After the chaos and controversey that surrounded stage 4 of the 2019 Tour of California, some sense of normality returned on stage 5 of the race on Thursday when Bahrain-Merida's Iván García Cortina sprinted to his first professional win, beating Deceuninck-QuickStep's Max Richeze and EF Education First's Sergio Higuita in a reduced-group sprint.
On what was another hilly day en route from Pismo Beach to Ventura, a 12-man breakaway, which included green points jersey-holder Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), animated proceedings, and wasn't caught until 8km of the stage to go.
Just before the catch, Deceuninck-QuickStep's Tim Decelercq went it alone, hoping to add to his team's three-in-a-row stage victories at this year's race. However, it was all over for the Belgian when the race split apart on the final, unclassified climb, which came with five kilometres to go.
García Cortina emerged to break Deceuninck-QuickStep's stranglehold on stage victories, although only just, getting the better of Richeze and an impressive Higuita – in his first WorldTour race – in the sprint for the line.
Higuita's EF Education First team leader Tejay van Garderen held on to his yellow jersey, but gave up three seconds to Deceuninck's Kasper Asgreen, who leapfrogged Gianni Moscon (Team Ineos) to take second in the overall rankings after taking some bonus seconds on an earlier intermediate sprint.
Van Garderen now leads Asgreen by just four seconds, with Moscon another two seconds back in third place on the GC, with just two stages now remaining, including Friday's 'queen stage' to Mount Baldy, where this year's race should be decided.
Watch how stage 5 unfolded in the video highlights above.
Thank you for signing up to Cycling News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.