Today’s stage to Valdepenas was all about the finish. There was a break, but the three were taken back in by Katusha with 22.3km remaining. The peloton was being controlled by Katusha setting up the finish for J-Rod and trying to crack Sylvain Chavanel and get Daniel Moreno into Red.
With the 9km Cat.2 Alto de Valdepeñas climb set up just 8 km before the finish, the peloton was getting jittery in the last 20km. Everyone needed a good placing so that their riders didn’t get smashed before the killer finish in Valdepeñas de Jaén with it´s 23-24% ramps into the town centre.
With 10.5km to go, Igor Anton was going out the back of the peloton while David Moncoutie was attacking off the front. Anton, for the second consecutive day looks well off form for the Vuelta which is very surprising since his ambitions were to win, and he may have last year if he didn’t break his arm while wearing the leaders jersey. Moncoutie went over the Alto de Valdepeñas first claiming points and a 34 second advantage for the descent.
As Anton was clinging on the back of the peloton Moncoutie was carrying a 17 second lead into the last 1km which appeared to last all of about 300m as it got off-the-charts steep. Daniel Moreno attacked leading out Joaquim Rodriguez and Nibali tried to follow. Wouter Poels joined in the fight of the bigs and surged past Nibali and Moreno, but J-Rod kicked again and took the line first.
Sylvain Chavanel turned himself inside out to preserve the Red jersey by 9 seconds over Daniel Moreno. Igor Anton got shot out the back again losing 57 seconds on Rodriguez. Tomorrow’s stage is one for the sprinters who get over the 580m Cat.2 climb 20km out without an Echelon forming. There is no Cavendish, so it’s really open for the win! Kittel? Sagan? Boonen? Haussler? Freire? Farrar?
Stage 5 Top Ten
1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)_______4h42’54”
2. Wouter Poels (VacanSoleil)_________+4″
3. Daniel Moreno (Katusha)___________+5″
4. Bauke Mollema (Rabobank)_________+7″
5. Michele Scarponi (Lampre)_________+8″
6. Haimar Zubeldia (Radioshack)
7. Jacob Fuglsang (Leopard)
8. Nicholas Roche (AG2R)
9. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto)
10. Fredrick Kessiakoff (Astana)
Full stage standings: La Vuelta
Overall Classification after Stage 5
1. Sylvain Chavanel (Quickstep)_____18h02’34”
2. Daniel Moreno (Katusha)_________+9″
3. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)_____+23″
4. Jacob Fuglsang (Leopard)________+26″
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas)________+33″
6. Fredrick Kessiakoff (Astana)______+36″
7. Maxime Monfort (Leopard)________+38″
8. Sergio Pardilla (Movistar)________+43″
9. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto)____+44″
10. Marzio Brusheghin (Movistar)____+52″
Full GC standings: La Vuelta