Vuelta 2022 Favourites stage 5: Winning on descent

Alejandro Valverde - Vuelta 2022 Favourites stage 5:foto: Cor VosFollowing an undulating run-up the riders tackle five intermediate climbs in the second half of the race. The finale is made up of a 4.6 kilometres climb at 8% and an ensuing drop down to the finish line. Which is perfect for the likes of Alaphilippe and Valverde, one could argue.

It remains to be seen what happens with the breakaway. If they are given free reign, the chances of the World Champion diminish considerably. After all, it’s unlikely that the GC teams will be comfortable with him up the road.

On paper, the parcours is suited for a successful breakaway. GC riders have little to gain and it’s too hard for the fast men. After almost 100 kilometres on rolling terrain the riders tackle the Gontzagarigana (5.3 kilometres at 4.5%), Balcon de Bizkaia (4.2 kilometres at 5.6%) and Alto de Morga (8.6 kilometres at 3.5%) before entering a circuit around Bilbao.

The circuit is almost 30 kilometres long, and it’s raced 1.5 times. The Alto de Vivero is included twice. The 4.6 kilometres climb at 8% peaks out 14 kilometres before the finish line. The first 12 kilometres go downhill, the last 2 are flat.

As said, the route is tailored for attackers. Riders with a good descent and fast legs are hard-wired for the win. Alaphilippe is unlikely to be given much space, but possibly the peloton is more lenient with Valverde in his last Vuelta.

Of course, Alaphilippe’s team can also opt to control the breakaway. If so, all good descenders with fast legs – who survive the Alto de Vivero – are given the opportunity to shine.

Favourites 5th stage 2022 Vuelta a España

*** Julian Alaphilippe, Alejandro Valverde, Primoz Roglic
** Thomas De Gendt, Alessandro de Marchi, Bob Jungels, Remco Evenepoel
* Alexey Lutsenko, Vincenzo Nibali, Marc Soler, Lawson Craddock, Rein Taaramäe

Another interesting read: route 5th stage 2022 Vuelta.

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