Tour of California: Fernando Gaviria sprints to victory
May 18 2018 06:35 am CET

Tour of California: Fernando Gaviria sprints to victory
Tour of California: Fernando Gaviria sprints to victory
Photo of Fernando Gaviria (c) Sigfrid Eggers

Fernando Gaviria has won the fifth stage in the Tour of California. In the group sprint, he was faster than Caleb Ewan and Peter Sagan. Tejay Van Garderen finished in the peloton and holds on to his leader's jersey, defending a lead of 23 seconds on Egan Bernal in the final two stages.

Stage 5 in the Tour of California took the 116 riders from Stockton to Elk Grove over a flat course of 176.5 kilometres. That this one was going to end in a bunch sprint was written in the stars, with fast men including Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step), Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), Marcel Kittel (Katusha), Alexander Kristoff (UAE Emirates), Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) and World Champion Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe). This did not keep five riders from trying to stay ahead of the peloton.

Stijn Vandenbergh (AG2R), Fabian Lienhard and Ruben Companioni (Holowesko Citadel), Michael Rice (Hagens Berman Axeon) and Tanner Putt (UnitedHealthcare) formed the early breakaway and soon had an advantage of over 3 minutes. Companioni was first on the top of the Pardee Dam Road summit, bringing his mountain classification tally to 15 points and getting on par with Egan Bernal, who leads that classification after his win on Gibraltar Road.

Behind the break the peloton started chasing and the gap slowly went down. With 15 km to go there was a small risk of echelons and Team Sky went for it, but the wind was not strong enough. It took mechanicals to spice up the race, as Mark Cavendish suffered from a problem with his rear wheel and a far from smooth change made sure he had to chase the peloton. With some help of the Team Sky car behind the peloton he made it back in the final kilometres. Also Marcel Kittel suffered from a mechanical, at the moment when Cavendish was about to return to the peloton.

There were only three men left in front, as Vandenbergh, Putt and Lienhard left their companions behind and still had an advantage of 20 seconds back to the peloton with 5 kilometres left to race. A crash then shook up the peloton and took out sprinters like Max Walscheid (Sunweb) and Jasper Philipsen (Hagens Berman Axeon), as well as Mark Renshaw (Dimension Data).

Quick Step took the lead in the final 1.5 kilometres to lead out Gaviria. They perfectly delivered the Colombian who went on for his second stage win, ahead of Caleb Ewan and Peter Sagan.

By Siebe Kok




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