It was a day marked in red in this Volta, the third and last mountain in the fifth stage. There are still two days to go, but Primoz Roglic took a giant step at the top of Lo Port to win his first Volta a Catalunya. The one from the Jumbo took Evenepoel out of the point, who at times seemed to be stronger on the most demanding ramps of the final summit, from 8.6 km to 8.8%.
The other two ascents of the day, of the third category, did not make much of an impression on the peloton, since the group was very large at the foot of Lo Port… but as soon as they saw the port start sign, the Evenepoel Quick Step took command. They hardened the rhythm, made an important sieve and all that was left to do was wait for their leader’s attack, that he arrived at this day with the same time as Roglic. The Slovenian was the leader by ponometer, and now he will be for having been stronger.
There were 4.6 kilometers left when the expected movement of the rainbow jersey arrived, a Remco who in this Volta is not fully wearing his world champion badge as he wears the best young man. And there Roglic went to his wheel, with a poker face, with the feeling that he was going to the limit… or so he wanted them to think from the outside. A brave Marc Soler went with them, because the Catalan from the UAE has some freedom in races like this to try to fight for success. However, once this trio was joined by teammate Joao Almeida, the Catalan helped the Portuguese, who is now third overall.
The leading group went from four, to three, to two… and one, a Primoz Roglic who gave a whole veteran lesson. 50 meters from crossing the line, Remco sat down, he couldn’t take it anymore, and in such a short distance he lost six seconds. He was almost riveted as Roglic crossed the finish line for another day without raising his arms, stopping his electronic device from the handlebars and then reviewing his data. Turning the extraordinary into routine. The escapes by day, yes, because there were two, they barely had a choice, with a combative Tsgabu Grmay. The Ethiopian, 6.5 km from the finish line, already at the final port, was the last neutralized, with Caja Rural, Kern Pharma and Euskaltel active in the lead.
Two stages, ten seconds
In this way, there are two stages left to finish this Volta: a flat one this Saturday, with 183 km and the outcome in Molins de Rei, which will also be less harsh than expected after the organization withdrew from the Alt de Fontpineda route, the greatest difficulty of the day, for security reasons. “I’m back, it’s been a while since I’ve made this kind of effort in a race, and I’m very happy about it,” said the Slovenian.
“I am feeling better and enjoying myself. What remains will be hard, hard days are coming, not tomorrow probably, but the day after, so I’ll do my best and we’ll see.”, added a Roglic who already has six victories in 2023 in just two races: Tirreno-Adriatico and this Volta. With the Giro in the background… Primoz is getting back to his best. They are ten seconds ahead of Evenepoel with the Montjuïc circuit, on Sunday, as the main difficulty. The one from Quick Step was full of praise about his great rival: “He is my idol, it is a pleasure to run against him. And what he did today I will remember in the future. I think we are on the same level. I made mistakes, otherwise I would have already won three stages here.”
Classification of the fifth stage
1st Primoz Roglic (ESL/Jumbo) 4h 27:41
2nd Remco Evenepoel (BÉL/Quick Step) at 6
3rd Joao Almeida (POR/UAE) 12
4th Marc Soler (Bahrain) 28
5th Rigoberto Urán (COL/Education First) 44
7th Mikel Landa (Bahrain) 56
1st Primoz Roglic (ESL/Jumbo) 21h 29:25
2nd Remco Evenpoel (BÉL/Quick Step) at 10
3rd Joao Almeida (POR/UAE) 1:02
4th Mikel Landa (Bahrain) 1:50
5th Marc Soler (UAE) mt