Groves too fast for Ganna in stage 5 sprint – Vuelta a Espana

Vuelta a Espana 2023

Stage 5

Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) made it two for two in sprint stages at the 2023 Vuelta a España, winning stage 5 in Burriana.

The Australian’s main challenge was the only surprise on the day as Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) surged from fifth wheel but was not quick enough to pass Groves. Dries Van Gestel (TotalEnergies) was third.

The general classification contenders took a back seat to the sprinters for the second day in a row, mostly saving their legs for the next summit finish on Thursday.

Race leader Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) provided the only action in the GC standings, taking the intermediate bonus sprint to extend his overall advantage by six seconds.

Evenepoel now leads the Vuelta by 11 seconds ahead of Enric Mas (Movistar), with Lenny Martinez (Groupama-FDJ) still in third at 17 seconds.

After the huge crash on stage 4, the Vuelta a España lost several riders before the start: Kobe Goossens (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) to a knee injury, Bryan Coquard (Cofidis) to a fractured scapula, and Ruben Guerreiro (Movistar) with a broken collarbone. On Wednesday after a crash in the neutral zone, Eddie Dunbar (Jayco-AlUla) crashed out before the hilly roll out from Morella, and his teammate Filippo Zana abandoned soon after.

Remco Evenepoel maintains his overall lead.

After a pair of attacks, from first Sean Quinn (EF Education-EasyPost) and Jarrad Drizners (Lotto-Dstny) then Stefan Bissegger (EF Education-EasyPost) and Sean Flynn (dsm-firmenich), after about 10km of racing the day’s breakaway honours went to solo escapee Eric Fagundez (Burgos-BH), who faced the prospect of the rest of the 186.5km route to Burriana on his own.

The sprinters’ teams were happy to let the Uruguayan cook in the heat, letting his gap go out to five minutes before very slowly reeling the lone escapee for the next 100km. Fagundez climbed the category 2 Collado de Ibola (11.4km at 3.9%) – the only classified climb on the day – with a lead of a minute on the bunch. However, mountains leader Eduardo Sepulveda (Lotto Dstny) attacked from the chasing peloton and passed the Burgos-BH rider to take the maximum points.

With 41km to go, Fagundez was back in the peloton and, a few kilometres later, they reeled in Sepulveda, too.

The next excitement came at the intermediate time bonus sprint with 11.2km to go, where race leader Evenepoel leapt away to take out the six-second bonus over Groves and Casper Pedersen (Soudal-QuickStep).

A crash at a roundabout inside 3km to go added to the nerves in the peloton but Evenepoel stayed near the front with his Soudal-QuickStep team until the flamme rouge before sitting up.

Alpecin-QuickStep came forward with a huge lead-out for Groves in the final 500m and Ganna made a surge to try to snatch the stage win, but Groves was a hair quicker and sprinted to his second stage victory in a row.

Stage 5 result:

1. Kaden Groves (Aus) Alpecin-Deceuninck, in 4-23-43
2. Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers
3. Dries Van gestel (Bel) TotalEnergies
4. Alberto Dainese (Ita) dsm-firmenich
5. Lewis Askey (GBr) Groupama-FDJ
6. Edward Theuns (Bel) Lidl-Trek
7. David González (Esp) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
8. Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) TotalEnergies
9. Jesús Ezquerra (Esp) Burgos-BH
10. Jarrad Drizners (Aus) Lotto Dstny, all at same time

General Classification:

1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Soudal Quick-Step, in 17-12-29
2. Enric Mas (Esp) Movistar, at 11s
3. Lenny Martínez (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 17s
4. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma, at 37s
5. Aleksandr Vlasov, Bora-Hansgrohe
6. Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bel) Bora-Hansgrohe, both at 39s
7. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, at 43s
8. Juan Ayuso (Esp) UAE Team Emirates, at 44s
9. Marc Soler (Esp) UAE Team Emirates
10. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates, both at 48s

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