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Live coverage

Vuelta a España 2014: Stage 5

Hello and welcome to live coverage from stage 5 of the Vuelta a Espana.

You join us after 30km of racing covered. We've a two man break up the road with Pim Ligthart and Tony Martin clear of the field by over three minutes. The duo broke away inside the opening few miles of the race and MTN, Shimano and Orica have let the go after a brief chase.

Heading into today's stage, here's where things stand on with Matthews still in red.

 

1 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica Greenedge 13:30:44
2 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:08
3 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:15
4 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:19
5 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale 0:00:21
6 Jhoan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica Greenedge
7 George Bennett (NZl) Cannondale 0:00:24
8 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek Factory Racing
9 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:27
10 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team

The big news from today is that Edvald Boasson Hagen has signed a deal with MTN for the next two years. The South African team had been chasing the Team Sky rider for a number of weeks. Negotiations cooled with Tinkoff Saxo in pole position but according to Norwegian reports the former Gent-Wevelgem winner is heading to MTN. That's despite the team manager informing Cyclingnews last night that no contract had been signed. Boasson Hagen has called a press conference for later today. Here's the story as it stands.

140km remaining from 180km

FDJ have put a couple of men on the front and it's brought the leaders back to 1:30 after 40km of racing.

We're less than 20km from the first intermediate sprint of the day. The break may be caught by then, depending on how much work the peloton are willing to invest. As for the rest of the stage, there's one more intermediate sprint before a third category climb inside the final 15km. It's another day for the sprinters.

Away from the Vuelta and Cannondale are taking shape for next year. You can find a current list of Garmin riders in and out of contract - as things stand - right here.

124km remaining from 180km

56km into the stage and the break has added another minute to their advantage, it's back out to 2:36.

Ligthart is first over the line at the intermediate sprint with Martin second. Bouhanni is third. The Frenchman started the day in third place in the points classification. He won the points jersey at the Giro d'Italia in May.

Matthews’ team-mate Simon Clarke explained that Orica-GreenEdge will not chase the breakaway today. “Yesterday it was a reduced bunch at the end”, he said. “There was a lack of lead out train. I just made sure Michael was on the right wheel. Unfortunately, it was a bit disorganized and he got a bit boxed in but he still had a great ride. Today we’re probably not gonna ride at all. Given that Michael will possibly lose the red jersey tomorrow, one day more or less in the lead wouldn’t change much. We can give it away one day earlier. We have other objectives in the Vuelta.”

 

114km remaining from 180km

66km of racing covered, and the gap is at 1:37.

The peloton and in particular FDJ really don't want to give Tony Martin too much room out there. He came within 50m of winning a stage in last year's race after being out on his own all day and these roads are perfect for his style of riding. The gap was once at three minutes but it has been under two for the last hour of racing.

Nearly 80km into the stage and the gap is down to 1:25. Other than a spot of training ahead of the Worlds and some time on TV, there doesnt appear to be much out there for the two-man break.

Once again, away from the Vuelta, Bradley Wiggins has talked up a possible bid at the hour record. The former Tour de France winner will look to defend his Tour of Britain title next month before racing the Worlds TT.

which originally came from The Guardian.

Nearly at the half-way point in the stage and the two leaders are about to go through the feedzone, their advantage stilll under the two minute mark.

100km into the stage and Martin and Ligthart are still pushing on but the gap is holding at around 90 seconds.

Still a group of sprinters' teams on the front setting the pace with under 80km of racing remaining in the stage.

A reminder of where we stand on GC:

 

1 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica Greenedge 13:30:44
2 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:08
3 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:15
4 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:19
5 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale 0:00:21
6 Jhoan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica Greenedge
7 George Bennett (NZl) Cannondale 0:00:24
8 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek Factory Racing
9 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:27
10 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team

Team Sky are near the front of the bunch and looking after Chris Froome. Alberto Contador and his Tinkoff Saxo team are also close by. The pace is fairly slow at the moment, due to the heat one suspects.

The peloton are taking some time for a late lunch and it's allowed the gap to the break to move out to 2:33 with 69km to go.

A mechanical for Tony Martin and he's now back in the peloton, leaving poor Pim out there on his own.

FDJ and Giant Shimano have a man each on the front, the gap at 2:40 with 63km to go. The bunch can almost see the Lotto rider, with the race stuck on long, straight and wide roads.

A bit more life from the peloton sees the gap slip to two minutes.

Rather interesting, Froome has attacked with a teammate and taken two seconds at the intermediate sprint.

That moves him up to 14th on GC and he now sits 33 seconds down Matthews. Those two seconds could be crucial later in the race though. Time will tell.

Almost into the final 50km of racing and it's still FDJ on the front with Giant Shimano offering some assistance. Team Sky follow, with Froome neatly tucked in behind his teammates.

Ligthart is on a small rise, well before the third category climb before the finish. The Lotto man has 1:06 on the bunch, with 45km to go.

Some people! At last! Ligthart's efforts finally see him reach a part of the route where crowds have come out to see the race.

The peloton are on the uncategorized climb now and it causes a brief slow down as they navigate through the tight roads. The gap is at 1:46 with FDJ still leading the chase.

And it's now Tinkoff who are leading the peloton on the short descent. All of a sudden they've lined the peloton out. Not much wind about but they're causing a bit of panic.

They're on a slight drag and riders are struggling to hold on, with Contador's men splitting the field with a bit of cross-wind action. There's not much wind but it's enough.

36km remaining from 180km

The bunch is in two at the moment. It looks like Froome has made the cut.

Katusha and Movistar are on the front too so one would suspect that Rodriguez, Quintana and Valverde have made the cut .The peloton is split into at least three groups.

There are maybe 50 riders in the lead group but then we have a large chase group behind, and another one further back. The race will change direction soon though.

Ligthart is still out in front, with a gap of 25 seconds. All of Tinkoff Saxo are on the front at the moment and they're driving along. Sky are helping too.

Team Sky are told to go back, Tinkoff aren't looking for help and the Danish/Russian team are pushing on with 32 km to go. Who has missed the split?

A few more riders have joined the Contador group, and they include Degenkolb and Bouhanni.

We're down to two main groups, the gap between them roughly 25-30 seconds. It looks like Garmin are leading the chase in the second group so maybe Talansky, Martin or Hesjedal have missed out. Race leader Matthews has made the split and Ligthart has been caught. 30km remaining.

Arredondo has missed the split but it's all looking a bit disorganised in the second group.

27km remaining from 180km

We're climbing and Tinkoff are setting a strong pace with the lead group once again lined out.

The second group on the road is coming back although Contador's men aren't sitting up just yet. Who thought Contador was really on coming here for a stage win?

Only around 20 riders haven't made contact with the front of the race. Tinkoff's move hasn't paid off but it's a warning to Contador's rivals.

We're close to the third category climb, with just 20km to go until the finish.

It's Movistar who are now setting the pace on the lower slopes before the climb. This should come down to a bunch sprint too with Bouhanni, Degenkolb and Matthews still in contention.

Onto the climb, the pitch is quite gentle, so the sprinters shouldn't have too much trouble.

There's a second group at 50 seconds and Talansky is apparently in there.

Garmin-Sharp's Dan Martin has made the split, however.

Near the top of the climb, there's a short attack and Bonet who leads the KOM has marked it.

Bonet has been dropped and it's a Caja Rural rider who is first over the climb.

The bunch crest the climb and we've just 14km of racing left.

Puncture for Boonen and there's little chance of the Omega rider making it back with 8km to go.

It's the GC teams on the front at the moment, rather than the sprinters' teams.

Degenkolb, Matthews, Bouhanni, and Ferrari are all here but with 5km to go they're they're waiting for their leadout men to move forward.

Tinkoff and Team Sky still on the front with just 3km to go.

All Sky with Kennaugh leading Froome. One last roundabout to come and that's why the GC guys have their teams on the front.

BMC make a train in the far right and it's enough to see them lead the race.

1km remaining from 180km

Just 1km to go and BMC lead the race.

Now it's a drag up to the finish. Gilbert is there.

It's Gilbert who comes around the Giant leadout man but has he got enough?

Degenkolb is making his move, Bouhanni on his right.

It's Degenkolb who takes it. Bouhanni with his arms up complaining about the German's sprint.

Degenkolb hit the front first, Bouhanni tried to come around him on the inside. He had enough room if he really wanted it but he wasn't close enough to make it.

Hofland managed to take third with Gilbert back in 7th place.

Bouhanni can’t argue with Degenkolb’s sprinting line. There was a slight deviation but not enough to make a difference. Bouhanni would have had more room if fans by the side of the finish hadn’t been waving plastic banners and similar crap in front of his face at 50kph.

It sounds like Bouhanni has lodged an appeal but Degenkolb is already on the podium. Two in a row for the German sprinter.

Michael Matthews (Orica GreenEdge) failed to feature in the sprint but retains his race lead.

1 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano 4:01:21
2 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:00:00
3 Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:00:00
4 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek Factory Racing 0:00:00
5 Paul Martens (Ger) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:00:00
6 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:00
7 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:00
8 Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) IAM Cycling 0:00:00
9 Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN - Qhubeka 0:00:00
10 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida 0:00:00

General classification after stage 5 17:35:05
1 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica Greenedge 0:00:13
2 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:20
3 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:24
4 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:26
5 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale 0:00:26
6 Jhoan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica Greenedge 0:00:29
7 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek Factory Racing 0:00:32
8 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:00:32
9 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:32
10 Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:00:32

No time gaps yet for the Talansky group but the American was a minute down with 15km remaining.

Thanks for joining us today. You can find our report, results and photos (they're coming) right here.

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