Roglic Wins Stage 5 at Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
Friday’s stage 5 of Volta Ciclista a Catalunya 2023 took the Tour of Catalonia riders on a 176.6-kilometer ride from Tortosa to Mirador del Portell culminating with a finish on the Hors Categorie Lo Port climb. While most of the route until the final climb was virtually flt, the stage finale was designed as a strenuous uphill challenge on a climb featuring an average gradient of 8.8 percent with sections of 10 percent.
Early in the stage a multitude of attacks were launched by small groups of riders and eventually a breakaway group was established. With 30 kilometers of the stage remaining, the front group featured six optimists: Tsgabu Grmay (Team Jayco-Alula), Julen Amezqueta (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA), Euskaltel-Euskadi’s Ibai Azurmendi, and the Equipo Kern Pharma trio of Jose Felix Parra, Pablo Castrillo, and Hector Carretero. By then they had a two minute and thirty seconds advantage on the peloton spearheaded by Team Soudal-QuickStep in support of their team leader Remco Evenepoel.
As the riders entered the final climb the remaining attackers had a lead of approximately one minute. At this point Grmay had launched a solo attack and carried on up the mountain. Bora-Hansgrohe took to the front of the main peloton group to set the desired pace for their team leader Jay Hindley. Meanwhile, EF Education-Easypost’s national champions Richard Carapaz and Esteban Chaves were lurking at the front of the peloton while pondering if an attack would be worthwhile.
Bahrain-Victorious moved to the front of the peloton to increase the speed for their team leader Mikel Landa while causing Grmay to be caught.
Five kilometers from the finish line Soudal-QuickStep set a fast pace at the front together with Team Jumbo-Visma.
Evenepoel attacked with 4.5 kilometers remaining. Mark Soler counter-attacked for UAE Team Emirates while Primoz Roglic tailed Evenepoel. The trio reunited while a small group featuring Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-EasyPost) and Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) was following five seconds behind.
Almeida increased his pace to catch the front trio. As a result, Uran was disappointingly dropped because of his lacking explosiveness.
With two kilometers remaining, the quartet at the front featured Evenepoel, Soler, Roglic, and Almeida.
Soler attacked 850 meters from the top of the mountain and the stage finish. Roglic countered, but Evenepoel followed together with Almeida. Roglic tried again, but with no success. Evenepoel attacked and created a two-meter gap, but Roglic caught him. The duo approached the finish line alone.
Roglic soloed across the finish line and Evenepoel followed six seconds later. Almeida finished third. Uran finished 44 seconds after the stage winner.
In the general classification Almeida moved up to third position, while Roglic remains race leader ahead of Evenepoel. Roglic increased his lead to ten seconds, while Almeida is 01:02 behind. Landa is fourth, Hindley is 8th, and Uran moved up into top ten.
“The next two days will be tough, especially Sunday’s stage in Barcelona. I’ll do my best and we’ll see,” stage winner and race leader Roglic told Roadcycling.com shortly after crossing the finish line.
Saturday’s stage 6 of Volta Ciclista a Catalunya 2023 will be a 174.1-kilometer ride from Martorell to Molins de Rei. The stage features hilly terrain and may culminate in a victory for a breakaway rider or a battle between the sprinters in the Volta a Catalunya peloton.
Stay tuned to Roadcycling.com for additional coverage from Volta Ciclista a Catalunya 2023.