Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol 2018: Stage 5
January 1 - February 18, Barbate, Andalucia, Road - 2.HC
Hello and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage 5 of the Ruta del Sol. The final stage is a 14km time trial that includes a 7km section on dirt roads.
Ruta del Sol 2018 hub page
Ruta del Sol 2018 start list
Ruta del Sol stage 2: Poels takes control
Ruta del Sol stage 3: Modolo gets his win in Herrera
Ruta del Sol stage 4: Wellens wins uphill finish in Alcala de los Gazules
Chris Froome slips behind on final climb at Ruta del Sol
Hola and welcome to the our live coverage of the decisive 14km time trial.
The dirt road section gives the TT an extra twist and will surely play a part in deciding who wins this year's race.
Stay with us for all the times, info and news from the race.
Our man at the Ruta del Sol Alasdair Fotheringham has been out to study the course of the 14km TT.
It follows a 14km loop to the west of Barbate in the south of Spain.
He describes the route as "basically a long gradual climb of around 7km followed by a very fast, quite technical descent."
He also has info on the dirt road section.
"After the first section through the village, a sharp hairpin takes you onto the long steady climb on packed gravel roads, with a lot of dry mud on top," he says.
"It is narrow, twisting, not steep or exposed but about 5-10 percent all the way up. About 8-10 minutes of climbing. Then there are a couple of sweeping ascents, on tarmac, two cattlegrids (with plates to get across them) then bad, rutted but tarmac rural road down to village again."
He adds: "The weather is dry with some wind and warm."
His final verdict says it all: "It's a very technical course, with an obvious risk of punctures, mechanicals and crashes on descent."
Riders and teams went on recon rides this morning and many were surprised when they saw the dirt road.
The Israel Cycling Academy tweeted this:
GRAVEL TT? Yes. INSANE? Yes. So what? Our top rider here @hermansben is going into this with a clear goal: Gain the precious 11 sec to get into the GC top 10.
Some of the early starters have already finished, with Kamil Gradek (CCC Sprandi) fastest so far in a time of 17:48.
That's the time to beat for now.
Race leader Tim Wellens is last off at 15:20 local time.
Other names to watch include:
Stef Clement (LottoNl-Jumbo) 14:42
Chris Froome (Team Sky): 14:55
Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNl-Jumbo) 15:08
Marc Soler (Movistar) 15:12
Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) 15:14
Wout Poels (Team Sky) 15:16
Mikel Landa (Movistar) 15:18
The dirt track is dry but much of it uphill, forcing the riders to choose between an aero position and dancing on the pedals.
The dirt road of the Ruta del Sol TT reminds many of the dirt roads of the Strade Bianche race and Eroica sportif ride in Tuscany.
The surface is similar with perhaps this time trial section a little smoother.
Taking the right line and avoiding rough sections that spark flats will be vital.
Belgian Road Champion Oliver Naesen (AG2R-La Mondiale) set a time of 18:44 after a steady ride.
His race is done and so it's time to focus on the upcoming Belgian weekend on home roads in Flanders.
We have a new best time!
Dylan Van Baarle (Team Sky) set 17:23. He seems to have been a test ride for Froome and Poels.
We understand that Froome and Poels followed early starter and teammate Christian Knees in the team car to fully understand the efforts needed during the TT.
We can Roman Sicard of Direct Energie out on the TT course from the Cyclingnews blimp.
New best time!
David de la Cruz beats his Team sky teammate to take the lead with a time of 17:11.
Here comes Sicard. He's fast and touched 75km/h on the final descent but is not fast enough, setting a time of 18:17. Indeed he is almost caught by minute man Alex Gougeard (AG2R).
Ryan Anderson (Rally) is coming in soon. He's giving it maximum power in the final kilometres.
Gougeard was only 8 seconds slower than De la Cruz and is currently second fastest.
As the TV motor bike follows Javier Moreno, we can see the rough surface of the dirt roads. It's spectacular to watch but must be terrible to ride.
Here we go! Chris Froome starts his time trial. He will soon hit the dirt roads.
Froome is already on the dirt section but stays tucked in his aero position.
Here comes Stef Clement (LottoNL-Jumbo). He sets a time of 17:18. Not enough to take the lead.
Despite riding on the dirt, Froome is travelling at 36km/h.
Froome seems to be asphalting the dirt roads. He's fast and smooth in his aero position, even when the road climbs gradually.
Froome has completed the dirt section and is on the asphalt that dives down to the finish. He seems fast.
At the start the big name overall contenders are about to start at 2-minute intervals.
Luis Leon Sanchez is off. He could be a overall winner today.
Froome is about to catch his minute man Jelle Vanedert of Lotto.
Froome sets 17:38. That's surprisingly slower than is teammates.
Froome was considered a stage contender today but clearly is not yet on great form.
The dirt roads is a real test of strength, with riders having to fight the rough surface and the gradua climb.
It is spectacular to watch.
Ben Hermans (Israel Cycling Academy) sets a time of 18:43.
Wout Poels is off. Team Sky will be hoping he does better than Froome.
Ahead of him Fuglsang is on the dirt road. He is a former MTB rider but has probably never done a dirt TT before.
The Dane is pushing a high cadence as he tries to keep on top of his gear.
Mikel Landa (Movistar) starts his ride and gets a huge cheer from the crowd.
Only Tim Wellens is yet to start.
Wellens starts. He's in the red leader's jersey but is not wearing sunglasses despite the dusty dirt roads he faces.
While the big-names fight for overall victory, Davide de la Cruz is set to win his first race for Team Sky. He leads with the fastest time of 17:11.
Landa stays in his TT tuck on the dirt road. He's clearly learnt a few TT tricks during his time at Team Sky but can he win today after he's moved to Movistar?
Wellens is also in an aero tuck and is flying as the dirt road climbs gradually.
He wants this overall victory.
Simon Clarke (EF-Drapac) sets a solid time of 18:01.
Kruijiswijk sets 17:46.
Sanches is off the pace. He sets 17:35.
Poels is through the dirt section and is on the fast descent to the finish.
This race will be decided by just a few seconds.
Marc Soler sets 17:20. That could lift him into he top 3.
17:41 for Fuglsang. That might not be enough to win or even finish in the top 3 today.
Wellens is on the descent to the finish. He's safely through the dirt road section.
Here comes Poels.
He sets a time of 17:22.
That means that Wellens has to finish in less than 17:33.
This is a nail biting finish.
Only Landa and Wellens are left to finish. They're fighting for overall victory.
Landa is off the pace.
He sets 18:00. Poels will move past him. But can the Dutchman win? It depends on Wellens' time.
Wellens sets a time of 17:25.
Our quick maths confirms Wellens as the overall race winner, with de la Cruz of Team Sky taking the stage victryr.
Team Sky won the TT but perhaps not with the rider they expected.
Froome was off the pace and finished out side the top ten, 27 seconds slower than De la Cruz.
We'll have all the maths and the final GC very soon.
Wellens is confirmed as the overall winner, eight seconds ahead of Poels.
Marc Soler (Movistar) did indeed move up to third overall, at 27 seconds.
Fuglsang is fourth at 30 seconds.
Big loser of the day was Mikel Landa (Movistar). He lost a chunk of time and slipped to sixth overall, 42 seconds down on Wellens.
Chris Froome (Team Sky) finished 11th, 27 seconds slower that de la Cruz in the time trial.
This is the top ten for the stage:
1 David De La Cruz (Spa) Team Sky 0:17:11
2 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 0:00:06
3 Stef Clement (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:07
4 Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:08
5 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:09
6 Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky 0:00:11
7 Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Team Sky 0:00:12
8 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:14
9 Jan Tratnik (Slo) CCC Sprandi Polkowice 0:00:24
10 Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team.
This is the final top ten on GC:
1 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal 17:41:50
2 Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky 0:00:08
3 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:27
4 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:00:30
5 Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team
6 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:42
7 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:01:19
8 Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 0:01:41
9 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 0:01:51
10 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:57
Here's Tim Wellens in the Ruta del Sol leader's red jersey. He will take it home to Belgium tonight.
For a full stage report, photo gallery and results, head over to our stage report page by clicking here.
Thanks for joining us for live coverage from the Ruta del Sol.
Head over to our other live for full coverage of the final mountain stage of the Volta ao Algarve as Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) looks to defend his race lead and win overall.
Click here for the live updates.
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