L'Eliana - Alto de Javalambre
Vuelta a España - 28 August 2019
Vuelta a España – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 11:51 on 28 August 2019. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Yes, Quintana was eighth and 54 seconds behind Lopez - so it's Superman, not Nairoman, who is in red.
Valverde and Roglic come home not too long after Lopez before Pogacar and the Quintana group arrive. We'll have to wait for the confirmation of times but it looks like Lopez will be in red.
It's Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) who takes fourth place around 46 seconds down to move back into the red jersey - perhaps...
It's a one-two for Burgos-BH as Jetse Bol punches the air as he crosses the line after dropping Jose Herrada of Cofidis.
Victory for Angel Madrazo! Even he can't believe it!
Madrazo rised clear! Astonishing...
Madrazo is back! And now on the front leading out Bol for the win! Herrada is outnumbered but can he keep his cool?
At this rate, Lopez will be in red today ahead of Roglic, Valverde, Quintana, Roche and Uran.
The leaders go under the flamme rouge. Bol and Herrada have about five seconds on the tenacious Madrazo.
Roche has dropped Bennett and is closing in on Uran. But the Quintana group is further up the road, then Valverde-Roglic, then Lopez, then the leaders, who still have 1'40" so should hold on.
Kuss and Pogacar have now been dropped by Valverde and Roglic. Madrazo, amazingly, has almost caught Bol and Herrada again. Amazing stuff.
Valverde is very much riding for himself and not Quintana. He goes again and drags Roglic, Kuss and Pogacar with him. Lopez is further up the road.
George Bennett has almost caught the Roche group, who have almost caught Quintana, who in turn is only just behind the Roglic-Valverde-Lopez-Aru group. It's not Aru but Pogacar. Immaterial, because Lopez now attacks!
Chaves, Uran, Majka and Roche dropping back... Valverde has Kuss, Roglic and Lopez with him, Aru too, with Quintana just a bit further back. Back with the leaders, Madrazo has been dropped again but the gap is small. Herrada shakes his head with Bol on his back wheel.
Poels, Padun, Higuita, Kelderman, Van Garderen... they have all popped. And now Valverde attacks! The world champion dances clear...
It's Carthy and Sep Kuss on the front with Chaves lurking. The peloton has blown apart with riders all over the road. The list of those in trouble is growing. The gap is 3'55".
Astana are leading the pack on the short downhill segment ahead of the 16% ramp. They still trail the leaders by 4'55". Madrazo, meanwhile, has been dropped again. And now Hugh Carthy comes to the front to stretch his long legs on the steep stuff.
Team Ineos' horror Vuelta continues as David de la Cruz starts to lose contact with the main bunch.
No movement yet from the peloton as Astana, Jumbo-Visma, Bora and Sunweb cluster on the front. The gap is 5'27". Up ahead, Madrazo has been caught again. The Burgos duo now force Herrada to set the tempo.
After being distanced again, Madrazo returns and then rides past Bol and Herrada. They're on the flat mid-point of the climb, which is followed by the steepest 16% gradient.
None of these escapees have ever won a stage on the Vuelta before. Herrada's best finish is 5th in a stage in 2013; while Madrazo and Bol have never finished higher than seventh.
Good old Madrazo! He recovers and then rides clear of the others! But then he's straight into the pain locker when Herrada puts in another acceleration. The Burgos-BH riders are clearly trying to tire out their opponent, but it remains to be seen if it works.
Madrazo has popped! The polka dot jersey pedals squares as Herrera and Bol ride clear. And we have not even hit the steep stuff yet.
Jumbo-Visma, Bora, Movistar and Sunweb now all have men on the front. The gap is 6'25".
Ineos have reduced the gap to seven minutes as they lead the peloton onto the final climb. It's not quite sure what their game is - are they setting up their GC man David de la Cruz? Because they're a bit late if they want to go for the stage win...
The gap has come down to eight minutes after Team Ineos come to the front to set the tempo in the chase for the peloton, who are yet to reach the foot of the climb.
The leading trio are onto the Cat.1 Alto de Javalambre, which is also known as the Pico del Buitre. It's 11.1km at 7.8% and a maximum gradient of 16% after a small downhill step half way up.
Seeing that this is a new climb for the Vuelta, we sent our man Juan Antonio Flecha up it to give us the lowdown.
Here's what the final climb looks like... gnarly.
The leaders are over an uncategorised climb that precedes the final ascent Alto de Javalambre. The road edges downhill for the next 10km so they should be able to maintain their 10-minute gap.
CLOSE SHAVE: Some cavalier driving form the Burgos-BH DS sees the front bumper of the car touch the back wheel of Madrazo, sending him careering to the right of the road and almost taking out Herrada. Amazingly, both Spaniards manage to stay on their bikes - but that could have been nasty, not to mention needless.
Gregor Muhlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) has become the third rider - after Delage and Kruijswijk - to quit the Vuelta. We're not sure what the reasons are.
Sunweb are back on the front and driving a quicker tempo. But the gap is 10'45" and so it looks like the only riders who can win today's stage are called Madrazo, Bol or Herrada. Meanwhile, Uran has been paced back to the peloton by four EF Education First teammates.
A lot of riders were held up by that crash and there's a split in the peloton with Rigo Uran among those who are riding in a group about 30 seconds back. But the pace is so slow they're bound to be back in the fold soon.
CRASH: Such a needless spill there and Bahrain Merida are to blame. Mark Padun tosses a bidon from the middle of the peloton towards the side of the road, but clips the back wheel of teammate Phil Bauhaus in the process. Bauhaus, who is wearing one of those water bottle vests, crashes to the ground, taking Padun out with him, and numerous other riders who have come to a standstill. A comedy of errors.
Jetse Bol wins the intermediate sprint at Manzanera ahead of Jose Herrada and Angel Madrazo. Behind, it seems like the peloton has given up. No team wants to take it up and the advantage is growing out to 11 minutes.
Movistar and Jumbo-Visma have now come to the front to increase the tempo - but the break still has 10 minutes over the peloton, with Madrazo now back with Bol and Herrada. If this stays like this for much longer, then the winner will come from the break for sure. They will need about 5 minutes going onto the climb if they want to survive.
The man in polka dots is in trouble after Herrada increases the tempo. Madrazo's Burgos-BH teammate Bol is able to latch on, but the race's most combative rider is unable to match the pace on this uphill rise.
Thomas De Gendt is taking it easy on the back of the peloton; the Belgian breakaway specialist will no doubt have a pop tomorrow, which is ideal terrain for a break. UAE Team Emirates still set the tempo, having taken over from Sunweb who seemed happy to let the trio stay out all the way. The gap is still over nine minutes though, so it's not tumbling fast.
The road is rolling now up to and beyond the intermediate sprint, which precedes a final climb which has been described as Ventoux-esque by our consultant Juan Antonio Flecha. La Vuelta technical director Fernando Escartin told newspaper Cadena Ser: "The wind will only be a factor in the last kilometre, the rest of the climb is quite covered. It’s a 12km climb. The 6 first kilometres feature hard sections and smoother parts. After a false flat, we get in the last 5km, with more sustained slopes. I don’t think we’ll have big gaps among favorites, but a rider who’s on the limit will really suffer."
With sixty clicks still to go the gap is still 10 minutes. UAE Team Emirates are setting a faster tempo than Sunweb were - but if the chase does not begin in earnest very soon then there's a big chance that one of the trio will win today's stage, most likely being Bol, who is a tidy climber on his day.
ATTACK: A Sunweb rider zips off the front... False alarm: he's just picking up a bidon from his soigneur. That's how uneventful it has been today. I mean, Gaviria of all people is setting the pace now for UAE Team Emirates. That sums it up. Perhaps they feel this is a day for Aru or Pogacar.
Indeed, it's Madrazo who takes the 3 KOM points ahead of Bol and Herrada to consolidate his lead in the polka dot jersey standings. Their gap is now 10'20" thanks to the peloton go-slow behind.
The leaders have stretched out their lead to 10 minutes again as they near the summit of this second climb. It flattens out a little before the top and Madrazo's inevitable kick clear.
Nico Roche, the race leader, has stopped for a call of nature and the peloton really slows up as a result. This will allow the three leaders to extend their lead on this climb. Sunweb set the 'pace' but it's so slow that Astana have come up to question their intentions.
Right, it's time to climb. The three leaders are onto the Cat.3 Alto Fuente de Rubielos (4.8km at 5.7%) with a lead of 8'40" over the pack.
Our three leaders are negotiating a sketchy descent to the foot of the second climb of the day. These are beautiful roads that I'd love to ride - but hate to race on. They're uneven, winding, up-and-down and quite corrugated at times - not ideal if, like me, you spend most of the time looking at the views when in the saddle.
The road surface is pretty unforgiving and there's a big drop off to the right of the tarmac. At a pinch-point the inevitable happens and some riders from Groupama, QuickStep and Bora go over the edge. Jempy Drucker is the worse off and needs help getting up and back on his bike.
It's the Canon de la Hoz on the river Mijares.
The peloton rolls through the feed zone with Sunweb at its head. Everyone's all strung out with the trio holding a gap of 10'20".
Today's final climb is the sort of climb which will suit Estaban Chaves, according to Brian Smith as the Eurosport commentary kicks off. Which is just as well, because we spoke to the Colombian ahead of today's stage...
We mentioned the time loss suffered by Poels and Tao Geoghegan Hart earlier. Ineos may still have David de la Cruz in a respectable position on GC, but they will have to tinker their plans and probably go for stage wins now. Here's their DS Nicolas Portal speaking ahead of today's stage.
The gap is still around the 9'30" mark as we pass the 100-to-go point.
Another British rider, Hugh Carthy, was very sprightly on the Cumbre del Sol climb on Sunday - in fact his fast tempo could have been responsible for so many riders losing touch, including Ineos duo Wout Poels and Tao Geoghegan Hart. Here's what the EF Education First rider had to say about today's finale.
This is now steep and narrow the final climb is...
Today's finish is being used for the first time in the Vuelta and the old gravel track to the summit has apparently been tarmacked over.
After that downpour yesterday the sunshine is back on the Vuelta with the temperature in the high 20s.
The gap was almost pushing 10 minutes there but has dropped a little as the leaders crest the top of a rise and hit a plateau ahead of the drop to the foot of the next climb. Sunweb still in control in the peloton but no one seems too keen about the chase just yet.
The big news yesterday was the withdrawal of Steven Kruijswijk because of a sore knee sustained during that Jumbo-Visma crash in the TTT. Matt Stephens talked to trhe Dutchman's teammate Primoz Roglic about the blow.
The gap has now grown to 8'49" making this the most fruitful breakaway of the Vuelta so far. Burgos-BH have managed to get riders into every break so far - including that man Madrazo on three occasions, and two men both today and on Monday. Good stuff from the boys in purple.
One thing that passed many people by yesterday was the relegation of Max Walscheid from third to 104th in the stage after the race jury acted on an apparent headbutt by the German youngster with 400m remaining. That put Fernando Gaviria up to third, Luka Mezgec fourth and Marc Sarreau into the top five.
The three leaders covered 34.6km in the first hour of racing today. They have reached the top of that uphill rise now and can give their legs a break on the short descent with more than seven minutes in the bank.
In typical Vuelta fashion, the climb actually continues over the summit... the road will edge uphill for another 15km before dropping in steps and then rising again to a plateau. Our three leaders have 7'20" over the pack, and I'm going to zip away from my desk to pick up a salad from the Eurosport canteen which I can take down with the sarnie I picked up on the way in from the local Italian deli.
It's Madrazo who crests the summit in pole position ahead of teammate Bol and Herrada to add another 5pts to his polka dot talley - taking him to 20pts. With his nearest challenger, Valverde, only on 5pts, the Spaniard has secured the polka dot jersey for another day - provided he can complete today's stage, that is...
Jose Herrada is the best placed rider in the break - 13'21" behind Roche on GC.
It's the Sunweb team of Nico Roche who are setting the tempo as the peloton hits the foot of the first climb with a deficit of 7'15".
The leaders have been going uphill for a while but they're about to start the climb proper. It's the Cat.2 Puerto de Alcublas (5.9km at 4.7%). Their gap is now above five minutes.
A reminder of the different classification leaders: Nico Roche is in red, Sam Bennett in green despite missing out on the stage win yesterday, Angel Madrazo in polka dots, and Miguel Angel Lopez in the white youth standings jersey.
Angel Madrazo has racked the most amount of breakaway kilometres in this year's race, having ridden ahead of the peloton for 293km going into today's stage. His nearest rival is Belgiam Jelle Wallays of Lotto Soudal, who was in yesterday's break to notch 152km. Madrazo will stretch his lead even further today, adding another 100-odd kilometres you'd think.
The gap has quickly swelled to 2'45" ahead of the first climb. It's looking good for Madrazo in the defence of his polka dot jersey; and yet, by the same token, this trio is not strong enough to stay out till the end, so expect a GC showdown on the final climb.
Spaniard José Herrada (Cofidis) has caught compatriot Madrazo and the Dutchman Bol so we have three riders out ahead with a gap of over a minute now.
That man Madrazo has now opened up a small gap alongside Burgos-BH teammate Jetse Bol. Such is the pace that the peloton has split behind.
There have been numerous attacks but nothing that has stuck over a fast opening 8km of racing.
With three categorised climbs it's a big day in the KoM competition, too. A total of 18 points are up for grabs - which is three more than the current leading tally of polka dot jersey Angel Madrazo (Burgos-BH). The Spaniard has a 10-point lead on compatriot Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) in the nascent KoM standings.
They're off! The 174 riders of the peloton - minus Mickael Delage (Groupama-FDJ) and Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) - get this key stage under way.
A reminder that Nico Roche (Team Sunweb) leads the general classification by two seconds on Nairo Quintana (Movistar) with Rogoberto Uran (EF Education First) in third at eight seconds. Expect a big shake up today: as good a climber Roche is, I don't expect to see the Irishman land a fourth day in red.
For those of you who work in old currency, here's the official stage profile - none of this 2D video malarkey.
Pandering perhaps to the current trend in cycling, the road to the Javalambre Observatory on the summit (just 50m shy of 2,000m) is nothing more than a gravel track. 'Buitre' translates as 'vulture' in Spanish; there should be plenty of them hovering above the cycling carcasses knocked for six on the first serious day of climbing.
Another day, another peseta... The first major summit finish of any Grand Tour rarely decides the overall outcome of the race but usually sees at least one or two general classification hopefuls fall by the wayside. Two lower-category climbs here will get the blood flowing before the Vuelta's first ever ascent of the Pico del Buitre. It's an 11.1km climb with an average gradient of 7.8% and extensive sections in double figures, peaking at 16% straight after a short downhill blip in the fifth kilometre.
And this was how close it was...
Here's how Jakobsen did it...
Yesterday, Dutchman Fabio Jakobsen denied Ireland’s Sam Bennett successive wins in a photo finish in Stage 4 at El Puig to pick up a maiden Grand Tour victory in his first appearance in La Vuelta. Deceuninck-QuickStep’s Jakobsen launched from a perfect lead-out from his teammate Max Richeze and held off a late surge from Bora-Hansgrohe’s Bennett to take his first win since becoming Dutch national champion 58 days previously.
Hola and welcome to live coverage of Stage 5 of La Vuelta - the first of eight summit finishes in this year's race.