The first summit finish in a Grand Tour is highly anticipated, and on stage five as the peloton started their ascent up to the Observatorio Astrofísico in Javalambre, the Vuelta’s first box of fireworks was set alight.
With the break several minutes up the road and set to win the stage with Burgos-BH rider, Ángel Madrazo, Hugh Carthy took up the mantle to start a blistering pace on the front of the bunch behind. With late attacks from Miguel Ángel López (Astana), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) the GC contenders were splintered further.
“It was a really difficult stage, I didn’t have the greatest of sensations for which I’m not sure why, but it’s no crisis,” Sergio Higuita analyses post-stage. “It was a stage with a lot of steep inclines and towards the end it all just exploded. I then rode in with Dani [Martínez] at our own rhythm, as we needed to try and save some energy for when we have to help Rigo another day,” he notes.
Lawson Craddock described it as: “A bit of a strange day. I wanted to be in the break but it seemed like the other teams didn’t have that same idea about us.”
As we round out stage five, Urán suffered time losses on GC, and now sits in 6th place, 59 seconds behind Lopez, who after today’s stage took back la Roja, the race leader’s jersey.
“We thought it was going to be quite a challenging day, but in the end with climbs like this it’s all up to the legs, and with Rigo’s crash yesterday it was always going to be a little bit difficult today. But we still showed our full commitment and we’ll see the results tonight and continue on from there,” Craddock says.