Volta a Catalunya – Stage win number 3 for Mezgec


Giant Shimano’s Luka Mezgec sprinted to his third stage win of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya with a comfortable win at the end of selective day of racing

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Volta a Catalunya – Stage win number 3 for Mezgec

Joaquim Rodriguez continues to lead overall, Adam Yates is 7th and again the leading rider for Orica GreenEdge

Despite a second category climb in the final 20km of the race, the peloton flew into the finish in Valls together and Luka once again proved that he is the fastest man in the race.


Photo: Jon Herranz (voltacatalunya.cat)

Earlier in the day, Georg Preidler broke away initially with seven others before moving clear with just Marcus Burghardt (BMC) for company. They built up a healthy lead of over three minutes and this meant that behind the team could concentrate on keeping Luka out of trouble rather than having to chase.

After being set up by the team in the final kilometres, Luka put the power down on his Propel, putting over a bike length between himself and second place. After the stage, Luka had a wry smile on his face. “During the stage I didn’t think it was going to happen as my legs felt empty – I think it was because of the cold yesterday.

“With George up the road we could concentrate on getting over the climb. The guys stuck with me and when I heard that there was a head wind the otherside I got a confidence boost and knew that it would slow. I went all out and got over the top with the main group, then the guys started to control the bunch.”

“In the final kilometre Warren Barguil (FRA) set me up, putting me near the front. I knew that I needed to be near but not right at the front into the last corner and that worked out well. It’s great that even with a young team out here we can play such a big part in this race.”

“It was a fantastic display from the team here today. Everyone played their part and overall it worked out easier than the previous stage wins. We wanted to get a guy in the break so that we didn’t need to chase today. Firstly Chad Haga got in the early move but the pace was too high. Georg managed to break the elastic and ended up with just one other out front.”

“Having him out front made the job easy behind. It all come back together in the final 30km and from there we took control. Warren Barguil did a great lead-out and Luka once again finished it off.”

GC Battle
It was another mountainous 218 kilometre stage and the big question was if the GC riders wanted to take advantage of the hilly terrain to create havoc in the top of the rankings.

It wasn’t until the very final climb with 14 kilometers to go, that the GC riders started to jump up the road and Tinkoff-Saxo set the group on fire with numerous attacks including those from Alberto Contador chasing the four seconds that separate him from the overall lead of the race. The moves were shut down the gap and in a furious counter-move, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) dived down the descent towards the finish line while the GC riders were chasing from behind. With 5 kilometers to go, the Dane was swept up.

Race leader Joaquim Rodriguez explained how he saw the race: “We all knew that Contador was not content and that he would attack. He had to. When he went on the Alt de Lilla with less than 10 km to go, I had to counter. It was hard. I was completely in the red, but I had it under control as the rest of the day everything had gone fine. He could not attack unexpectedly, because we anticipated his action.”

An original attack on the climb of Lilla came from Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin Sharp) and Astana’s Lieuwe Westra with Joaquim Rodriguez and other GC favorites keeping a close eye on the action. Then came Tinkoff-Saxo’s Alberto Contador’s attack over the top, but “Purito” Rodriguez was quick to jump on the wheel and shut down the effort. “Now let’s hope we can keep the last two stages under control. Of course, I am a little bit worried about the time bonuses at the finish, but they are there and we need to live with them. It is part of the race.”

Saturday’s stage 6 begins in El Vendrell and ends in Vilanova I la Geltrú at 172 km and should be one for the sprinters. Sunday’s stage brings the race to a conclusion in Barcelona.

Stage 5
1 MEZGEC Luka Team Giant-Shimano 05:16:00
2 ALAPHILIPPE Julian Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
3 DUMOULIN Samuel AG2R La Mondiale
4 MARTENS Paul Belkin-Pro Cycling Team
5 KREDER Michel Wanty – Groupe Gobert
6 CONTADOR Alberto Tinkoff-Saxo
7 YATES Adam Orica GreenEDGE
8 RéZA Kévin Team Europcar
9 VAN DER SANDE Tosh Lotto Belisol
10 VIGANO Davide Caja Rural – Seguros RGA

12 TALANSKY Andrew Garmin Sharp
13 MARTIN Daniel Garmin Sharp
21 VAN GARDEREN Tejay BMC Racing Team
22 SáNCHEZ Samuel BMC Racing Team
23 QUINTANA Nairo Movistar Team
24 RODRIGUEZ Joaquim Team Katusha
25 FROOME Christopher Team Sky
69 VOIGT Jens Trek Factory Racing @ 0.15
73 SANCHEZ Luis Leon Caja Rural – Seguros RGA
92 VOECKLER Thomas Team Europcar @0.32

1 RODRIGUEZ Joaquim Team Katusha 23:03:34
2 CONTADOR Alberto Tinkoff-Saxo 00:04
3 VAN GARDEREN Tejay BMC Racing Team 00:07
4 BARDET Romain AG2R La Mondiale 00:10
5 QUINTANA Nairo Movistar Team
6 FROOME Christopher Team Sky 00:17
7 TALANSKY Andrew Garmin Sharp 00:18
8 POZZOVIVO Domenico AG2R La Mondiale 00:26
9 BARGUIL Warren Team Giant-Shimano 00:42

17 HESJEDAL Ryder Garmin Sharp 01:26
19 MARTIN Daniel Garmin Sharp 01:49
25 YATES Adam Orica GreenEDGE 03:00


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