VUELTA’18 Stage 5: Clarke And Molard Take The Honors!

Stage Report: In a slow-motion sprint at the end of stage 5, EF Education First-Drapac’s Simon Clarke took the victory from his breakaway companions, Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) and Alessandro De Marchi (BMC). Just behind them; Groupama-FDJ’s Rudy Molard finished with enough time to take the overall lead by a minute from Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky).

A hilly 188.7 kilometers favored the attackers on the route to Roquetas de Mar with Simon Clarke (EF Education-Fisrt Drapac) claiming stage 5 as Rudy Molard took the red jersey. This is the first time a rider from the French team has led La Vuelta overall since Bradley McGee in 2005.

Stage 5 from Granada to Roquetas de Mar:
Few cities in the world can compete with the cultural wealth found in Granada, home to vast Arab, Jewish and Catholic populations over the years. These have left an indelible mark that is still palpable in the Jewish Quarter of El Realejo, the cathedral and, of course, the Alhambra, which was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List over 30 years ago. The last time Granada hosted a stage departure, the riders headed towards the Pandera Mountain Range. Leisure and good weather – Two of the identifying traits of Roquetas del Mar, a city whose life revolves around its beaches and the numerous tourists that visit them. Its streets will receive the peloton with a probable mass sprint to the finish-line that will allow sprinters to put their names next to that of Mario Cipollini who won the only La Vuelta stage to have ever finished in this Almeria locality.


World champion, Peter Sagan, always popular with the fans at the start

Most riders at the start hinted stage 5 should be a day for a breakaway, leading to an extremely hard battle to get off the front of the peloton. Almost 48 kilometers were covered in the first hour and still no attacker had managed to stay away.


European champion, Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) made it into the early break

The break of the day finally got away after 62 kilometers, after the Alto de Orgiva, and featured no less than 25 strong riders: Hermann Pernsteiner, Franco Pellizotti (Bahrain-Merida), Alexandre Geniez (AG2R-La Mondiale), Davide Villella (Astana), Alessandro De Marchi, Brent Bookwalter (BMC), Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe), Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ), Maxime Monfort (Lotto Soudal), Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott), Andrey Amador (Movistar), Merhawi Kudus (Dimension Data), Simon Clarke (EF Education First-Drapac), Maurits Lammertink and Pavel Kochetkov (Katusha-Alpecin), Floris De Tier and Sepp Kuss (LottoNL-Jumbo), Jai Hindley (Sunweb), Bauke Mollema and Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo), Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates), José Mendes (Burgos-BH), Jonathan Lastra (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Stéphane Rossetto (Cofidis) and Mikel Iturria (Euskadi-Murias).


Sky were left to do the chase work for Michal Kwiatkowski



Elia Viviani’s Quick-Step Floors and Michal Kwiatkowski’s Team Sky were the only teams without a rider in the front group, but the Italian’s teammates didn’t want to chase. The gap steadily increased, up to 6 minutes after 100 kilometers.


Simon Clarke wanted the win

Alessandro De Marchi went with Stéphane Rossetto in the final 90km, dropped the Frenchman and was then joined by Simon Clarke and Bauke Mollema with 50 kilometers to go. The leading trio worked well together to open a 1:40 over their chasers at the bottom of the final climb, the 2nd Cat-2 Alto El Marchal, 37.5km from the finish.


Floris De Tier was a hard worker in the break


A mechanical for Mollema didn’t cause him too much trouble



Davide Villella, Rudy Molard and Floris De Tier accelerated on the climb but couldn’t get closer than 40 seconds behind the leaders. Bauke Mollema suffered a mechanical but an impressive effort got him back to the front 2 kilometers from the summit. The gap increased on the downhill, while the Sky-led peloton remained at 6 minutes. After a tactical finale, Clarke took the win ahead of his breakaway companions, while Molard finished 9 seconds behind. With the pack at 4:55, the Frenchman took the red jersey by 1:01 from Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky).


It wasn’t too close a finish


The new overall leader – Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ)

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Vuelta a España Stage 5 Result:
1. Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale in 4:36:07
2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
3. Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC
4. Davide Villella (Ita) Astana at 0:08
5. Floris De Tier (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo
6. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
7. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 1:58
8. Jonathan Lastra Martinez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 2:00
9. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
10. Merhawi Kudus (Eri) Dimension Data
11. Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar
12. Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
13. Pavel Kochetkov (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin
14. Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain-Merida
15. Mikel Iturria Segurola (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
16. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC at 3:52
17. Sepp Kuss (USA) LottoNL-Jumbo
18. Jai Hindley (Aus) Sunweb
19. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
20. Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Sky at 4:55
21. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) Sky
22. Sergio Henao (Col) Sky
23. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky
24. Benjamin King (USA) Dimension Data
25. David De La Cruz (Spa) Sky.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 5:
1. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 18:27:20
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky at 1:01
3. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 1:08
4. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 1:11
5. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 1:13
6. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 1:26
7. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida at 1:31
8. Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:34
9. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar
10. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 1:38
11. Enric Mas (Spa) Quick-Step Floors at 1:43
12. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
13. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 1:44
14. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNL-Jumbo at 1:46
15. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana at 1:47
16. Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 1:48
17. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale at 1:49
18. David De La Cruz (Spa) Sky at 1:54
19. Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain-Merida at 2:00
20. Benjamin King (USA) Dimension Data at 2:06
21. Laurens De Plus (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
22. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis at 3:01
23. Davide Villella (Ita) Astana at 3:29
24. Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC at 3:43
25. Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 3:45.

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