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Vuelta a Espana stage 5 - Live coverage

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

It is less than an hour away from the start of the stage and the team presentation is well underway. There is some sun out there but it's a mild enough day in northern Spain at about 15 degrees. 

Yesterday was a rare chance for the sprinters, with Sam Bennett taking the win. The riders head back into the mountains today but it is unlikely to be a day for the overall contenders. Could we see a breakaway succeeding?

Nevertheless, let's take a look at how things stand after a particularly brutal opening week at the Vuelta a Espana. It is close at the top and someone could pinch the red jersey from Roglic if they fancied a cheeky attack towards the end of today's stage. 

1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 16:30:53

2 Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation 00:00:05

3 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers 00:00:13

4 Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team 00:00:32

5 Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Pro Cycling 00:00:38

6 Sepp Kuss (USA) Team Jumbo-Visma 00:00:44

7 Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:01:17

8 Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott 00:01:29

9 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team 00:01:55

10 George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-Visma 00:01:57

Don't forget, you can also follow stage 20 of the Giro d'Italia here on Cyclingnews. The riders are already out on route for what should be hugely important GC day. 

And the riders are off for what is due to be quite a long neutral start. Racing proper isn't expected for another 20 minutes.

The opening half of today's stage is very rolling but the toughest part of the day is reserved for the second half with a third category climb sandwiched by two second category ascents. It is perfect for a breakaway rider seeking a few KOM points and a stage win. As ever, it depends on how the GC riders decide to ride it. With a much bigger mountain test tomorrow, they may wish to conserve their energy. 

Richard Carapaz currently leads the mountains classification but his lead is pretty slim at the moment. 

1 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers 18

2 Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation 16

3 Sepp Kuss (USA) Team Jumbo-Visma 14

4 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 7

5 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal 6

6 Quentin Jauregui (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 6

7 Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team 6

8 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 6

9 Jetse Bol (Ned) Burgos-BH 4

10 Matteo Badilatti (Swi) Israel Start-Up Nation 3

Away from the Vuelta a Espana, there was a big rider protest at the Giro d'Italia yesterday. In the end, what was supposed to be the longest stage of the race ended up being the shortest. Adam Hansen was one of those in deep discussions with the race organisers at the start of the day. He later defended the riders' decision to protest. You can read what he had to say here.

The riders pass through kilometre zero and the attacks start coming. Tickets for the train are going to be hot property. 

Martin Salmon of Sunweb is the first rider to try his hand with an attack. 

The 22-year-old Salmon is a first yer neo-pro riding his first Grand Tour.

Salmon is reeled in and we now have a 14-rider group trying to get off the front. 

The 14 riders have just 10 seconds on the peloton behind. Can they snap the elastic or will more teams be interested in getting involved?

The leaders now have 20 seconds on the peloton. The riders up front are: Matteo Cattaneo (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), Will Barta (CCC), Rui Costa (UAE-Team Emirates), Robert Power (Sunweb), Omar Fraile (Astana), Romain Seigle (Groupama-FDJ), Stan Dewulf (Lotto Soudal), Pim Ligthart (Direct Energy), Fernando Barcelo (Cofidis), Michael Storer (Sunweb), Alex Edmondson (Mitchelton-Scott), Martin Salmon (Sunweb), Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma).

Fernando Barcelo is one of the riders in the move. He predicted that today's breakaway would go on the flat, when he spoke to LaVuelta.es ahead of  the stage, and it seems he was right. This is what he had to say before the stage:

“I’m delighted to be there, it’s always something to be proud of and today is a great opportunity because I know the route. It’s a shame to face such circumstances but it’s better to have it like this than to have nothing. It’s difficult, I think the finale suits rouleurs more than climbers. The first two climbs are hard and the downhills are technical so lots of things will happen. I’ll try to be in the break. It’s going to be difficult because the break will go on the flat and that’s not the best terrain for me… But I know I can get a reward if I get in the break.”

The 24-year-old Barcelo is from the start town of Huesca. This is his first season at WorldTour level after moving from Euskadi Basque Country-Murias to Cofidis for the 2020 season. 

The breakaway's advantage is not bit at just 28 seconds, this is far from over. A unnamed rider is trying to bridge the gap and is just four seconds ahead of the peloton. 

A number of teams are still interested in making this breakaway, including Trek-Segafredo and Caja Rural. Neither team has a rider up front and will be kicking themselves for missing the move. The gap has grown marginally to 36 seconds with a lone rider still in no man's land. 

The peloton caught are lone rider in the middle and just 29 seconds seperate the peloton and the breakaway. This has been a really quick start to the day. 

The average speed at the moment is 52kph. Tim Wellens tries to get off the front of the peloton but he doesn't get too far before he is caught. 

Burgos BH is also pitching in with the help at the front of the peloton. Neither of the Spanish ProTeams have made it into the move up front and probably have their DSs screaming in their ears right now. 

More attacks coming off the peloton. Two riders have now gone clear, one of which is Magnus Cort (EF Pro Cycling). The two riders are five seconds up on the peloton and 23 seconds behind the leaders. 

Magnus Cort and his companion have been reeled back in. During all of this, the group of 14 have maintained a gap of about 30 seconds. It is a strong group and the peloton is finding it hard to bring them back. 

138km to go

The pace has dropped slightly but it's still pretty speedy at 49.5kph as the peloton continues to try and bring this break closer. Of course, this fast start will have an impact when the riders hit the climbs in the latter part of the stage. 

Tim Wellens has been among those trying to bridge the gap to the front. His teammate Stan Dewulf is up there, but he'd also like to be in the mix. This is what Wellens had to say to LaVuelta.es before the start:

“I think today is a good day to be in the breakaway. Like everyday, it’s a little bit of a lottery. I would like to be in, of course, but it’s very difficult. Several teammates also want to be there and many riders in the peloton. [It’s a good stage for a breakaway] because maybe the GC teams won’t want to pull and it won’t be a bunch sprint so a lot of teams are hoping for a breakaway.”

Vuelta a Espana stage 5

A superb photo illustrating the gap between the breakaway and the peloton.  (Image credit: Charly Lopez/Vuelta a Espana)

An hour into racing, the average speed has been 52.6kph. The riders would be breaking the speed limits on most residential roads at that rate. 

Caja Rural and Ef Pro Cycling are still on the front of the peloton, hammering away. This gap is not coming down as they would like, though. Who will snap first, the break or the peloton?

121km to go

The gap between the 14 escapees and the peloton is stil just over 30 seconds. 

NTT Pro Cyling, who are also missing from the breakaway, have decided to lend a helping hand. This must feel like trying to bail out a boat with a sieve at times. No matter what the peloton does, the gap is still there.

With NTT helping to pull, the advantage has come down dramatically. Michael Woods has managed to get across the gap and make it a 15-man breakaway.

While Woods made the juncture, there are still teams in the peloton not happy to be missing from the move and the breakaway has been brought back. After more than 60 kilometres of racing, it's gruppo compatto. 

Helping the riders along, but probably not helping the breakaway, there is a tailwind at the moment. It's quite slight but it all helps. 

It is relentless at the Vuelta a Espana at the moment. Andrey Amador and Remi Cavagna have attacked off the front. Who will join them?

Cavagna and Amador have just 12 seconds on the peloton. The pace is still high at 50kph.

Both Amador and Cavagna are very strong riders but with so many teams interested in getting into the break they're unlikely to be allowed to go away as a pair. The peloton is coming fast behind them.

Indeed, two more riders have joined them. Stan Dewulf, who was in that earlier break, and Magnus Cort, who tried and failed to get across. 

107km to go

And it's all back together. 

Getting into the move that finally does make it free will be a mixture of luck and persistence. Only when the selection is deemed right will the peloton finally sit up and let it go. 

Cavagna had another go off the front and he was joined by Schelling. They got all of  five seconds up the road before they were brought back. 

98km to go

More than 80 kilometres have been ridden and we still don't have a firm breakaway. There's about 20km until the first climb of the day. 

The first climb of the day is the second category Alto de Vio. It is 13.5km at an average of 4.7%.

Relentless attacking but nothing is sticking at the moment. There is still a tail/cross-tail wind behind the peloton. 

Four riders now have a nine-second gap on the peloton. Those riders are: Robert Power (Sunweb), Jefferson Alveiro Cepeda (Caja Rural), Mark Donovan (Sunweb) and Fred Wright (Bahrain-McLaren).

More and more riders are jumping the gap. Sepp Kuss is one of them. He has already been a hugely strong support rider for Primoz Roglic, and it looks like he has been given some freedom today.

The two leading groups have come together and we now have 12 in the breakaway: Robert Power (Swunweb), Jefferson Alveiro Cepeda (Caja Rural), Mark Donovan (Sunweb) and Fred Wright (Bahrain-McLaren), Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma), Andrea Bagioli (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), Matteo Badilatti (Israel Start-Up Nation), Nelson Oliveira (Movistar), Thymen Arensman (Sunweb), Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), Callum Scotson (Mitchelton-Scott). The gap is now 1:19 over the peloton. 

82km to go

If has been a frenetic start to the day and the peloton doesn't seem too keen on letting this breakaway have too much room. It's strung out chasing hard behind, and race leader Primoz Roglic tries to have a comfort break on the bike. 

Sepp Kuss is only 44 seconds back in the overall classification and there will be plenty of teams that are unhappy he is up there. It seems, perhaps, that some of the break aren't happy he is up there and the breakaway is attacking itself. 

Unsurprisingly, it's Ineos-Grenadiers drilling it on the front of the peloton. They don't want Kuss at the front. 

Andrey Amador is in deep discussions with Primoz Roglic, perhaps asking him to bring his domestique back. By putting Kuss up front, Jumbo Visma has forced Ineos to set a very fast pace, they're also giving themselves a break on the front. 

At the front, Wellens and Arensman have attacked from the breakaway. They have a five-second advantage on the rest of the escapees. 

Martin has now attacked the breakaway and is trying to bridge the gap to the two leaders. 

The gap from the leading pair to the main group of chasers behind is 24 seconds, while they have 1:35 on the peloton behind. 

Martin is losing ground on Wellens and Arensman up front. He is now 28 seconds back, while the other group of escapees are 36 seconds back. There are probably quite a few people in the breakaway very unhappy with Sepp Kuss. 

72km to go

Wellens and Arensman have 1:43 on the peloton behind, which is still being led by Ineos. 

Guillaume Martin is still plugging away trying to chase down the leading pair but he's 31 seconds back now. The leaders are onto the first climb of the day, Martin will have a bit more of an advantage when the climb starts to bite. 

Behind Martin, the other nine escapees are now more than a minute behind the leaders and they will soon be caught by the peloton. 

70km to go

Sepp Kuss has attacked from the third group on the road, which is about 40 seconds ahead of the peloton. Meanwhile, G Martin is making ground on the two up front now that he's on the climb. 

Martin can almost see Wellens and Arensman up the road. He's just 18 seconds back now. 

This is a very inconsistent climb and Martin begins losing time again as the road flattens out. He can still see the line of cars behind the two leaders, though. 

Some riders have been dropped out of the third group on the road. Fred Wright has been caught by the Indoes led peloton.

69km to go

While all of this is going on, Wellens and Arensman have 2:22 over the peloton. 

This must feel like the never ending chase for Martin. Every time he gets within touching distance of the leading pair, the gap seems to go back out just a touch. He is almost there now, though, and the cars have moved out of the gap. 

At last, Martin has finally bridged the gap to Wellens and Arensman. They will be happy to have some extra firepower but they probably wish it wasn't such a good climber. 

The Kuss group is now 1:41 behind the three leaders but they still have about 50 seconds on the peloton. The six men are: Robert Power (Sunweb), Mark Donovan (Sunweb), Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma), Andrea Bagioli (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Matteo Badilatti (Israel Start-Up Nation), Nelson Oliveira (Movistar).

Kuss knows that he won't be allowed to stay away but his presence up front is forcing the hand of Ineos and allowing Jumbo Visma to have a slightly easier day. 

Once again, Kuss has attacked his companions. He wants to up the pace in this chasing group. 

Kuss and go have just 15 seconds on the peloton and are two minutes behind the three leaders. Just 5.9km left of this first climb of the day. 

63km to go

Sepp Kuss and co have been brought back by the peloton. It is now just the three riders up front and the gap is likely to grow quickly, provided there are no more attacks. 

Martin, Wellens and Arensman have 2:46 on the peloton. With two more climbs to come, this is not decisive. 

Ineos is still leading the peloton, despite catching the Kuss group. Jumbo-Visma is more than happy to let it happen. They're on the descent of the Alto de Vio and the next climb will be up very soon. 

Climb number two is the Alto de Fanlo, a 6.4km climb with an average gradient of 4.6%.

Wellens took the full complement of five at the top, Martin took three and Arensman one. With that, Wellens is just seven points off Carapaz in the mountains classification, having started the day with six. 

The road looks a little damp on the descent here and the riders are going to have to be very careful. The road is narrow and there's a steep verge off the side of it. 

55km to go

With two more climbs, Wellens could well be in the mountains jersey by the end of the day. He is the only rider in this breakaway that had any points in that classification at the start of the day. 

The leaders are onto the Alto de Fanlo now and the gap is 2:47. 

Martin is the best placed rider overall in this breakaway at 10:14 behind Roglic. Tht far back, he's not a massive risk to the top positions but teams won't want to give him too much space given his climbing prowess. 

Martin finished 11th overall at the Tour de France earlier in the year, the best he's ever finished in a Grand Tour. This is the first time he's ridden a Grand Tour that isn't the Tour de France. 

Arensman is just 20 and only signed for Sunweb over the summer. This is his first ever Grand Tour and he's putting on a strong performance today. 

The gap has extended slightly on this second climb to 3:16. 

As the riders pick up some food, the pentultimate Giro d'Italia stage has just finished. I will not spoil it for you if you're saving it for later but you can find the results and report here.

Wellens again took the full points at the top of that climb. There were just three on offer this time, cutting his deficit to Carapaz to just four points. Arensman took two and Martin just the 1. Wellens will need to crest the final climb in first position if he's going to take the mountains classification. Will Martin let him do that, though?

In between, there is also the matter of an intermediate sprint but I don't imagine there will be much of a contest between the breakaway for that particular honour. 

38.9km to go

The gap to the leaders currently stands at 3:33. The descent off the the Fanlo is much longer than off the first but it is fast and the riders are eating up the kilometres very quickly. 

34.4km to go

Ineos continues to ride on the front with the whole team. They have been on the front since the 12-rider move that resulted in this breakaway went clear. They don't seem to mind either and haven't asked Jumbo-Visma to help once. 

Roglic has looked as calm as ever today, sitting at the back of his team train. Ahead of the stage, he told LaVuelta.es that he is expecting a tussle between the GC riders at the finish. 

“Today is another challenging day. It’ll be probably a day for a breakaway, but we’ll have to be ready in the beginning of the stage, to see how it’s happening and how it’s going. And the finish is uphill, so for the GC guys, it will be a fight. When you’re in the lead, you have to expect something every day, so we’ll stay focus.”

29km to go

Jumbo-Visma have now finally taken over the pace setting and the gap to the escapees has grown out to over four minutes. This is the biggest gap any breakaway has had all day. 

The last climb of the day is the second category Alto de Petralba. It is 8.7km long and has an average gradient of 5.2%. From the top there are 17.7 kilometres to the finish line. 

Martin takes the intermediate sprint but there was not much of a challenge for the Frenchman. The riders are about to start going upwards again very soon. 

25km to go

Very interesting, Direct Energie have now taken up the pace setting on the front of the peloton. They were obviously not happy with what Jumbo Visma were doing. It's an odd move because they alone are unlikely to be able to bring these three strong riders back. 

Direct Energie had a rider in one the initial 14-rider group that stayed away for about 40km in the opening part of the stage. The group never had more than about 40 seconds on the peloton and were eventually brought back. Direct Energie then missed the move when this one finally went. 

22.6km to go

Direct Energie has made a bit of a dent in the gap to the leaders, bringing it down to 3:42, but it is not coming down fast and none of the other teams are interested in helping to pull. 

21.3km to go

The peloton is quickly thinning out on this final climb and it is unlikely that there will be many riders left when it finally comes to the line. Meanwhile, the escapees are still working well together with a 3:23 advantage over the main group. 

The question is, will Martin have a go with an attack or will he stick with Wellens and Arensman?

Direct Energie has just one rider on the front of the peloton which is strung out in one long line. Jumbo-Visma is right behind him with Primoz Roglic about halfway down their line. 

Martin seems happy to stick with this group and not attack on this climb. That leaves Tim Wellens in position to take the KOM points at the top of the climb. 

Wellens takes the five points and that means he is now the new leader of the mountains classification. 

13.3km to go

The descent now last all the way into the final two kilometres.  It kicks up with about 1,900 metres and continues to rise all the way to the line.  

After setting the pace all the way up the climb, Direct Energie has dropped off the front of the peloton and Jumbo-Visma is back on the front. The gap has come down to 2:52 but that should be enough. 

9.7km to go

The leaders are into the final 10 kilometres and they're still working well together. How much longer will this last?

Tim Wellens has his forearms resting on his handlebars. It always makes me nervous to see someone riding like that. Thankfully the road seems pretty smooth here. 

The peloton has been recduced to between 50 and 60 riders across today's climbs. It has been a really quick day that will have sapped the energy from many. 

4.4km to go

Jumbo-Visma has eased off the chase, comfortable with the gap that the leaders have. The three up front have 2:56 on the bunch behind. 

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Arensman is the least experienced but he still has some pedigree as a former runner-up at the Tour de l'Avenir and the other two will not want to count him out. However, if the three come to the line together, I think Wellens is the biggest risk. 

Into the final two kilometres, the three escapees are starting to size each other up.  

Arensman pulls out a small gap but that's more to do with his general pace than an actual attack. 

He is brought back and the three have really slowed down.

Arensman attacks

Wellens follows and Martin is distanced

Martin gets back on

Wellens goes

Wllens takes it

Martin finished second and Arensman takes third. 

A punchy rider, Wellens timed his attack perfectly. Martin tried to respond but the gap was just too much for him. 

Dan Martin has crashed on one of the corners inside the final kilometre. 

Meanwhile, Roglic puts in a dig on the climb and takes a few seconds off everyone. 

It looked like there was a crossing of handlebars or pedals on that corner. Dan Martin came down in the middle of the road, along with Ion Izagirre. 

Dan Martin has now finished the stage a few minutes back. He should take the same time as the main group, though. 

Usually, the three-kilometre rule wouldn't apply on an uphil finish but I don't think this is classified as a proper uphill finish, despite the rise at the end. 

A 'super' happy Tim Wellens at the finish line. He has taken the mountains classification as well as the stage victory. 

"It feels super good. I had a difficult period and I needed a long time to find my good legs. I was a little bit scared coming to the Vuelta but I am now super happy with the victory. It was the goal of the team to have minimum one victory in the Vuelta and it is super nice that it has come so early. Now, the next two weeks are without stress.

 

"The start was super difficult, we went full gas for two hours and then I was lucky enough o be in the first group. That was difficult. We were not riding super good because there were two riders that were up in the GC. Then we went away with two and then three and we rode super good together. I think that all three were at the same level but I had the kick at the end to take me to victory."

Here is how it finished on the stage today

1 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal 04:19:25
2 Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis 00:00:04
3 Thymen Arensman (Ned) Team Sunweb 00:00:12
4 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 00:02:13
5 Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:02:14
6 Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Astana Pro Team 00:02:17
7 George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-Visma 00:02:17
8 Julien Simon (Fra) Total Direct Energie 00:02:17
9 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers 00:02:17
10 Dorian Godon (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 00:02:17

We're still waiting for an updated GC after that finale. It looks like the crash on that corner was caused by a touch of wheels near the front. It seems JJ Rojas touched the back wheel of Roglic and came down in the middle of the road. 

SABIANIGO SPAIN OCTOBER 24 Arrival Tim Wellens of Belgium and Team Lotto Soudal Celebration during the 75th Tour of Spain 2020 Stage 5 a 1844km Huesca to Sabinigo 835m lavuelta LaVuelta20 La Vuelta on October 24 2020 in Sabinigo Spain Photo by David RamosGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Guillaume Martin had to chase had to make it up to Tim Wellens and Thymen Arensman. He didn't quite have the legs left to catch Wellens on that final rise to the finish and had to settle for second. This is what he had to say after the stage. 

"I was present in all of the breakaways today. I had to leave a lot of strength out there today. I managed to get involved in the battle, I was just a little bit late to catch on. In the end, when there were just three riders, we had to work together and we had to try and make it work out there but there’s nothing really to say about the finish. We fought a battle and the strongest guy won on the day."

We might not have an official GC yet but we do know that Roglic has gained a few seconds on his rivals. This is what the Slovenian had to say at the end of the day: 

"Today was fast and hard. There's not much to say about it. A fast, hard start but our guys did a great job because we were always on top of the game. It was great to see. A long fight for the breakaway and finally they went and Sepp was there. It was hard to come to the finish the last 500m or so. Another day behind us so we are really happy. 

"I saw before the start it is a hard finish and for everyone to come here is hard - we just have to take every advantage there is and always racing. (Sepp) - he can win, there's no big strategy about it. He's in great shape. We all have to work together, it doesn't matter if he wins or if we can win - we just do our best and then we can all be happy and proud."

If you missed anything today, you can get a full recap of the action, pictures and results (once the Vuelta abacus is fixed) here

SABIANIGO SPAIN OCTOBER 24 Arrival Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil of Spain and Movistar Team David Gaudu of France and Team Groupama FDJ Daniel Martin of Ireland and Team Israel StartUp Nation Green Points Jersey Crash during the 75th Tour of Spain 2020 Stage 5 a 1844km Huesca to Sabinigo 835m lavuelta LaVuelta20 La Vuelta on October 24 2020 in Sabinigo Spain Photo by Justin SetterfieldGetty Images

Dan Martin picks himself up after a crash in the final kilometre (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

SABIANIGO SPAIN OCTOBER 24 Podium Primoz Roglic of Slovenia and Team Jumbo Visma Red Leader Jersey Celebration Trophy during the 75th Tour of Spain 2020 Stage 5 a 1844km Huesca to Sabinigo 835m lavuelta LaVuelta20 La Vuelta on October 24 2020 in Sabinigo Spain Photo by David RamosGetty Images

Primoz Roglic stayed in the red jersey after stage 5 (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

The abacus is working again and the GC results are in and it seems that Martin, somehow, hasn't lost any time at all. I'm not sure how Roglic will feel about that. 

1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 20:52:31
2 Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation 00:00:05
3 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers 00:00:13
4 Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team 00:00:32
5 Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Pro Cycling 00:00:38
6 Sepp Kuss (USA) Team Jumbo-Visma 00:00:44
7 Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:01:17
8 Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott 00:01:29
9 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team 00:01:55
10 George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-Visma 00:01:57

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