CYCLING: Madrazo climbs to victory in La Vuelta stage 5; classics in France coming this weekend

A happy Angel Madrazo (ESP), winner of stage 5 of La Vuelta a Espana!

The first shake-up in the leaderboard of the 2019 La Vuelta a Espana came as expected on Wednesday, with a climb to the finish over the final 12 km to the observatory at Javalambre.

The surprise was the winner, Angel Madrazo, 31, a rider for the Spanish Burgos team, which is not a World Tour team. He and teammate Jetse Bol (NED), along with Spanish rider Jose Herrada – from another non-World Tour team, Cofidis – escaped from the pack on the final climb with about 3 km remaining in the 170.7 km route.

Those three finished within 22 seconds, with Madrazo winning and Bol second (+0:10) and Herrada third (+0:22). Then came the more familiar names, with Colombia’s Miguel Angel Lopez at +0:47, and Alejandro Valverde (ESP) and Primoz Roglic (SLO) both 59 seconds back.

That shuffled the race standings, with 16 stages left and a lot more climbing:

1. 18:55:21 Miguel Angel Lopez (COL)
2. +0:14 Primoz Roglic (SLO)
3. +0:23 Nairo Quintana (COL)
4. +0:28 Alejandro Valverde (ESP)
5. +0:57 Nicolas Roche (IRL)

Thursday’s route is a long, hilly stage of 198.9 km with two sharp early climbs and another uphill finish to Ares del Maestrat over the last 8 km. There is a third straight uphill finish on Friday, ending at Mas de la Costa before a hilly stage on Saturday. Summaries so far:

UCI World Tour/La Vuelta a Espana
Spain ~ 24 August-15 September 2019
(Full results here)

Stage 1 (13.4 km Team Time Trial): 1. Astana (KAZ), 14:51; 2. Deceuninck-Quick Step (BEL), 14.53; 3. Team Sunweb (GER), 14:56; 4. EF Education First (USA), 14:58; 5. Bora-hansgrohe (GER), 15:04.

Stage 2 (199.6 km): 1. Nairo Quintana (COL), 5:11:17; 2. Nicholas Roche (IRL), 5:11:22; 3. Primoz Roglic (SLO), 5:11:22; 4. Rigoberto Uran (COL), 5:11:22; 5. Fabio Aru (ITA), 5:11:22.

Stage 3 (188.0 km): 1. Sam Bennett (IRL), 4:25:02; 2. Edward Theuns (BEL), 4:25:02; 3. Luka Mezgec (SLO), 4:25:02; 4. Jon Aberasturi (ESP), 4:25:02; 5. Phil Bauhaus (GER), 4:25:02.

Stage 4 (175.5 km): 1. Fabio Jakobsen (NED), 4:04:16; 2. Bennett (IRL), 4:04;16; 3. Fernando Gaviria (COL), 4:04:16; 4. Mezgec (SLO), 4:04:16; 5. Marc Sarreau (FRA), 4:04:16.

Stage 5 (170.7 km): 1. Jose Madrazo (ESP), 4:58:31; 2. Jetse Bol (NED), 4:58:41; 3. Jose Herrada (ESP), 4:58:53; 4. Miguel Angel Lopez (COL), 4:59:18; 5. Alejandro Valverde (ESP), 4:59:30.

● 29 August ~ Stage 6 (198.9 km): Mora de Rubielos to Ares del Maestrat
● 30 August ~ Stage 7 (183.2 km): Onda to Mas de la Costa
● 31 August ~ Stage 8 (166.9 km): Valls to Igualada
● 1 September ~ Stage 9 (94.4 km): Andorra la Vella to Cortals d’Encamp
● 2 September ~ Rest day
● 3 September ~ Stage 10 (36.2 km (Time Trial) – Jurancon to Pau
● 4 September ~ Stage 11 (180.0 km): Saint-Palais to Urdax-Dantxarinea
● 5 September ~ Stage 12 (171.4 km): Circuito de Navarra to Bilbao
● 6 September ~ Stage 13 (166.4 km): Bilbao to Los Machucos. Monumento Vaca Pasiega
● 7 September ~ Stage 14 (188.0 km): San Vicente de la Barquer to Oviedo
● 8 September ~ Stage 15 (154.4 km): Tineo to Santuario del Acebo
● 9 September ~ Stage 16 (144.4 km): Pravia to Alto de La Cubilla. Lena
● 10 September ~ Rest day
● 11 September ~ Stage 17 (219.6 km): Aranda de Duero to Guadalajara
● 12 September ~ Stage 18 (177.5 km): Colmenar Viejo to Becerril de la Sierra
● 13 September ~ Stage 19 (165.2 km): Ávila to Toledo
● 14 September ~ Stage 20 (190.4 km): Arenas de San Pedro to Plataforma de Gredos
● 15 September ~ Stage 21 (106.6 km): Fuenlabrada to Madrid

Those World Tour riders not in Spain are prepping for the 53rd edition of the Bretagne Classic-Ouest France on Sunday, a hilly course of 251 km starting in Plouay, running to the coast and then back again. The race has eight previous medalists entered:

● Oliver Naesen (BEL) ~ Winner in 2016-18
● Grega Bole (SLO) ~ Winner in 2011
● Elia Viviani (ITA) ~ Winner in 2017
● Giacomo Nizzolo (ITA) ~ Second in 2013
● Michael Valgren (DEN) ~ Second in 2018
● Manuele Mori (ITA) ~ Third in 2006
● Tim Wellens (BEL) ~ Third in 2018
● Ramunas Navardauskas (LTU) ~ Third in 2015

The entire podium from last year is back, as well as the winners of the last three editions of this race. But there are other entries of note, including Greg van Avermaet (BEL), Niki Terpstra (NED), Matej Mohoric (SLO), Tiesj Benott (BEL) and others capable of winning.

Look for results here.

The women’s World Tour race – the 18th Grand Prix de Plouay – will precede the Bretagne Classic on Saturday, with a 128.0 km race that starts with two loops of a 13.9 km, hilly course and then six loops of a hilly 16.7 km route, beginning and ending in Plouay. There are five returning medal winners:

● Eugenia Bujak (SLO) ~ Winner in 2016
● Elena Cecchini (ITA) ~ Second in 2016
● Tiffany Cromwell (AUS) ~ Second in 2012
● Elisa Longo Borghini (ITA) ~ Third in 2012
Coryn Rivera (USA) ~ Third in 2018

Rivera is the only returning medalist from last year, but any race with her, Longo Borghini, Amanda Spratt (RSA) and Leah Kirchmann (CAN) should be pretty entertaining, especially on the final lap. Look for results here.

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