Vuelta a Espana: Simon Clarke wins stage 5

Simon Clarke (EF Education First-Drapac) took victory in Roquetas de Mar on stage 5 of the Vuelta a Espana as the breakaway won for the second day running. Clarke out-sprinted Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) and Alessandro De Marchi (BMC Racing), who had attacked from a sizeable breakaway with 60 kilometres remaining.

Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ), who finished in the group behind Clarke, was the surprise recipient of the red jersey, ousting Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) from the top spot. Molard holds a 1:01 advantage over Kwiatkowski with Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) in third place at 1:08.

After Dimension Data finally broke their drought of WorldTour wins on Tuesday, EF Education First-Drapac were the only WorldTour team left missing a victory at the highest level. Pierre Rolland had come close for them the day before, but it was Clarke who finally did it, adding to his first Vuelta victory from the 2012 race. Coming into the finish sandwiched between De Marchi and Mollema, Clarke used his track nous to take the win by a bike's length.

"It's just amazing. I worked so hard since I last won a stage here, and I just couldn't repeat it. It's taken me so long to get back there and have my stars aligned. Even today I wasn't sure it was possible," said Clarke. "I knew I had good legs, but when you have a breakaway with so many riders, the cooperation is never very good. As we saw, the winning move went on the descent. It was a tricky one to pick. I knew I had good legs and I just had to pray that the moves I was doing were the right ones.

"I grew up on the track since I was 15, it was just like track racing. I know that De Marchi is fast, but it's such a long stage. It's so hard to sprint after that. Even I was cramping when Mollema attacked and I just rode through it. I backed myself. I was so worried they would catch us from behind, but in that situation you just have to be as cold as ice. You've got to be willing to lose to win, and I was and I came out on top."

The stage was constantly in flux as groups split and changed throughout the day. One constant was De Marchi, who was present in almost every attack and ultimately set up the race-winning move on an uncategorised ascent. Clarke and Mollema soon joined him and the trio remained together over the final haul up Alto El Marchal and through the long descent to the finish line.

In the final kilometres, nobody was keen to invest too much in the drive to the line and they were almost caught by Molard and his two companions. They didn’t quite manage it, but Molard would get the huge consolation prize of the red jersey.

How it happened

The challenging opening to the Vuelta a Espana with another lumpy affair from Granada to Roquetas de Mar, featuring two classified climbs. Kwiatkowski was once again in red after defending his jersey on the Vuelta's first summit finish.

After a successful breakaway on stage 4, there was a hotly contested battle to make the escape group this time out. With 40 kilometres of racing in the tank, a large group of 24 riders sprang clear but they too would be brought back to heel. Cofidis rider Stephane Rossetto began another flurry of attacks when he went off the front as the race hit the first climb of the day, the third category the Alto de Orgiva. The Frenchman would soon be joined by another breakaway specialist in Alessandro De Marchi (BMC Racing) and then Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo).

The three were brought back but would eventually make it into the 25-man move that went with just over 120 kilometres remaining. Following a furious start to the day, the peloton – which was led by Team Sky throughout the day – was happy to ease up and allowed the break to gain three minutes as they hit the 100km to go mark. With such a large group, it is always difficult to get people to work together and it wasn't long before there were attacks coming from the leading group.

Rossetto and De Marchi were once again the trouble makers in that scenario, with their barrage breaking the group into pieces. The pair carried on together as the riders behind failed to organise a cohesive chase. The accord would finally break up front as De Marchi decided to go it alone with 60 kilometres to go, leaving Rossetto to the sharks on a short uncategorised climb.

It would be another five or so kilometres before De Marchi had any company with Clarke and Mollema making it across the gap. Andrey Amador (Movistar) would be the next to try and bridge over, taking Alexandre Geniez (AG2R La Mondiale) with him. A breathless chase from Floris De Tier (LottoNL-Jumbo) saw the chase group now number three.

They too would be reabsorbed by the group behind as the advantage over the peloton grew to over six minutes. Once again, as so often at the Vuelta, it looked like the breakaway would be victorious. Davide Villella (Astana) would be the next to have a go at catching the three out front, bringing the gap down to as low as 20 seconds before being caught by Molard and De Tier. Molard had started the day just 3:46 down on Kwiatkowski and was now racing to take a hold of the red jersey.

As the leaders crested the final climb to begin the long descent towards the finish they had 45 seconds on their chasers with the peloton now 6:17 behind. The gap would increase to 1:20 for the leaders over the chasers by the foot of the descent, while the peloton was at a similar distance to where they had been at the top.

With just under 10 kilometres to go once they reached the flat, it would be a pursuit to the line for all involved. Team Sky had woken up to the possibility of losing the red jersey and had the group strung out in a long line as they tried to take back the one minute needed to keep Kwiatkowski in the race lead.

As the riders rolled into town, the leaders would begin testing each other's legs, putting in small digs to see how the others would react. Their playing would allow the chasers to close them down. However, Clarke, De Marchi and Mollema would duke it out for the win with Clarke taking it in the sprint for the line.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale4:36:07
2Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-SegafredoRow 1 - Cell 2
3Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 2 - Cell 2
4Davide Villella (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:00:08
5Floris De Tier (Bel) LottoNL-JumboRow 4 - Cell 2
6Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 5 - Cell 2
7Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:01:58
8Jonathan Lastra Martinez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:02:00
9Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 8 - Cell 2
10Merhawi Kudus (Eri) Dimension DataRow 9 - Cell 2
11Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar TeamRow 10 - Cell 2
12Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 11 - Cell 2
13Pavel Kochetkov (Rus) Katusha-AlpecinRow 12 - Cell 2
14Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain-MeridaRow 13 - Cell 2
15Mikel Iturria Segurola (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-MuriasRow 14 - Cell 2
16Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team0:03:52
17Sepp Kuss (USA) LottoNL-JumboRow 16 - Cell 2
18Jai Hindley (Aus) Team SunwebRow 17 - Cell 2
19Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-SegafredoRow 18 - Cell 2
20Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky0:04:55
21Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team SkyRow 20 - Cell 2
22Sergio Henao (Col) Team SkyRow 21 - Cell 2
23Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team SkyRow 22 - Cell 2
24Benjamin King (USA) Dimension DataRow 23 - Cell 2
25David De La Cruz (Spa) Team SkyRow 24 - Cell 2
26Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 25 - Cell 2
27Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-HansgroheRow 26 - Cell 2
28Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar TeamRow 27 - Cell 2
29Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 28 - Cell 2
30Benjamin Thomas (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 29 - Cell 2
31Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-HansgroheRow 30 - Cell 2
32Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar TeamRow 31 - Cell 2
33Michael Albasini (Swi) Mitchelton-ScottRow 32 - Cell 2
34Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 33 - Cell 2
35Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar TeamRow 34 - Cell 2
36Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-ScottRow 35 - Cell 2
37Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 36 - Cell 2
38Ryan Gibbons (RSA) Dimension DataRow 37 - Cell 2
39Jhonatan Restrepo (Col) Katusha-AlpecinRow 38 - Cell 2
40Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 39 - Cell 2
41Johann Van Zyl (RSA) Dimension DataRow 40 - Cell 2
42Winner Anacona (Col) Movistar TeamRow 41 - Cell 2
43Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-MeridaRow 42 - Cell 2
44Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team SunwebRow 43 - Cell 2
45Martijn Tusveld (Ned) Team SunwebRow 44 - Cell 2
46Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team SunwebRow 45 - Cell 2
47Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 46 - Cell 2
48Omar Fraile (Spa) Astana Pro TeamRow 47 - Cell 2
49Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team SunwebRow 48 - Cell 2
50Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro TeamRow 49 - Cell 2
51Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 50 - Cell 2
52Francisco Ventoso (Spa) BMC Racing TeamRow 51 - Cell 2
53Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-MeridaRow 52 - Cell 2
54Cristian Rodriguez Martin (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 53 - Cell 2
55Jorge Cubero Galvez (Spa) Burgos BHRow 54 - Cell 2
56Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 55 - Cell 2
57Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) UAE Team EmiratesRow 56 - Cell 2
58Edward Ravasi (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 57 - Cell 2
59Joey Rosskopf (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 58 - Cell 2
60Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro TeamRow 59 - Cell 2
61Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 60 - Cell 2
62Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 61 - Cell 2
63Eduard Prades Reverter (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-MuriasRow 62 - Cell 2
64Bert-Jan Lindeman (Ned) LottoNL-JumboRow 63 - Cell 2
65Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-JumboRow 64 - Cell 2
66Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 65 - Cell 2
67Mickael Delage (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 66 - Cell 2
68George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-JumboRow 67 - Cell 2
69Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-ScottRow 68 - Cell 2
70Louis Meintjes (RSA) Dimension DataRow 69 - Cell 2
71Damien Howson (Aus) Mitchelton-ScottRow 70 - Cell 2
72Tiago Machado (Por) Katusha-AlpecinRow 71 - Cell 2
73Jesus Ezquerra Muela (Spa) Burgos BHRow 72 - Cell 2
74Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 73 - Cell 2
75Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing TeamRow 74 - Cell 2
76Léo Vincent (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 75 - Cell 2
77Simone Petilli (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 76 - Cell 2
78Laurens De Plus (Bel) Quick-Step FloorsRow 77 - Cell 2
79Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-HansgroheRow 78 - Cell 2
80Mikel Bizkarra Etxegibel (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-MuriasRow 79 - Cell 2
81Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 80 - Cell 2
82Daniel Moreno (Spa) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 81 - Cell 2
83José Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-AlpecinRow 82 - Cell 2
84Luis Guillermo Mas Bonet (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 83 - Cell 2
85Bjorg Lambrecht (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 84 - Cell 2
86Enric Mas (Spa) Quick-Step FloorsRow 85 - Cell 2
87Igor Anton (Spa) Dimension DataRow 86 - Cell 2
88Georg Preidler (Aut) Groupama-FDJRow 87 - Cell 2
89Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La MondialeRow 88 - Cell 2
90Jose Herrada (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 89 - Cell 2
91Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 90 - Cell 2
92Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 91 - Cell 2
93Pierre Rolland (Fra) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 92 - Cell 2
94Mathias Le Turnier (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 93 - Cell 2
95Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 94 - Cell 2
96Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 95 - Cell 2
97Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Katusha-AlpecinRow 96 - Cell 2
98Reto Hollenstein (Swi) Katusha-AlpecinRow 97 - Cell 2
99Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team EmiratesRow 98 - Cell 2
100Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-AlpecinRow 99 - Cell 2
101Mark Padun (Ukr) Bahrain-MeridaRow 100 - Cell 2
102Hector Saez Benito (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-MuriasRow 101 - Cell 2
103Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-SegafredoRow 102 - Cell 2
104Sergio Pardilla Bellon (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 103 - Cell 2
105Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team EmiratesRow 104 - Cell 2
106Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Eri) Dimension DataRow 105 - Cell 2
107Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 106 - Cell 2
108Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing TeamRow 107 - Cell 2
109Simon Geschke (Ger) Team SunwebRow 108 - Cell 2
110Michael Storer (Aus) Team SunwebRow 109 - Cell 2
111Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing TeamRow 110 - Cell 2
112Nicholas Schultz (Aus) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 111 - Cell 2
113Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-ScottRow 112 - Cell 2
114José Mendes (Por) Burgos BH0:06:11
115Ian Boswell (USA) Katusha-Alpecin0:07:20
116Oscar Rodriguez Garaicoechea (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias0:11:11
117Pavel Sivakov (Rus) Team SkyRow 116 - Cell 2
118Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 117 - Cell 2
119Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 118 - Cell 2
120Jetse Bol (Ned) Burgos BH0:13:25
121Stephane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:13:29
122Aritz Bagues Kalparsoro (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias0:14:40
123Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida0:17:16
124Alexandre Geniez (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 123 - Cell 2
125Jan Hirt (Cze) Astana Pro TeamRow 124 - Cell 2
126Pablo Torres Muiño (Spa) Burgos BHRow 125 - Cell 2
127Diego Rubio Hernandez (Spa) Burgos BHRow 126 - Cell 2
128Nikita Stalnov (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 127 - Cell 2
129Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Quick-Step Floors0:17:24
130Lars Boom (Ned) LottoNL-JumboRow 129 - Cell 2
131Michael Mørkøv (Den) Quick-Step FloorsRow 130 - Cell 2
132Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step FloorsRow 131 - Cell 2
133Daniele Bennati (Ita) Movistar TeamRow 132 - Cell 2
134Kasper Asgreen (Den) Quick-Step FloorsRow 133 - Cell 2
135Jordi Simon Casulleras (Spa) Burgos BHRow 134 - Cell 2
136Matthias Brändle (Aut) Trek-SegafredoRow 135 - Cell 2
137Markel Irizar (Spa) Trek-SegafredoRow 136 - Cell 2
138Julien Duval (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 137 - Cell 2
139Marc Sarreau (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 138 - Cell 2
140Garikoitz Bravo Oiarbide (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-MuriasRow 139 - Cell 2
141Nelson Andres Soto Martinez (Col) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 140 - Cell 2
142Antoine Duchesne (Can) Groupama-FDJRow 141 - Cell 2
143Nicola Conci (Ita) Trek-SegafredoRow 142 - Cell 2
144Danny van Poppel (Ned) LottoNL-JumboRow 143 - Cell 2
145Alex Edmondson (Aus) Mitchelton-ScottRow 144 - Cell 2
146Max Walscheid (Ger) Team SunwebRow 145 - Cell 2
147Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-MuriasRow 146 - Cell 2
148Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-SegafredoRow 147 - Cell 2
149Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-HansgroheRow 148 - Cell 2
150Kiel Reijnen (USA) Trek-SegafredoRow 149 - Cell 2
151Marcus Burghardt (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 150 - Cell 2
152Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Team SkyRow 151 - Cell 2
153Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 152 - Cell 2
154Loic Chetout (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 153 - Cell 2
155Thomas Leezer (Ned) LottoNL-JumboRow 154 - Cell 2
156Jelle Wallays (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 155 - Cell 2
157Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 156 - Cell 2
158Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 157 - Cell 2
159Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut) Bora-HansgroheRow 158 - Cell 2
160Antonio Molina Canet (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 159 - Cell 2
161Oscar Cabedo Carda (Spa) Burgos BHRow 160 - Cell 2
162Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 161 - Cell 2
163Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Team SkyRow 162 - Cell 2
164Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 163 - Cell 2
165Pieter Serry (Bel) Quick-Step FloorsRow 164 - Cell 2
166Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 165 - Cell 2
167Kenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 166 - Cell 2
168Mitchell Docker (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b CannondaleRow 167 - Cell 2
169Luka Pibernik (Slo) Bahrain-MeridaRow 168 - Cell 2
170Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 169 - Cell 2
171Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-ScottRow 170 - Cell 2
172Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-ScottRow 171 - Cell 2
173Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 172 - Cell 2
174Stephen Cummings (GBr) Dimension DataRow 173 - Cell 2
175Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick-Step FloorsRow 174 - Cell 2
176Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:25:26
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Intermediate sprint - Laujar de Andarax, km. 117.5
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Stephane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits4pts
2Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing Team2Row 1 - Cell 3
3Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates1Row 2 - Cell 3
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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale25pts
2Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo20Row 1 - Cell 3
3Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing Team16Row 2 - Cell 3
4Davide Villella (Ita) Astana Pro Team14Row 3 - Cell 3
5Floris De Tier (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo12Row 4 - Cell 3
6Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ10Row 5 - Cell 3
7Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal9Row 6 - Cell 3
8Jonathan Lastra Martinez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA8Row 7 - Cell 3
9Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida7Row 8 - Cell 3
10Merhawi Kudus (Eri) Dimension Data6Row 9 - Cell 3
11Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team5Row 10 - Cell 3
12Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates4Row 11 - Cell 3
13Pavel Kochetkov (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin3Row 12 - Cell 3
14Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain-Merida2Row 13 - Cell 3
15Mikel Iturria Segurola (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias1Row 14 - Cell 3
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Mountain 1 (Cat. 3) Alto de Órgiva, km. 55
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Stephane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits3pts
2Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing Team2Row 1 - Cell 3
3Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo1Row 2 - Cell 3
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Mountain 2 (Cat. 2) Alto El Marchal, km. 162
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo5pts
2Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale3Row 1 - Cell 3