Home hero Sebastian Molano (UAE Team Emirates) took his third sprint victory of Tour Colombia, Saturday, winning the bunch kick into Zipaquira ahead of Alvaro Hodeg (Deceuninck-Quickstep) and Jhonatan Restrepo (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec).
Hodeg moved first, opening his sprint with around 100 meters to go, but Molano was able to come off his wheel and overhaul his countryman and complete his hat trick with a tire-width’s win.
“Hodeg is very strong and today he launched with great power, but I also have good legs and I have taken advantage of the team’s work,” said Molano, who was born in Paipa, where much of the race is based. “In the sprint I did not have any doubts that I could overcome my rivals.”
The 180km hilly stage into Zapiquira, birth place of Egan Bernal, saw a break of eight go away early. However, with a flat finish and no climbs tough enough to shed the sprinters, a bunch sprint was on the cards, and the catch was made inside the final 20 kilometers after UAE-Team Emirates and Deceuninck Quick-Step had put much of the power into the chase.
The finish in central Zapiquira was stacked with difficulties, including tight 90 degree bends and a downward tilt, but the peloton was able to make it through safely, with Hodeg and Molano’s team’s leading the charge.
Quick-Step took up the leadout to put Hodeg into position, but the young Colombian seemed to open up too early and faded, allowing Molano to come past with his strong sprint.
American pair Travis McCabe (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Colin Joyce (Rally) took fourth and fifth place on the stage. McCabe commented to VeloNews after the stage that he was disappointed to miss out on the podium after being well positioned in the technical final but was out-muscled when Hodeg and Molano made their final jostle for space before sprinting.
“It was a big fight those last 10km. Super sketchy,” added Joyce. “I felt pretty good, just wasn’t quite where I needed to be in that last kilometer. Happy with how the team is riding though and still always a positive being in the mix!”
Sergio Higuita (EF Pro Cycling) finished in the bunch to retain his overall lead, with his teammates Danny Martinez and Jonathan Caicedo filling out the remaining slots on the GC podium. Bernal also finished in the bunch in his home stage. The Tour de France champion sits fourth overall, 50 seconds back on Higuita with just one stage remaining, Sunday.
Stage 5 Results
- Sebastian Molano (UAE Team Emirates): 04:06:00
- Alvaro Jose Hodeg (Deceuninck–Quick-Step): S.T.
- Jhonatan Restrepo (): S..T.
General Classification after stage 5
- Sergio Higuita (EF Pro Cycling): 15:31:47
- Daniel Martinez (EF Pro Cycling): +00:12
- Jonathan Caicedo (EF Pro Cycling): +00:14