Ethan Vernon wins in Vilanova i la Geltrú and Joao Almeida assaults the lead
March 25 th 2022 - 19:37
(Vilanova i la Geltrú, 25-03-2022) - Ethan Vernon (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) was the fastest in the bunch sprint in Vilanova i la Geltrú and won the fifth stage of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya 2022. Portugal's Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) gained a second bonus in the second intermediate sprint of the day and took the lead in the general classification.
In the fifth stage, the Volta a Catalunya experienced what was the longest stage of the 101st edition, with 206 kilometres that took the riders from La Pobla de Segur to Vilanova i la Geltrú. After two high mountain stages, the race offered an apparently calmer day with only one third category pass in the profile. La Pobla de Segur hosted a stage of the Volta for the second consecutive edition, while Vilanova i la Geltrú experienced the eighteenth finish in its history.
After several attacks, Urko Berrade (Kern Pharma Team), Gotzon Martin (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and the Catalan Joel Nicolau (Caja Rural - Seguros RGA) were the three riders who took the lead over the bunch. The gap remained stable at around five minutes for most of the stage until, 90 kilometres from the finish, UAE Team Emirates tried to take advantage of the wind to cause fans in the peloton and this reduced the breakaway's gap to under a minute. With the breakaway under control and the possibility of fans cancelled out, the bunch lifted its foot again to let the three escapees keep their lead.
Berrade, Martin and Nicolau went ahead at the intermediate sprint in La Bisbal del Penedès, but the peloton caught them before the second sprint, in the Pantà de Foix, and the bonuses were key to the development of the race. Nairo Quintana (Team Arkéa-Samsic) and Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) were tied on time in the general classification and both were looking for a bonus that would put them ahead. In the end it was the Portuguese rider who came in third on the Pantà de Foix and took second place, which at the end of the stage put him in the lead of the general classification.
After the intermediate sprint, several riders tried to jump out of the bunch, but nobody was able to avoid the mass finish in Vilanova i la Geltrú. Young Ethan Vernon (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team), only 21 years old, beat the rest of the fast riders to his first professional victory ahead of Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain Victorious) and Dorian Godon (AG2R Citroën Team). The general classification, which has had five leaders in five stages, is still very tight and only one second separates leader Almeida from Colombian Nairo Quintana, in a fight that will last until the last day on the Montjuic circuit.
In the final stretch of the race, the sixth stage of the Volta a Catalunya will take place this Saturday along the roads of the Costa Daurada. Starting in Salou and finishing in Cambrils, it will be an intense mid-mountain stage through the interior of the Serra de Montsant and the Muntanyes de Prades mountains. The city of Baix Camp will once again be the final stage of the Volta 16 years after the victory of Luís Pérez in 2006.