Vuelta a Espana 2018

August 25 - September 16, Malaga, Spain, Road - GT

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Barry Ryan

Vuelta a España 2018 – hub page
Vuelta a España 2018 – start list
Report: Ben King wins stage 4
Simon Yates tears up the script
Kwiatkowski stays in red despite late attack
Mark Cavendish diagnosed with Epstein Barr Virus
 

  1. 11:50:08 CEST

    The peloton is ine neutralised zone in Granada, with the race due to hit kilometre zero at 11:56 local time. Today's stage is described by the race organisation as 'mid mountain,' though the Vuelta's own difficulty scale differs from just about every other race, as Sunday's 'flat' (seriously) stage to Caminito del Rey testified. The presence of the Alto el Marchal 30km from the line should ensure that the peloton is whittled down significantly ahead of the finish in Roquetas de Mar this afternoon.

  2. 11:53:10 CEST

    In keeping with the Vuelta's time in Andalucia thus far, there is scarcely a metre of flat on today's stage, as the race tackles rugged and rolling roads all day long. There are two classified climbs, the category 3 Alto de Orgiva after 55km, and the category 2 Alto El Marchal (10.8km at 4.1%), the summit of which comes with 26km remaining.

     

  3. 11:55:02 CEST

    Precisely two minutes separate the top 20 on GC after the opening four stages. Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) sets out in red once again today, and the overall picture is as follows:

     

    1 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky 13:47:19
    2 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:07
    3 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:10
    4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:12
    5 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:25
    6 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:30
    7 Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:33
    8 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
    9 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:37
    10 Enric Mas (Spa) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:42
    11 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
    12 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:43
    13 George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:45
    14 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team 0:00:46
    15 Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:47
    16 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 0:00:48
    17 David De La Cruz (Spa) Team Sky 0:00:53
    18 Benjamin King (USA) Dimension Data 0:01:05
    19 Laurens De Plus (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
    20 Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:02:00

     

  4. 188km remaining from 188.7km

    11:58:15 CEST

    The flag has dropped and stage 5 of the 2018 Vuelta is formally underway. The temperature is a pleasant 26 degrees and conditions are still.

     

  5. 184km remaining from 188.7km

    12:02:10 CEST

    There is a volley of early attacks, but as yet, no move has succeeded in forging clear. While technical director Fernando Escartin maintains that today's stage can "provide a new opportunity for the sprinters," there are a lot of riders who fancy the break might go the distance this afternoon.

     

  6. 181km remaining from 188.7km

    12:07:18 CEST

    The pace is brisk in these opening kilometres, but as yet nobody has managed to escape the clutches of the peloton.

     

  7. 12:14:08 CEST

    Away from the Vuelta, Mark Cavendish has been diagnosed with Epstein Barr virus for the second time in as many years and will not race for the foreseeable future. "This season I’ve not felt physically myself and despite showing good numbers on the bike I have felt that there’s been something not right,” Cavendish said. “Given this and on the back of these medical results, I’m glad to now finally have some clarity as to why I haven’t been able to perform at my optimum level during this time." Read more here.

    Mark Cavendish gets a push after a mechanical

     

  8. 177km remaining from 188.7km

    12:15:17 CEST

    The flurry of attacking and counter-attacking continues at the front end of the bunch, but a break has yet to gain any traction.

     

  9. 170km remaining from 188.7km

    12:19:51 CEST

    A four-man break looked to be forming off the front off the bunch, but the quartet have been brought back to heel. The pace is searingly in these opening kilometres.

     

  10. 168km remaining from 188.7km

    12:24:35 CEST

    • Attack

    Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) has attacked alone, and the Belgian has a small lead over the peloton. He would undoubtedly prefer to have some company on this raid.

     

  11. 12:25:09 CEST

    Alexandre Geniez (AG2R La Mondiale) is attempting to bridge across to De Gendt, though both riders are dangling just ahead of the peloton for the time being.

     

  12. 165km remaining from 188.7km

    12:26:14 CEST

    Geniez joins De Gendt at the front. This Franco-Belgian duo have a lead of 10 seconds over a peloton that has not yet relented.

     

  13. 163km remaining from 188.7km

    12:29:15 CEST

    De Gendt and Geniez have been clawed back by the peloton, and the race is back together all over again.

     

  14. 158km remaining from 188.7km

    12:36:03 CEST

    Over 30 kilometres into the stage, and still no break has taken shape at the front. This has been a brutally tough opening to proceedings, and there will be a lot of tired legs in the peloton by the time they hit the Alto El Marchal in the final hour or so of racing.

     

  15. 12:45:46 CEST

    Yesterday, the Sky team of race leader Michal Kwiatkowski allowed the break to clear early and yielded considerable latitude. Ben King (Dimension Data) took full advantage to claim the biggest win of his career on the Puerto de Alfacar. "It was part of the plan to be in the break. It was a big move with a lot of strong riders. We weren't going to be there just to be on TV," King said afterwards. Alasdair Fotheringham has the full story here.

    Ben King is jubilant as he crosses the line

     

  16. 158km remaining from 188.7km

    12:47:53 CEST

    The contest to get in the day's early break has been so spirited that we're witnessing a high-speed stalemate for the time being. Despite the rolling terrain, the pace is very intense and the bunch is still together.

     

  17. 145km remaining from 188.7km

    12:53:51 CEST

    A group of 24 riders has managed to open a small gap over the peloton, but it might be too unwieldy a group to stay clear.

     

  18. 138km remaining from 188.7km

    12:57:33 CEST

    That large group has been pegged back by the speeding peloton. An hour of racing has gone by, and lavuelta.es reports that the bunch covered some 47.8 kilometres in that period. This has been a blisteringly fast start to proceedings, and riders will surely pay a price later in the afternoon.

     

  19. 13:02:07 CEST

    • Attack

    The race has reached the category 3 Alto de Orgiva (4km at 7%), and Stéphane Rossetto (Cofidis) has opened a small gap over the bunch.  A dozen or so riders are chasing just behind him.

     

  20. 135km remaining from 188.7km

    13:07:20 CEST

    Rossetto has been joined by Alessandro De Marchi (BMC), and this duo have an advantage of 15 seconds over the peloton as they near the summit of the Alto de Orgiva.

     

  21. 133km remaining from 188.7km

    13:10:52 CEST

    • Climb

    Stephane Rossetto (Cofidis) led Alessandro De Marchi (BMC) over the top of the Alto de Orgiva, with Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) heading the bunch to the summit just a handful of seconds later.

     

  22. 132km remaining from 188.7km

    13:12:33 CEST

    De Marchi and Rossetto have been caught by the peloton on the descent of the Orgiva, but it's worth noting that the vicious early pace and rugged terrain has reduced the bunch to just 70 or so riders. 

     

  23. 131km remaining from 188.7km

    13:15:10 CEST

    Rossetto goes again, this time in the company of Valerio Conti (UAE-Team Emirates) and Floris de Tier (LottoNL-Jumbo). This trio has a lead of 10 seconds over the peloton.

     

  24. 13:21:51 CEST

    Rossetto, De Tier and Conti have been joined by Alessandro De Marchi (BMC), Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora), Maxime Monfort (Lotto Soudal) and Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ), and there are more riders trying to forge across. The gaps are still very small, mind.

     

  25. 13:25:33 CEST

    The race is quite fractured at the moment as riders are still trying to battle their way across the small gap to Rossetto and the leaders. 

     

  26. 123km remaining from 188.7km

    13:29:19 CEST

    This front group has swelled to 25 riders, and - finally - there is a slackening of the pace in the peloton. It looks as if the race has stabilised and a break has established itself.

     

  27. 120km remaining from 188.7km

    13:31:33 CEST

    Our 25 leaders are: Alessandro De Marchi (BMC), Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe), Maxime Monfort (Lotto Soudal), Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ), Stéphane Rossetto (Cofidis), Valerio Conti (UAE-Team Emirates), Floris de Tier (LottoNL-Jumbo), Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott), Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo), Mikel Iturria (Euskadi-Murias), Franco Pellizotti (Bahrain-Merida), Alexandre Geniez (AG2R La Mondiale), Davide Villela (Astana Pro Team), Sepp Kuss (LottoNL-Jumbo), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Jonathan Lastra (Caja Rujal-Seguros RGA), Andrey Amador (Movistar), Jai Hindley (Sunweb), José Mendes (Burgos-BH), Brent Bookwalter (BMC), Simon Clarke (EF-Drapac) Merhawi Kudus (Dimension Data), Maurits Lammertink (Katusha-Alpecin), Pavel Kochetkov (Katusha) and Hermann Pernsteiner (Bahrain-Merida). They have a buffer of 1:47 over the peloton.

     

  28. 117km remaining from 188.7km

    13:37:56 CEST

    The drop in intensity in the peloton is also allowing the riders distanced on the Alto de Orgiva to make their way back up to the main field.

     

  29. 112km remaining from 188.7km

    13:48:09 CEST

    The gap increases slightly to 2:15. There are a lot of strong riders in this move, and provided they strike a decent working alliance, the break has  every chance of going the distance this afternoon.

     

  30. 105km remaining from 188.7km

    13:55:04 CEST

    As the break approaches Cadiar, the gap stretches out to 3 minutes.

     

  31. 99km remaining from 188.7km

    14:07:33 CEST

    Into the final 100 kilometres for the 25-man leading group, which maintains a buffer of 3 minutes over the peloton.

     

  32. 14:19:21 CEST

    This break isn't entirely cohesive, as Postlberger, Clarke and Mollema briefly forge ahead, but their advantage over the peloton continues to grow. 

     

  33. 90km remaining from 188.7km

    14:20:45 CEST

    A reminder of the 25 riders at the head of the race: Alessandro De Marchi (BMC), Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe), Maxime Monfort (Lotto Soudal), Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ), Stéphane Rossetto (Cofidis), Valerio Conti (UAE-Team Emirates), Floris de Tier (LottoNL-Jumbo), Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott), Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo), Mikel Iturria (Euskadi-Murias), Franco Pellizotti (Bahrain-Merida), Alexandre Geniez (AG2R La Mondiale), Davide Villella (Astana Pro Team), Sepp Kuss (LottoNL-Jumbo), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Jonathan Lastra (Caja Rujal-Seguros RGA), Andrey Amador (Movistar), Jai Hindley (Sunweb), José Mendes (Burgos-BH), Brent Bookwalter (BMC), Simon Clarke (EF-Drapac), Merhawi Kudus (Dimension Data), Maurits Lammertink (Katusha-Alpecin), Pavel Kochetkov (Katusha) and Hermann Pernsteiner (Bahrain-Merida). Their lead is now 4:18 over the peloton, which is being led by Team Sky and Quick-Step Floors.

     

  34. 86km remaining from 188.7km

    14:27:41 CEST

    Stephane Rossetto (Cofidis) and Alessandro De Marchi (BMC) have attacked and opened a gap of 20 seconds over the rest of the front group. The peloton is 4:30 behind.

     

  35. 80km remaining from 188.7km

    14:32:02 CEST

    The Rosetto and De Marchi attack has split the front group. They are being chased at 30 seconds by Molard, Pernsteiner, Conti, Villella, Brambilla, Kochetkov, Kuss, Hindley and Monfort. The rest of the break is at 48 seconds, and the peloton is 4:30 down.

     

  36. 77km remaining from 188.7km

    14:36:52 CEST

    Rossetto and De Marchi has stretched their lead over the rest of the break out to 50 seconds. The peloton now trails by 5:50, with Sky setting the tempo.

     

  37. 14:39:19 CEST

    Rossetto and De Marchi are being chased by 19 of their breakaway companions. Trentin, Postlberger, Mendes and Pellizotti have been dropped and are 1:20 down.

  38. 14:41:45 CEST

    There isn't a huge amount of cohesion in the chasing group, and Valerio Conti seems to have had enough of it. The Italian presses on in lone pursuit of De Marchi and Rosetto.

     

  39. 72km remaining from 188.7km

    14:46:16 CEST

    Rossetto leads De Marchi through the intermediate sprint in Laujar de Andarax. Conti is 40 seconds down. The bulk of the chasers are at 1:07, while the Trentin group is 1:20 down and the peloton is at 5:50.

     

  40. 69km remaining from 188.7km

    14:52:33 CEST

    Conti has sat up and is caught by the chasing group. They are a little over a minute down on Rossetto and De Marchi.

     

  41. 65km remaining from 188.7km

    14:56:32 CEST

    • Attack

    Alessandro De Marchi (BMC) attacks and opens a small gap over Rossetto. The chasing group - still sorely lacking in cohesion, but showing increasing urgency all the same - is at 50 seconds. 

     

  42. 62km remaining from 188.7km

    15:00:31 CEST

    De Marchi is fully committed to his solo effort. He shed himself of Rossetto on the lip of an uncategorised climb and now has a long and gradual descent towards the base of the day's key difficulty, the Alto El Marchal.

     

  43. 15:02:00 CEST

    Rossetto has dropped back to the chasing group, which now numbers 22 riders. Pellizzotti fought his way back up to them, while Trentin and Postlberger have been caught by the main peloton.

     

  44. 60km remaining from 188.7km

    15:03:25 CEST

    The situation with 60km to go is as follows:

    Alessandro De Marchi (BMC) leads the race.

     

    Maxime Monfort (Lotto Soudal), Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ), Stéphane Rossetto (Cofidis), Valerio Conti (UAE-Team Emirates), Floris de Tier (LottoNL-Jumbo), Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo), Mikel Iturria (Euskadi-Murias), Franco Pellizotti (Bahrain-Merida), Alexandre Geniez (AG2R La Mondiale), Davide Villela (Astana Pro Team), Sepp Kuss (LottoNL-Jumbo), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Jonathan Lastra (Caja Rujal-Seguros RGA), Andrey Amador (Movistar), Jai Hindley (Sunweb), José Mendes (Burgos-BH), Brent Bookwalter (BMC), Simon Clarke (EF-Drapac) Merhawi Kudus (Dimension Data), Maurits Lammertink (Katusha-Alpecin), Pavel Kochetkov (Katusha) and Hermann Pernsteiner (Bahrain-Merida) trail by 1:15.

     

    The Sky-led peloton is at 6:00.

     

  45. 15:13:40 CEST

    Jai Hindley of Sunweb is in the chasing group. The Australian is making his Grand Tour debut at this Vuelta. The neo-professional has followed a sensible programme of roughly a stage race per month - with a break in July - this year, with 11th at the Tour of Slovenia his best result. "I love to win bike races, but for the first few years it's all just about the development side of things and learning as much as I can," Hindley told us at the start of the year. "I've got a lot to learn. I've really got to find my place in pro peloton first." Hindley turned pro with Sunweb after spending 2017 with the Mitchelton-Scott under-23 team. Read the full story here.

    Jai Hindley (Sunweb)

     

  46. 50km remaining from 188.7km

    15:14:55 CEST

    Like Conti before him, Andrey Amador (Movistar) is unhappy with the level of collaboration in this group chasing De Marchi. The Costa Rican has pressed on alone in a bid to bridge across. 

     

  47. 54km remaining from 188.7km

    15:18:58 CEST

    Simon Clarke (EF-Drapac) and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) have managed to bridge across to De Marchi. They even briefly distanced the Italian, but now we have a trio of leaders out in front.

  48. 50km remaining from 188.7km

    15:19:43 CEST

    Andrey Amador (Movistar) is unhappy with the level of collaboration in this chasing group. The Costa Rican has pressed on alone in a bid to bridge across to the leaders.

     

  49. 47km remaining from 188.7km

    15:21:00 CEST

    Simon Clarke (EF-Drapac), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) and Alessandro De Marchi (BMC) have a lead of 1:18 over Andrey Amador (Movistar) and Alexandre Geniez (AG2R La Mondiale). The rest of the break is at 1:40, and the peloton trails by 6 minutes.

     

  50. 42km remaining from 188.7km

    15:26:01 CEST

    Clarke, Mollema and De Marchi are now 5km from the base of the category 2 Alto El Marchal (10.8km at 4.1%). Floris de Tier (LottoNL-Jumbo) is about to join Geniez and Amador in the first chasing group, 1:35 behind the leaders.

     

  51. 38km remaining from 188.7km

    15:33:05 CEST

    De Marchi, Clarke and Mollema approach the foot of Alto El Marchal with a lead of 1:45 over the chasers. Amador, Geniez and De Tier, meanwhile, are on the cusp of being caught by the bulk of the chasing group. The peloton is at 6:10, with Team Sky setting the pace.

     

  52. 15:36:07 CEST

    On the lower slopes of the climb, Clarke, Mollema and De Marchi have a lead of 1:45 over Molard, Conti, Villella, Kochetkov, De Tier, Pellizotti, Iturria, Amador and Geniez. The peloton is at 5:55.

     

  53. 36km remaining from 188.7km

    15:39:02 CEST

    • Attack

    Rudy Molard attacks from the chasing group and sets off in pursuit of the three leaders with De Tier on his wheel. Molard is the highest-placed rider on GC in this break, having begun the day 3:46 down on Kwiatkowski.

     

  54. 15:40:00 CEST

    The Molard group keeps fragmenting and reforming, but it is notable that Molard is to the fore every time there is an acceleration. They trail the three leaders by 1:36 with 8.5km of climbing still to go.

     

  55. 15:40:48 CEST

    Davide Villella (Astana) attacks. De Tier and Molard give chase. The rest of the chasing group appears to be distanced.

     

  56. 35km remaining from 188.7km

    15:42:02 CEST

    Simon Clarke, Bauke Mollema and Alessandro De Marchi are setting a steady tempo at the head of the race, 1:20 up on Davide Villella, who is being stalked by Floris de Tier and the virtual overall leader Rudy Molard.

     

  57. 33km remaining from 188.7km

    15:45:22 CEST

    Villella is climbing very smoothly, and the Italian has cut his deficit on the three leaders to 1:00. Molard and De Tier can't quite manage to get on terms with him.

     

  58. 15:47:17 CEST

    Mollema, De Marchi and Clarke are a little under 6km from the summit of Alto El Marchal with a lead of 57 seconds over Villella. Molard and De Tier are a little further back, with the remnants of the break scattered further down the mountain. Sky lead the peloton, which is at 6 minutes and on the lower slopes of the climb.

     

  59. 15:49:05 CEST

    Kwiatkowski has a lead of just 7 seconds over Emmanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) and 10 over Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), and Sky will be wary of attacks on his red jersey on this climb. There is a rapid descent and short, flat run-in over the other side.

     

  60. 30km remaining from 188.7km

    15:53:26 CEST

    • Puncture

    And then there were two. A puncture for Bauke Mollema and although the Dutchman gets a quick change,  he has more than 20 seconds to make up on Clarke and De Marchi.

     

  61. 15:54:03 CEST

    Molard and De Tier have managed to join up with Villella, and this trio is 50 seconds down on Clarke and De Marchi.

     

  62. 29km remaining from 188.7km

    15:55:22 CEST

    Simon Clarke and Alessandro De Marchi have a little over 2km of climbing left. They have 10 seconds in hand on Mollema, and 45 on Molard, De Tier and Villella. The peloton is at 6:10.

     

  63. 28.5km remaining from 188.7km

    15:56:06 CEST

    A fine effort from Mollema sees him rejoin Clarke and De Marchi at the head of the race. 

     

  64. 15:57:26 CEST

    Back in the main peloton, Team Sky are controlling affairs with a brisk tempo, and there is no inkling of an attack on Kwiatkowski's red jersey at this juncture.

     

  65. 15:58:17 CEST

    Molard, of course, is still the virtual red jersey, as his three-man move has a lead of 5 minutes over the main peloton, but one would expect the pace to pick up in the bunch near the summit.

     

  66. 26.5km remaining from 188.7km

    15:59:28 CEST

    • Climb

    Bauke Mollema leads Simon Clarke and Alessandro De Marchi over the top of Alto El Marchal with a lead of 45 seconds over Molard, De Tier and Villella. 

     

  67. 16:01:25 CEST

    In the virtual GC, Molard has 1:43 in hand on Kwiatkowski. The Frenchman is riding wholeheartedly on the descent off El Marchal and is giving himself a fighting chance of moving into the red jersey this evening.

     

  68. 23km remaining from 188.7km

    16:03:17 CEST

    Mollema, Clarke and De Marchi is a formidable leading group, and the trio are all on the same page to boot. Their buffer over the Molard group is back out to 57 seconds, and it looks as though the winner will come from their number. 

     

  69. 21km remaining from 188.7km

    16:04:57 CEST

    Molard still has 5:15 in hand on the peloton. If he keeps that gap above 3:46, the Frenchman will wear red this afternoon.

     

  70. 16:05:31 CEST

    There were no frissons in the main peloton on El Marchal. Team Sky lead the bunch  over the top, 6 minutes down on Mollema, De Marchi and Clarke.

     

  71. 19km remaining from 188.7km

    16:07:48 CEST

    Mollema, Clarke and De Marchi have 1:06 on Molard, Villella and De Tier. De Marchi was briefly caught a few bike lengths off the back of the front group, but the Italian fights his way back up.

     

  72. 16km remaining from 188.7km

    16:10:16 CEST

    There is no sign of discord in the front group for the time being. Clarke, Mollema and De Marchi are all committed to staving off Molard et al, but thoughts will surely begin to turn to outmanoeuvring one another.

     

  73. 13km remaining from 188.7km

    16:12:44 CEST

    Mollema, Clarke and De Marchi continue to exchange turns on this shallow descent. The stage winner will come from this trio, who have 1:15 on the Molard group and 6:15 on the bunch.

     

  74. 12km remaining from 188.7km

    16:13:44 CEST

    The Molard group is still 5 minutes up on the bunch. He needs to hold at least 3:47 of that gap if he is to take the read jersey this evening.

     

  75. 16:14:50 CEST

    The descent is growing ever shallower, and the road flattens out completely in the final 6km, which should hand an advantage to the chasing peloton as Sky look to recoup some ground on Molard.

     

  76. 10km remaining from 188.7km

    16:15:26 CEST

    A tired Molard betrays signs of flagging in the chasing group, which is now 1:20 down on the leaders. The Frenchman is still virtual race leader.

     

  77. 8km remaining from 188.7km

    16:17:20 CEST

    De Marchi, Mollema and Clarke hit the flat roads on the final run-in to Roquetas de Mar. It's difficult to imagine that this trio will simply ride to the finish together and decide the stage in a three-up sprint.

     

  78. 7km remaining from 188.7km

    16:19:43 CEST

    Although they have little chance of stage victory, De Tier and Villella are still contributing fully to Molard's chase group, and this could help the Frenchman into the red jersey. They are 1:13 down on the three leaders, but the bunch is still at 6:05.

     

  79. 6.5km remaining from 188.7km

    16:20:33 CEST

    • Attack

    The unity of the front group finally shatters. Mollema accelerates. Clarke follows immediately. De Marchi is briefly distanced, but the Italian manages to chase back on. 

     

  80. 6km remaining from 188.7km

    16:21:06 CEST

    The pace slows slightly as the leading trio come back together, but they are still 1:10 up on the chasers. 

     

  81. 5km remaining from 188.7km

    16:22:17 CEST

    There is only the most uneasy of alliances among the three leaders at this point. De Marchi sits in third wheel with the air of a man planning an attack of his own.

     

  82. 4.5km remaining from 188.7km

    16:23:15 CEST

    • Attack

    As expected, De Marchi attacks from third wheel. Clarke is first to follow, then Mollema bridges up.

     

  83. 4km remaining from 188.7km

    16:23:52 CEST

    The Molard group is one minute down on the leaders and 4:50 up on the peloton. Molard looks set to take red barring a late injection of speed in the bunch.

     

  84. 3.5km remaining from 188.7km

    16:24:33 CEST

    It's increasingly cagey between Clarke, Mollema and De Marchi at the front. Clarke looks particularly assured as he rides on the front.

     

  85. 3.3km remaining from 188.7km

    16:25:06 CEST

    Clarke launches his first attack, but Mollema shuts it down and De Marchi follows.

     

  86. 3km remaining from 188.7km

    16:25:38 CEST

    Almost immediately, De Marchi has a go, but his move is swiftly shut down. The three leaders have 50 seconds on the Molard group and 5:45 on the bunch.

     

  87. 2km remaining from 188.7km

    16:26:47 CEST

    De Marchi, Clarke and Mollema slow considerably, fan across the road and eye one another cautiously. 

     

  88. 16:27:16 CEST

    This game of cat and mouse has seen the break's lead drop to 32 seconds, as Molard, De Tier and Villella remain fully committed to their chase.

     

  89. 1.5km remaining from 188.7km

    16:27:50 CEST

    The Molard group closes to within 20 seconds. Who is going to blink first and attack in the front group?

     

  90. 1km remaining from 188.7km

    16:28:20 CEST

    At the flamme rouge the gap is just 15 seconds, and still nobody takes up the pace...

     

  91. 16:28:42 CEST

    De Marchi leads into the final kilometre with Clarke and Mollema on his wheel...

     

  92. 16:29:15 CEST

    De Marchi is going to be forced to lead out the sprint. The Molard group is close but won't catch them...

     

  93. 16:29:34 CEST

    De Marchi leads out the sprint, but Clarke moves up and comes around him...

     

  94. 16:29:54 CEST

    Simon Clarke (EF-Drapac) wins stage 5 of the Vuelta a Espana.

     

  95. 16:30:28 CEST

    Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) takes second in the sprint, Alessandro De Marchi (BMC) is third.

     

  96. 16:31:03 CEST

    The Molard group comes in on their coattails. Sky have knocked off their pace in the main peloton, and it looks as though the Frenchman will take over the red jersey...

     

  97. 16:32:26 CEST

    Davide Villella (Astana) was 4th on the stage, just 8 seconds down on Clarke. Floris De Tier (LottoNL-Jumbo) was 5th and Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ) 6th.

     

  98. 16:33:09 CEST

    Sky set a steady pace in the closing kilometres as the clock ticks towards 3:47. Molard will take the red jersey from Kwiatkowski.

     

  99. 16:33:34 CEST

    Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ) is the new leader of the Vuelta a Espana.

     

  100. 16:36:21 CEST

    Result:

     

    1 Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 4:36:07
    2 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
    3 Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing Team
    4 Davide Villella (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:08
    5 Floris De Tier (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:08
    6 Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:08
    7 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:01:58
    8 Jonathan Lastra Martinez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:02:00
    9 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:02:00
    10 Merhawi Kudus (Eri) Dimension Data 0:02:00

     

  101. 16:36:55 CEST

    The peloton comes in 4:55 down, meaning that Molard will carry a lead of more than a minute into stage 6.

     

  102. 16:37:33 CEST

    General classification after stage 5:

    1 Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 18:27:20
    2 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky 0:01:01
    3 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:08
    4 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:01:11
    5 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:13

     

  103. 16:43:58 CEST

    General classification after stage 5:


    1 Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 18:27:20
    2 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky 0:01:01
    3 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:08
    4 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:01:11
    5 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:13
    6 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:01:26
    7 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida 0:01:31
    8 Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:34
    9 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:01:34
    10 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:01:38

  104. 16:45:36 CEST

    This is the second Vuelta stage win of Simon Clarke's career after his victory ahead of Tony Martin at the summit finish at Valdezcaray in 2012. 

     

  105. 16:46:23 CEST

    Simon Clarke reacts to his victory: “It's just amazing. I worked so hard since I last won a stage here, and I just couldn't repeat it. It's taken me so long to get back there and have my stars aligned. Even today I wasn't sure it was possible. I knew I had good legs, but when you have a breakaway with so many riders, the cooperation is never very good. As we saw, the winning move went on the descent. It was a tricky one to pick. I knew I had good legs and I just had to pray that the moves I was doing were the right ones.

    I grew up on the track since I was 15, it was just like track racing. I know that De Marchi is fast, but it's such a long stage. It's so hard to sprint after that. Even I was cramping when Mollema attacked and I just rode through it. I backed myself. I was so worried they would catch us from behind, but in that situation you just have to be as cold as ice. You've got to be willing to lose to win; I was, and I came out on top.”

     

  106. 16:51:55 CEST

    The 28-year-old Molard scored the biggest win of his career this spring when he claimed stage 6 of Paris-Nice in Vence, ahead of Tim Wellens and Julian Alaphilippe. FDJ last held the overall lead in 2005, when Brad McGee wore the then-golden jersey for four days.

     

  107. 17:04:32 CEST

    Simon Clarke cuts a jubliant figure as he crosses the line

     

  108. 17:05:37 CEST

    Simon Clarke raises his arms in celebration

     

  109. 17:06:08 CEST

    Simon Clarke leads Mollema and De Marchi

     

  110. 17:33:54 CEST

    Rudy Molard took red after stage 5

     

  111. 17:53:11 CEST

    Result:

     

    1 Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 4:36:07

    2 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
    3 Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing Team
    4 Davide Villella (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:08
    5 Floris De Tier (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:08
    6 Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:08
    7 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:01:58
    8 Jonathan Lastra Martinez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:02:00
    9 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:02:00
    10 Merhawi Kudus (Eri) Dimension Data 0:02:00

     

  112. 17:53:28 CEST

    General classification after stage 5:

     


    1 Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 18:27:20
    2 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky 0:01:01
    3 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:08
    4 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:01:11
    5 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:13
    6 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:01:26
    7 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida 0:01:31
    8 Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:34
    9 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:01:34
    10 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:01:38

     

  113. 18:00:33 CEST

    Thanks for joining our live coverage of the Vuelta a Espana on Cyclingnews. A full report, results and pictures are here, and Alasdair Fotheringham will have all the news and reaction from Roquetas de Mar.

     

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