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VUELTA’22 Stage 5: Soler Bags A Big Basque Stage!

Solo Soler

Vuelta Stage Report: UAE Team Emirates’ Marc Soler won stage 5 of the Vuelta a España, crossing the finish-line in Bilbao solo on the tough Basque roads. He was part of the break of the day that would fight for the stage honours and the overall lead. Rudy Molard of Groupama-FDJ was the best placed rider in the escape and took the overall lead from Primož Roglič.

Stage 5 highlights

A storming win for Marc Soler

The fifth stage of the Vuelta a España to Bilbao was won by Marc Soler. After a difficult, hilly stage of 187 kilometres he was the best of a sizeable leading group. Jumbo-Visma saw no reason to chase the break, so Primož Roglič give his red leader’s jersey to Rudy Molard of Groupama-FDJ.

The first stage in red in 2022 for Primoz Roglič – For how long?

Fernando Escartín: “Beautiful stage: five mountain passes that will be filled with the Basque public. Both climbs to the Vivero in the final part will be responsible for selecting the leading group. It will be interesting to discover who controls the race, even without clear leaders in the general classification, particularly in a day that is not ideal for sprinters.”

Stage 5 profile

The first hour of the stage was covered at an average speed of over 50kph. The route was slightly undulating and invited attackers to try their luck. Best Young Rider Ethan Hayter, tried early in the stage, but his attempt didn’t make it. Mads Pedersen also showed himself, but he was also caught.

A tough day ahead

Stage 5 start

After 75 kilometres the leading group of the day formed from different groups: Jaakko Hänninen (AG2R Citroën), Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Rudy Molard, Jake Stewart (Groupama-FDJ), Alessandro De Marchi (Israel-Premier Tech), Gregor Muhlberger (Movistar), Fausto Masnada (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl ), Lawson Craddock (BikeExchange-Jayco), Victor Langellotti (Burgos-BH), Roger Adria (Equipo Kern Pharma), Vadim Pronskiy (Astana Qazaqstan), Julius Johansen (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Nikias Arndt (DSM) and Anthony Delaplace (Arkea-Samsic).

The fans were out to see the start in Irun

There was a fast start to the stage

The group of fourteen riders soon had a 1 minute lead and were then followed by Jonathan Caicedo (EF Education-EasyPost), Daryl Impey (Israel-Premier Tech), Kamil Malecki (Lotto Soudal) and Ibai Azurmendi (Euskaltel-Euskadi). That group was stuck for a long time at 30 seconds, but closed on the first climb of the day. There was now seventeen leaders with a two-minute lead. Jaakko Hänninen crashed out of the leading group.

Everyone wanted to be in the ‘Break of the Day’

The stage followed the coast

Rudy Molard was the best placed rider of the leaders, 58 seconds behind Primoz Roglič and he was soon in the virtual red jersey. Fred Wright, who was 4 seconds behind Molard overall, could also dream of the leader’s jersey. Jumbo-Visma chose its own pace. The team let Marc Soler pull away on that first climb. The Spaniard of UAE Team Emirates managed to close a 2 minute gap on the first two climbs on his own.

It would be a nice day at the beach

You should recognise the view – San Sebastián

Mike Teunissen and Edoardo Affini set the pace in the peloton and gave the leading group more than 4 minutes of a lead. At the foot of the Puerto de Vivero (4.6km at 8%) the difference to the escapees was just over 3 minutes. Craddock exploded the leading group with a serious acceleration and came over the top first, followed by Langelotti. The Burgos-BH rider was making a bid for the KOM jersey.

The break was big and dangerous

The bunch gave the break a little too much time

In the peloton, there was no attack on the first Vivero climb, so that the remaining front riders had 5 minutes and could fight for the stage victory and the red jersey. Groupama-FDJ tried to play out having two riders up front by having Stewart attack. The young British rider started the second and last time up the Puerto de Vivero with more than 40 seconds lead.

The stage win would come from the break, but what about the overall lead?

Fred Wright was the strongman in the break

Soler had a bad moment, but recovered and headed after Stewart. More than 1 kilometre from the top, the Spaniard went past the Brit. Soler crossed the top alone, but not far behind him followed a group with Wright, Stewart, Molard, Langelotti, Pronskiy and Craddock. In addition to KOM points, there were also bonus seconds (3, 2 and 1) and Molard took 2 seconds for his fight with Wright for the GC.

Did Jumbo and Roglič want to loose the red jersey?

Jake Stewart went on a bold (and failed) solo

In the last 14 kilometres, which were mostly downhill, Soler had to pull out all the stops to hold his lead. At one point the gap was only 16 seconds, but because the chasing group, where Stewart was dropped due to cramps, started working it looked over for Soler. When another group got across with 4 kilometres to go, including Impey and Arndt, the work stopped.

Soler jumped past Stewart for his solo win

The battle to get back on Soler became a game of poker. That meant that the Spanish climber managed to stay out of the hands of the chasers and could celebrate the stage victory. Behind him, Impey was second and Wright third. The Briton took four bonus seconds, but that was not enough to pass Molard on the GC. The difference was 2 seconds, which Molard took on the final climb.

The Basque fans were out to see Soler go solo

The favourites did not attack on the Vivero. The peloton was at 4 minutes and rode together to Bilbao. There the peloton, led by Robert Gesink, crossed the finish line more than 5 minutes after Soler. In the new GC, Rudy Molard is now 2 seconds ahead of Fred Wright. Nikias Arndt is third at 1:09 and Lawson Craddock fourth at almost two and a half minutes. Primož Roglič has dropped to fifth place, at 4:09 from Molard.

Marc Soler had to finish alone due to his non-sprint

Stage winner, Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates): “The truth is I’m very happy. I didn’t expect it, after yesterday. In the end, I was able to make it happen and I’m very happy. I wanted to make the break, I fought a lot. The group went and I wasn’t there, but I wanted to. Matxin told me to try on the climb. In the finale, I wanted to try and I gave it my all. There’s a lot of talks [about the lack of Spanish victories in Grand Tours] but it’s not easy. There are many Spanish riders in many teams but we often have to work. It’s not easy but we can also win.”

A big win for Soler and Spain

Overall leader, Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ): “It’s a big day for me! I was thinking about it since yesterday. I was not so far on GC. I told my teammates it was possible to get the red jersey today and I did it, it feels so good. Jake [Stewart] was so strong today. He pulled for me but at the end he had his chance to attack. In the finale, I was waiting for him because I knew he could win the stage in the sprint. With Soler taking the victory, it was good for me, to get the leader’s jersey while he was taking the time bonus. I was in a perfect position and we have the red… It’s amazing! I just had to follow [Fred Wright]. He was very strong and I know he’s very fast in the sprint. When Nikias Arndt and Daryl Impey came from behind, it was better for me because they are fast. I was stressed until the end. It means a lot to me. Last year, I left the race with a serious accident. I didn’t know if I would be able to return to my best level. And a year later I lead a Grand Tour. I really struggled this winter, I couldn’t do any sport for several weeks. You always have to believe!”

Rudy Molard rode into red

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Vuelta a España Stage 5 Result:
1. Marc Soler (Spa) UAE Team Emirates in 4:15:23
2. Daryl Impey (SA) Israel-Premier Tech at 0:04
3. Fred Wright (GB) Bahrain-Victorious
4. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
5. Lawson Craddock (USA) BikeExchange-Jayco
6. Nikias Arndt (Ger) DSM
7. Victor Langellotti (Pol) Burgos-BH
8. Vadim Pronskiy (Kaz) Astana Qazaqstan
9. Gregor Mühlberger (Aust) Movistar
10. Roger Adrià (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 4:
1. Rudy Molard in Groupama-FDJ in 16:07:22
2. Fred Wright (GB) Bahrain-Victorious at 0:02
3. Nikias Arndt (Ger) DSM at 1:09
4. Lawson Craddock (USA) BikeExchange-Jayco at 2:27
5. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 4:09
6. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma at 4:22
7. Pavel Sivakov (Fra) INEOS Grenadiers at 4:35
8. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
9. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at 4:36
10. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers at 4:42.

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