Wyss Sprints to Fifth after an Exciting Finish to Stage 5 in Catalunya23. March 2018, Vielha (ESP) — Road Team
With 212.9km to cover, stage 5 in Catalunya was the longest of the week and saw Danilo Wyss battling it out in the day’s breakaway before sprinting to fifth on the line, holding off the main bunch in the closing meters of the race.
Similarly to stage 4, today’s race opened with a fast downhill section which saw riders battling to form the breakaway before eventually a group of 12 riders, including Wyss, went clear and began to extend an advantage over the peloton.
By the time the breakaway hit the bottom of the Port d’el Cantó, a 24.3km categoría especial climb, after just over 60km of racing the gap was sitting at around four minutes with race leader, Alejandro Valverde’s Movistar Team setting the pace behind.
Wyss and the rest of the leaders had been pulled back to around three minutes at the summit of the climb however after a fast descent towards the base of the second categorized climb of the day, the Port de la Creu Perves, the group was able to push their lead back out to 4’10”.
The breakaway was down to just ten riders at the summit of the category one climb with Wyss pushing on at the front while behind, the rest of his BMC Racing Team teammates were sitting together in the bunch.
The peloton soon began to pick up the pace pulling Wyss and his fellow leaders back to 2’55” heading into the final 40km of the day which included an uncategorized climb followed by a fast descent into Viehla.
With just over 20km to go, the breakaway was holding onto their advantage as riders began to attack off the front of the group. Wyss was able to follow the initial moves before Jarlinson Pantano (Trek-Segafredo) and Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE Team-Emirates) launched a move that saw them go head to head for the stage win.
Wyss continued to work hard as part of the first three-rider chasing group which sat just 15 seconds behind the leading duo with 5km to go as the peloton came back together for the closing stages of the race after a series of attacks.
It was a nail-biting finish with narrow margins between all three groups at the flamme rouge but in the end, Pantano and Laengen were able to hold off the chase to take first and second respectively.
Just behind, Wyss sprinted to fifth on the line after a strong ride out at the front of the race all day while the rest of his BMC Racing Team teammates finished safely in the main bunch seconds later.
After being protected in the peloton all day, Tejay van Garderen heads into the penultimate stage sitting 13th on the General Classification, 1’30” behind Valverde.
Quotes From the Finish Line
"We knew that the breakaway had a chance today and everyone was trying at the beginning and then I found myself in a good breakaway of 12 riders. On the last climb, there was a big selection with Pantano and Laengen attacking. They were really strong and I tried to follow them a couple of times but it is hard when those type of climbers attack all the way to the top. I was then just behind in a group of three and we were working well together. We were never that far from the front and we were going really fast on the downhill before Morohic came back just on the finish line to take third.”
“I have mixed feelings about the stage. Right now I am happy that I was able to be in the breakaway with good legs and survive just a few seconds ahead of the bunch after a long day but it would have been better to have been with the two guys just a little bit ahead. This is my first stage race since Australia so it's been a while. I am also happy with the sensations and the legs that I had today.”
Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
Stage 5: Llívia > Vielha, 212.9km
Top 3: 1. Jarlinson Pantano (Trek-Segafredo) 2. Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE Team-Emirates) 3. Matej Morohic (Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 5. Danilo Wyss 16. Brent Bookwalter 32. Joey Rosskopf