General classification of the Ruta del Sol in Spain is settled on the final climb, as Alejandro Valverde takes the stage win and GC title

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) won the final stage of the Ruta del Sol on Sunday and with it took the overall victory in the Spanish stage race.

The 35-year-old Spaniard attacked on the final climb to secure the stage victory and overhaul overnight leader Tejay van Garderen at the top of the general classification. Van Garderen had to settle for second place overall, with Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) in third.

Former race leader Ben Swift (Team Sky) had been part of an early 13-man move, but that was caught by the peloton as the race worked its way over a series of classified climbs in the mid-section of the 164km stage.

Nicolas Roche (Team Sky), Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) and Jerome Baugnies (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) then escaped inside the final 50km on the first of two ascents of Peñas Blancas.

>>> Ruta del Sol 2016: Latest news, reports and info

By the base of the final turn up Peñas Blancas, the trio’s advantage was just 10 seconds and they were mopped up as the road started to rear up with 14km to go.

Alejandro Valverde wins the 2016 Ruta del Sol, flanked by Tejay van Garderen (right) and Bauke Mollema (left)

Alejandro Valverde wins the 2016 Ruta del Sol, flanked by Tejay van Garderen (right) and Bauke Mollema (left)

Team Sky hit the front of the peloton for Poels, with time trial world champion Vasil Kiryienka setting a tough pace to prevent attacks. The number in the lead group quickly got whittled down to around 20 riders.

Daniel Moreno (Movistar) attempted to break free of Sky’s clutches, but Mikel Nieve (Team Sky) ground out a pace to reel him back in. All the while, van Garderen was keeping in touch with the lead group, letting Sky do the work.

Valverde was the next to put in an attack, and swiftly opened up a gap of just under a minute over van Garderen and Poels. With 3km to go, van Garderen decided enough was enough, and he started to chase after Valverde with Rafal Majka (Tinkoff) and Mollema  following his wheel.

Tejay Van Garderen on stage 5 of the 2016 Ruta del Sol

Tejay Van Garderen on stage 5 of the 2016 Ruta del Sol

Try as he might, van Garderen simply couldn’t close the gap to Valverde and the Movistar rider was free to take a solo stage win and the overall win.

Van Garderen was ultimately passed by Mollema and Majka too, placing fourth on the stage. Despite their earlier efforts, Sky ended the day empty handed except for Swift’s points classification lead.

Ben Swift on stage 5 of the 2016 Ruta del Sol

Ben Swift finished the race with the points classification lead

Results

Ruta del Sol 2016, stage five: San Roque to Peñas Blancas, 164km
1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 36 secs
3. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff at 42 secs
4. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing at 48 secs
5. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff at 1-07
6. Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis at 1-08
7. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 1-16
8. Igor Anton (Spa) Dimension Data at 1-19
9. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky at 1-27
10. Luis Angel Mate (Spa) Cofidis at 1-30

Final general classification
1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
2. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing at 26 secs
3. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 52 secs
4. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 56 secs
5. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff at 1-11
6. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff at 1-37
7. Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky at 1-42
8. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing at 2-03
9. Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis at 2-14
10. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky at 2-45

  • elan

    Valverdie is such a class rider,and takes part in every type of race.This season is not going to be as clear cut as many make out.Love the Spanish cyclists,they bring such entertainment to cycling.Would love to see Alberto finish on a big win.