It was a day for the break on stage 5 of the Volta a Catalunya and though Ineos Grenadiers faced a large group out the front the British team again managed to maintain control of the race, not letting anyone go that remotely threatened their stranglehold on the overall podium.
The hilly stage with a long downhill run into the line was won by Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe), with a late solo attack from a group of 41 riders that were given a day of freedom after splitting the bunch and getting away. All the key general classification contenders finished in the Ineos Grenadiers controlled peloton 1:59 back.
“I think that pretty much everyone who wasn’t on GC wanted to be in the break today,” said GC leader Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) after stage 5. “You know that today was probably the last opportunity, other than the last stage. Tomorrow is for sure going to be a sprint so we had to chase and we had to pull more than we wanted to but in the end we had everything under control and it was a good day.”
The team ended the day with Yates maintaining his overall lead, Richie Porte 45 seconds back in second and then Geraint Thomas a further four seconds back in third, while Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe) remained the team’s nearest rivals at 1:03 behind Yates.
Yates took the race lead on stage 3 when he gained enough time on his overall rivals with an attack at 1.8 kilometres from the line and teammate Porte moved up to second place. The team then dominated the race’s toughest mountain stage, with Geraint Thomas also climbing into third on the overall behind his teammates on stage 4.
During stage 5 Ineos Grenadiers worked hard to pull back an early break that contained Fausto Masnada (Deceuninck-QuickStep) who was sitting in17th overall and while they didn’t panic when the more than 40 riders took off but they continued to put in the effort to keep the gap under control.
“Today was a hard stage, like I said we had to chase all day, but in the end we had it under control but you never know what can happen. Tomorrow it is probably the same protocol and obviously, like I keep saying the Barcelona stage is really tough,” said Yates.
The Volta’s final showdown consists of multiple laps through the central Barcelona park of Montjuic, tackling the climb that goes up to Montuic Castle, 2.5 kilometres long with a 600-metre stretch with ramps of up to 18 per cent.
“We will just take it day by day and hopefully we can keep control of the race,” said the Ineos Grenadiers GC leader.
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