Francois Parisien (Argos-Shimano) won stage five of the Tour of Catalunya diving past Stéphane Poulhies (Cofidis) on the line.
Parisien timed his sprint perfectly after Poulhies had started his sprint from a long way out, chosing to jump out of the tight right hand bend at 300 metres to go. Diving out of the final bend would have been the perfect tactic had the finishing straight been 50 metres shorter, but the gamble didn’t pay off.
Samuel Dumoulin (Ag2r) was also finishing fast but didn’t have the room to get round Parisien as the riders hugged the barriers on their right. Britain’s Andrew Fenn (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) was sixth and overall leader Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) ninth, staying at the front to avoid any potential time losses.
The stage provided a respite for the leaders and a rare opportunity for the few sprinters who had come to the race known for the amount of climbing. The peloton did have to tackle the 915m Port d’Ager halfway through the stage, but after yesterday’s 220km queen stage there seemed little appetite for heroic exploits.
Two riders did have the legs to take on the stage and form a break, Tristan Valentin (Cofidis) and Oivier Kaisen (Lotto-Belisol). Their lead almost reached four minutes at one point, but with Omega Pharma (looking for another sprint win with Gianni Meersman) and Garmin Sharp (protecting Dan Martin’s lead) attentive at the front, they were never going to stay clear.
Martin’s position in the lead group at the finish and a bonus second from coming third on an intermediate sprint meant that he put more time into his overall rivals to increase his lead by a handful of seconds.
Bradley Wiggins (Sky) was one of those caught in a later group, and now lies 46 seconds adrift of Martin overall.
Volta a Catalunya 2013, stage five: Rialp – Llieda, 156.5km
1. Francois Parisien (Can) Argos-Shimano 3-32-02
2. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale
3. Stéphane Poulhies (Fra) Cofidis
4. Daniele Ratto (Ita) Cannondale
5. Danilo Wyss (Sui) BMC
6. Andrew Fenn (GBr) Omega Pharma Quickstep
7. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma Quickstep
8. Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
9. Daniel Martin (Ire) Garmin-Sharp
10. Thomas Damuseau (Fra) Argos-Shimano all same time
Overall classification after stage five
1. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp in 22-20-39
2. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 14 secs
3. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 42 secs
4. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky at 46 secs
5. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 47 secs
6. Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco at 59 secs
7. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida at 1-10
8. Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 1-17
9. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 1-23
10. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 1-25
Stage winner Francois Parisien
Daniel Martin increased his overall lead by a handful of valuable seconds
Volta a Catalunya 2013: Related links
Stage four: Martin marks solo stage win to lead race
Stage four gallery
Stage three photo gallery
Stage three: Quintana wins after Wiggins attacks
Stage two: Gianni Meersman makes it two from two
Stage one: Wiggins makes aggressive start in Catalunya