The Slovenian Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) achieved an epic victory in Lo Port (Tarragona), in another climb finish that he played again with Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step), who was six seconds behind his great rival in about last hellish meters in which the world champion’s strength failed him.

Thus, Roglic remains the leader of the Volta a Catalunya after this fifth stage and, in addition, he obtained a 10-second margin over the second classified, Evenepoel. Third on the stage was Portugal’s Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates), who finished 12 seconds behind the Slovenian and also moved up to third overall, 1 minute 12 seconds behind the Jumbo-Visma star.

Lo Port has been the most repeated name of this Volta since it was known what the route would be. The imposing port of Terres de l’Ebre became the probable author of the script twist of this edition. And it was. The 9.4 kilometers of this giant with maximum ramps of 20% were destined to leave their mark in this test.

It already happened like that in 2017. Then Alejandro Valverde prevailed thanks to a devastating attack with just over a kilometer to go that Alberto Contador and Chris Froome could not sustain. The former cyclist from Las Lumbreras would end up climbing to the top of the podium in Barcelona.

The first to try to form a breakaway this Friday was the Ethiopian Tsgabu Grmay (Team Jayco). He tried it out on the third-category Alt de Bot climb, followed by the leader of the mountain, Frenchman Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) and British Ethan Hayter (INEOS). At the top, located 148 kilometers from the finish, the difference with the large group was 1 minute and 15 seconds.

The peloton, then led by Roglic’s Jumbo-Visma, considered the break good and just over 10 kilometers later, after passing through the town of Gandesa, the margin had already widened to 4 minutes and 45 seconds, the maximum difference the leak made.

From then on, the peloton was led by the Evenepoel Quick-Step, dissatisfied with the permissiveness of the Jumbo-Visma. The voracity of the world champion pointed to the victory of the stage and two members of the escape, Martin and Hayter, decided to throw in the towel before the events.

Evenepoel’s long-awaited attack was 4.5 kilometers from the finish and Roglic followed without a problem. The surprise was that Soler managed to join. Other favorites such as the Italian Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo), the Spanish Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) and the Portuguese Almeida could not keep up.

But Almeida reacted in time and managed to rejoin the leading trio. When the leader of the UAE Team Emirates arrived in the Volta, Soler went to work for him. The Spaniard, after an enormous effort pulling, gave way less than a kilometer away.

The battle was between three. First Almeida tried and then Roglic. Both times Evenepoel responded perfectly. The third to try it was himself and only the Slovenian followed his lead. It seemed that the world champion was the one who would end up taking the stage, but Roglic’s counterattack left Evenepoel pinned in the last 50 meters, in which he was six seconds behind.

This Saturday’s stage, starting in Martorell (Barcelona), could have given some unexpected surprises, as happened with the epic breakaway between Salou and Cambrils that Sergio Higuita and Richard Carapaz staged last year. But a last-minute change to the course has made it a candy for sprinters.

The organization informed that, for security reasons, they will not go through the Alt de Fontpineda, of third category and with the summit located 13.5 kilometers from the end of the stage in Molins de Rei (Barcelona). The commissioners considered that both the entrance to the port and the descent were too dangerous.

Source: EFE y