradients arrived. The breakaway had two minutes exactly on the peloton when the riders passed through an intermediate sprint point before they began the final climb.
At 11 kilometres to go, the breakaway was beginning to tire. Castrillo was soon dropped, and was rapidly swallowed up by the peloton. Jumbo-Visma, Soudal Quick-Step and AG2R Citroën were jostling for position, looking to up the tempo as the steep gradients began to bite. The breakaway had their advantage cut by a minute as the big hitters started to show their faces.
As the leaders dipped under 7 kilometres to go, Grmay took flight in a last ditch attempt to go for the stage win. Suddenly, a huge lift in tempo at the front of the peloton instigated by Gino Mäder of Bahrain Victorious led to the remnants of the breakaway being swallowed up. Jan Hirt (Soudal Quick-Step) took over and sent a relentless pace looking to shred the remnants of the main field.
Once Hirt could pull no further, Evenepoel took flight with a big attack that once again took Roglič with him. Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates) was the only other rider able to follow. As the trio hesitated, João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) launched a huge move, looking to bridge across to the leaders. With the stage win on the line, Evenepoel kicked again but Roglič and the UAE duo were straight on to him.
As the four leaders snaked through the hairpins, they were still firmly locked together. With the line in sight, Almeida unleashed a powerful sprint looking to outfox the two favourites, but Evenepoel latched onto the Portuguese rider and soon passed him.
After his early work further down the mountain, Evenepoel began to fade and Roglič soon capitalised. The Slovenian kicked past Evenepoel, and crossed the line to take another stage win and increase his advantage in the overall standings.
RESULTS VOLTA A CATALUNYA 2023, STAGE FIVE: TORTOSA - LO PORT (178.6 km)
1. Primož Roglič (SLO) Jumbo-Visma, in 04:27:41
2. Remco Evenepoel (BEL) Soudal Quick-Step, at 6s
3. Joao Almeida (POR) UAE Team Emirates, at 12s
4. Marc Soler (SPA) UAE Team Emirates, at 28s
5. Rigoberto Uran (COL) EF Education-EasyPost, at 44s
6. Lenny Martinez (FRA) Groupama-FDJ, at 47s
7. Mikel Landa (SPA) Bahrain Victorious, at 56s
8. Michael Woods (CAN) Israel-Premier Tech, at same time
9. Jai Hindley (AUS) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 1:04
10. Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bel) Bora Hansgrohe, at 1:15
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE FIVE
1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, in 21-29-25
2. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step, at 10s
3. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates, at 1:02
4. Mikel Landa (Spa) Bahrain Victorious, at 1:50
5. Marc Soler (SPA) UAE Team Emirates, at same time
6. Michael Woods (CAN) Israel-Premier Tech at 1:54
7. Giulio Ciccone (ITA) Trek-Segafredo, at 1:57
8. Jai Hindley (AUS) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 2:02
9. Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bel) Bora Hansgrohe, at 2:23
10. Rigoberto Uran (COL) EF Education-EasyPost, at 2:24
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