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Ruta del Sol: Lennard Kämna makes it count for stage, Wout Poels wraps up GC

Kämna kicks out of strong escape group for mountaintop victory, Poels withstands pressure on final climb to defend GC.

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Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe) kicked away from the break on the Chiclana de Segura summit finish to score his first win in 11 months, while Wout Poels (Bahrain-Victorious) sealed the Ruta del Sol overall, his first GC win since 2016.

Kämna claimed the final stage of the Andalucian race after holding off a chase from Lorenzo Fortunato (Eolo Kometa) and Alessandro Covi (UAE Emirates), who finished second and third.

Poels didn’t buckle under the pressure of a flurry of attacks out of the GC group on the Segura climb, crossing the line ahead of nearest rivals Miguel Angel López (Astana-Qazaqstan) and Cristián Rodriguez (TotalEnergies) to bring Bahrain-Victorious its first GC win of the season.

Rodríguez took second overall, López third.

Kämna’s victory comes as reward for an attacking ride through the past week. The 25-year-old was the unwitting launchpad for the stage-win by Magnus Sheffield (Ineos Grenadiers) on Friday and narrowly missed the podium at the Clasica Jaén “Strade Bianche” race Monday.

Poels started the day at the top of a GC that sat on a knife-edge. Six riders packed into a 12-second window on GC at the start of the stage, making racing fast and frenetic from the flag-drop.

Poels defended his 10-second GC lead.

A dangerous 19-rider move punched clear on the opening salvo of climbs in the short, sharp 146km gallop through the rugged Andalucian landscape.

Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl was intent on not letting things get out of control and the escape was reeled in mid-way through the stage.

More attacks flew heading into two back-to-back climbs in the final third of the stage, and another dangerous break escaped in the final 50km.

Kämna, Covi, Fortunato and a stack of riders from UAE Emirates, Movistar, Bora-Hansgrohe and Alpecin-Fenix packed into the decisive 19-rider move, putting pressure on Poels and his GC-leading team.

Fortunato, Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Jimmy Janssens (Alpecin-Fenix) made a move out of the breakaway over the grippy Alto de Iznatoraf climb and snatched a few seconds of a lead before the teams with numbers worked to bring them back.

The 19-rider bunch went into the base of the concluding climb to Alto de Chiclana de Segura with around three minutes of an advantage as the pace of the peloton rocketed behind.

Buchmann was aggressive at the front as he worked for Kämna, and the latter duly kicked hard at 3km to go after his teammate’s efforts.

Covi and Fortunato chased, but the German held out for the fourth win of his pro career, adding to stages at the Tour, Critérium du Dauphiné and Volta a Catalunya.

The young American Sheffield motored away from the remnants break to claim fourth and put a cap on a standout week in Spain.

Bahrain Victorious and Intermarché-Wanty drilled the GC group into the final 6km ascent.

López attacked in the final 2km in the effort to drop Poels but was marked out. Carlos Rodriguez (Ineos Grenadiers) next in the hunt for a vault up GC before Simon Yates (BikeExchange) responded to cross the line first out of the classification group.

Poels followed close behind to secure the overall, with nearest threat López coming in a few seconds later.

Ruta del Sol stage 5

  1. Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe): 3:43:05
  2. Lorenzo Fortunato (Eolo Kometa): +0:04
  3. Alessandro Covi (UAE Emirates): +0:10

2022 Ruta del Sol General Classification

  1. Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious): 20:51:27
  2. Cristian Rodriguez (TotalEnergies): +0:14
  3. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana-Qazaqstan): +0:15