Sky’s Wouter Poels won Friday’s low mountains fifth stage of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, while Nairo Quintana retained the overall lead after the 187km run to Valls.
Colombian Quintana took the overall lead ahead of Alberto Contador and Richie Porte on Thursday and had to survive the low mountain stage — and the final day in the hills around Barcelona — to clinch the win.
“I expected Contador to try to make up time. You cannot let him out of your sight for a moment, and we saw that at the intermediate sprint,” Quintana said. “Contador and the other pretenders are not going to make it easy for us to win this Volta, although fortunately the time he gained was not enough to take the lead.”
Poels broke for glory on his own with about 4km to go and a pursuit team of four riders set off just a little too late as the Dutchman crossed the line 50m ahead.
“I was a little bit nervous, especially in the last two kilometers, they came really close. I think I always look behind me a little bit too much, but it was okay in the end,” Poels said. “It was a bit similar to my win at Tirreno last year, only this time it was a little bit further to the finish. On the downhill was not the best place to be alone, but I had to attack on the climb as I did not want to wait for the sprint. Sometimes I know I can do a good effort, and in this case it was a final 10 kilometer time-trial. Everything or nothing. And it worked out good.”
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