28 August 2013

Vuelta a España 2013 Stage 5: Sober to Lago de Sanabria

So if the team who dreamed up this year's Vuelta wanted to see grown men, climb off and push their bikes uphill they achieved their goal yesterday with the climb of the Mirador de Ézaro some 34km from the finish. It is only 2km long but at one point it is actually a 29% gradient. Nicolas Roche crossed the summit only behind the two break away riders up the road keeping the mountains jersey in his collection for another day.

But one thing it didn't do, unlike last year when it featured as a stage finish, was to really produce a big shake out of the top riders. With 34km still to ride they didn't really attack the Mirador de Ézaro that hard, saving themselves for another 2km climb up to the end of the world.

So it came down to the final uncatecorised climb of the stage up Cape Finsterra (Cape Finisterre) with just over 1km to go Juan Antonio Flecha (VCD) who had featured in an earlier break, But after an initial surge he stalled as tempting bait for the peleton. It was Dani Moreno (KAT) who took a big bite on that hook and hauled in Flecha and zoomed past him with about 600m to go and unlike the Argentine born Spaniard he kept increasing his gap. But the peleton started to try and respond and Fabian Cancellera (RLT) who responded strongest, although he was closing at the finish the gap that Moreno had opened up he'd left too much to do.

Moreno who was nursing Roche's mountain jersey for the day, took his green points one off him by securing the maximum points. While in the peleton a smaller gap than one that was ignored yesterday was deemed to exist after the 21st rider. Giving those from 22nd on a gap of 6 seconds. Shouldn't have mattered much except for the fact that Vincenzo Nibali (AST) who rolled in for 16th was 10 places in front of the red jersey on the shoulders of Chris Horner (RLT) on the other side of that gap. Horner had only taken the jersey from the previous wearer by a mere three seconds. So it was changing wearing once again.

Today La Vuelta bids farewell to Galicia which has certainly provided an entertaining and exciting opening four days and heads to the Province of Zamora.

The stage has two categorised climbs on it among the various bumps that it will traverse. The last of these comes 31.1km from the finish and is only a gradient of 2.6% unlike the climb at a similar stage yesterday, so it shouldn't hamper the men with speed in their legs. For the first time we should be seeing a full throttle sprinters finish.

Lago de Sanabria where the race finishes today measures 368 hectres in area, making it one of the largest lakes in Spain. But it is the largest glacial lake in the whole of the Iberian Peninsula. It is also one of the few areas in western Europe that wild wolves roam.

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