While Kendall Ryan (Team Tibco) won the opening stage of the Amgen Women's Race, that man Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step) was at it again in the men's event, winning his second stage in this 2018 Tour Of California, again relegating Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) and Bora-Hansgrohe's Peter Sagan to the lower steps of the podium.
Stage 5 was animated yet again by an early breakaway, which this time included a bona fide WorldTour rider in Stijn Vandenbergh of AG2R La Mondiale, who joined Tanner Putt (UnitedHealthcare), Michael Rice (Hagens Berman Axeon), Ruben Companioni and Holowesko-Citadel teammate Fabian Lienhard in the five-man escape.
Inevitably, it was all over for the break in the closing kilometres as Quick-Step and the other sprinters' teams wound things up, but not before Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) and Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) succumbed to a mechanical problem and a puncture, respectively, inside the final 10km.
And while neither would feature in the final sprint – Kittel never made it back to the bunch, while Cavendish's lead-out train was caught up in a crash in the last 3km, although the British sprinter didn't fall – it was a thrilling finale that saw Gaviria come out on top, proving that he really is the best sprinter in California this year.
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