Itzulia Basque Country stage 5: Carlos Rodríguez solos to win from breakaway
Remco Evenepoel takes over GC lead, two seconds ahead of Daniel Martínez, as Primož Roglič slides to eighth.
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Carlos Rodríguez (Ineos Grenadiers) won a tough stage 5 of the 2022 Itzulia Basque Country, which finished on a very steep, wet climb to Mallabia.
This was Rodriguez’s first professional win.
Ineos Grenadiers teammate Daniel Martínez finished second on the stage, gapping new race-leader Remco Evenpoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) in the final 100m.
Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) found the slope and wet roads very tricky and failed to stay upright. With the finish line a handful of meters away, he had a minor tangle with Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma). While both racers were OK, they both had to run in their bikes over the final few meters to the line.
Vlasov and Vingegaard run to the finish after crashing 25 metres before the line pic.twitter.com/yY0W2BYvzw
— the Inner Ring (@inrng) April 8, 2022
Asked what happened on the stage, the previous overall leader and twice overall winner Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) indicated the result was strategic.
“It happened as we had planned,” Roglič said.
How it happened
Four men had rode off the front, including Lucas Hamilton (BikeExchange-Jayco), and were leading the race.
On an off-camber, bend to the left at 65km to go, Hamiton went off the side of a road and fell into a ravine. He appeared to be ok, but had to be taken away in an ambulance, forcing him to abandon the race.
Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), Rodríguez, and Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates) were the remaining three in the break that was 3:00 up the road.
Some 8km later, Elissonde was dropped. He linked up with Sergio Samitier (Movistar Team) and the two drifted back to the main bunch, and drifted back to the main bunch with 35km to go.
On the front, Soler did most of the work. He started the stage just 1:08 back of the overall race lead.
Behind, Evenepoel sought to grab control of the overall lead. He attacked and brought with Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), Enric Mas (Movistar Team), Aleksander Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe), Martínez, Ion Izaguirre (Cofidis), and stage 4 winner Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-Victorious). Race-leader Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) failed to respond and did not make this late-race selection.
This strong group got within 30 seconds of the two on the front, causing Rodríguez to attack and drop Soler. The Movistar rider was brought to heel by the chasers at 8.2km to go.
Over the successive 6km, Rodriguez maintained his half-minute lead, while the chasers built a 60-second gap behind them to the group with Roglič and Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl).
The final few hundred meters were on a rain-slicked surface, and Martínez stayed in the saddle for optimal traction, as he wove side-to-side in the closing distance to take a career-significant win.
The Saturday finale will feature seven climbs — three of which are rated category 1 — across the 135.7km route between Eibar and Arrate.
Results will be available once stage has completed.