Gianni Meersman (Etixx-Quickstep) won his 2nd stage of the Vuelta a Espana by sprinting to the victory during today’s 5th stage. Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo) was the rider who placed 2nd and Kevin Reza (FDJ) finished in 3rd.
After yesterday’s summit finish, today was another opportunity for the sprinters at the Vuelta a Espana. Only 2 riders would make the break of the day as the peloton left Viveiro on a 171km journey to Lugo. With only 2 teams represented up front, it was a relatively straight forward stage for the sprint teams to control and set up for their fast men.
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s protected rider of the day was Kristian Sbaragli and our African Team made sure Sbaragli was looked after throughout the stage. As one rider dropped from the breakaway mid stage, Tiago Machado (Katusha) pushed on alone but with 15km to go he too was caught.
Tyler Farrar and Jaco Venter did a lot of the early leadout work for our African Team in a fast and frantic finale. Our guys were looking in good shape right until 3km to go where a technical final and a late attack by Phillipe Gilbert (BMC) and Simon Clarke (Cannondale-Drapac) caused some panic. The result was a big crash in the peloton which took many riders out of contention. Sbaragli was able to ride into the first 10 positions after that crash with just 1km to the finish.
As the road started to open up ahead of our punchy Italian sprinter with 600m to go, a rider rode into the back of Sbaragli which caused another mass pile up. Fortunately, Sbaragli kept his bike upright by unclipping his foot but obviously he was no longer able to participate in the sprint.
JP Heynderickx – Sport Director
After yesterday’s break by Nathan Haas and Merhawi Kudus we went all in for Kristian to have a sprint today. The guys did a great a job and they did what was asked of them. They brought him to a good position from 7km to go and then in the last kilometer he was in a good position but at 600m to go somebody rode into the back of him. He had to stop pedalling and lost the chance to get a good result today.