Vuelta 2018 Stage 5: Clarke bests Mollema and De Marchi in three-up sprint, Molard new leader

La Vuelta's 5th stage travels through the Alpujarras mountain range from Granada to Roquetas de Mar. A huge breakaway is down to three in the finale. Simon Clarke outsprints Bauke Mollema and Alessandro De Marchi, while another attacker, Rudy Molard, moves into the overall lead. (Slideshow route/profile)

Results 5th stage 2018 Vuelta a España

1. Simon Clarke (aus)
2. Bauke Mollema (nld) s.t.
3. Alessandro De Marchi (ita) s.t.
4. Davide Villella (ita) + 0.08
5. Floris De Tier (bel) s.t.
6. Rudy Molard (fra) s.t.
7. Maxime Monfort (bel) + 1.58
8. Jonathan Lastras (spa) + 2.00
9. Franco Pellizotti (ita) s.t.
10. Merhawi Kudus (eri) s.t.

Bunch at 4.55

GC after the 5th stage
1. Rudy Molard (fra) *
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (pol) + 0.41
3. Emanuel Buchmann (ger) + 0.48
4. Simon Yates (gbr) + 0.51
5. Alejandro Valverde (spa) + 0.53
6. Wilco Kelderman (nld) + 1.06
7. Ion Izagirre (spa) + 1.11
8. Tony Gallopin (fra) + 1.14
9. Nairo Quintana (col) s.t.
10. Steven Kruijswijk (nld) + 1.18

11. Enric Mas (spa) + 1.23
12. Rafal Majka (pol) s.t.
13. Thibaut Pinot (fra) + 1.24
14. George Bennett (nzl) + 1.26
15. Miguel Ángel López (col) + 1.27
16. Fabio Aru (ita) + 1.28
17. Rigoberto Uran (col) + 1.29
18. David de la Cruz (spa) + 1.34
27. Louis Meintjes (rsa) + 3.51
29. Richard Carapaz (ecu) + 3.59

* : including 20 seconds penalty

Race report
Attacks are flying form the start, but it takes 60 kms for a break to stick. Floris de Tier, Valerio Conti and Stéphane Rossetto open up a gap and Alessandro De Marchi, Lukas Pöstlberger, Rudy Molard and Maxime Monfort rejoin them. A group with Matteo Trentin, Bauke Mollema, Sep Kuss, Brent Bookwalter, Andrey Amador, Jonathan Lastra, Gianluca Brambilla, Davide Villella, Alexandre Geniez, Hermann Pernsteiner, Franco Pellizotti, Mikel Iturria, Jai Hindley, José Mendes, Simon Clarke, Merhawi Kudus, Maurits Lammertink and Pavel Kochetkov tracks them down later. So we have 25 men at the front.

With some 90 kms to go the front group starts to fall apart. De Marchi and Rossetto head out together before De Marchi goes alone 65 kms before the line. Mollema and Clarke bridge the gap to the Italian. The three crest the last climb of the day, Alto El Marchal, 44 seconds ahead of the first chasers Vilella, De Tier and Molard. The front group distances the chasers on the descent, while the peloton travels 6 minutes after the three leaders over the Marchal.

Following a nerve-wracking cat-and-mouse play Clarke outpowers Mollema and De Marchi. The chasers come close, but not close enough for the win. Yet Molard, who did most of the work, receives a huge bonus in the shape of the red jersey. He now leads La Vuelta 1 minute and 1 second ahead of Michal Kwiatkowski.

Read also: route 5th stage 2018 Vuelta a España.

Vuelta a España 2018 stage 5: Route map, height profile, and more

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